LAW FIRM of RON SMITH. P.A.
509 Main Street
Safety Harbor, Florida 34695
Telecopier (813) 724-1328
MAY 10, 1996
Everett Rice, Esquire
Pinellas County Sheriff
Ref: Unconstitutionality of Florida's Helmet Law (Fla.Stat. 316.211)
As you may know I represent the Suncoast Chapter of A.B.A.T.E. (A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments), which has steadfastly argued against Florida's Motorcycle Helmet Law, Fla.Stat. 316-211. On December 8, 1995 Judge Blackwood held the entire statute unconstitutional and the State as well as the City of Largo appealed.
I understand that your office, through a memo from Major Sam Lynn dated 12-27-95 has directed the enforcement of a portion of the statute requiring some helmet be worn by motorcyclists, and it need not be DOT approved. I refer you to the memo of 12-27, a copy of which Is attached. I further refer you to the Order of Judge Blackwood dated 12-8-95, which is attached and does not specify anything near what your Major has directed your troops to enforce. In reliance upon the Judge's ruling, I have advised my client that no helmet is necessary on a motorcycle provided the motorcyclist is also relying upon the Judge's ruling.
As such, yesterday I argued a no-helmet ticket before Judge Radford Smith, and he agreed that the State is estopped from enforcement of the helmet law until the Appeal Court ruling comes down, and has dismissed the first no-helmet, ticket written after Judge Blackwood's ruling. A copy of Judge Smith's ruling is also attached herein. I'm sure you will agree with me that this will act as a precedent and essentially the helmet law is unenforceable in Pinellas County pending the Second DCA's ruling.
At this point I am asking you to revise the Major's memorandum and circulate this word to your officers that the helmet law is unenforceable against motorcyclists riding helmetless relying upon Judge Blackwood's decision. I hope you can agree with me on this matter and preclude any further Court action such as an injunction to preclude enforcement of a law that has been held unconstitutional. In this regard when you circulate such a memorandum, I would appreciate a copy.
Should you or any of your officers have any questions in this regard, please feel free to contact my office, or page me 468-1156. I'm looking forward to discussing this in the near future.
Ron Smith, Esquire