Do Words (Substantially) Mean Anything Anymore?

More local election follies, and don't mess with us today we're in a pretty sour mood.

Didn't we just learn that "substantial compliance" is the applicable standard as it relates to judicial (and school board) candidate filing requirements, as opposed to "the letter of the law":
Upon our review of the Form 6 filed by Del Rey, we hold that the trial court  properly determined that Del Rey substantially complied with the requirements of Form 6 and section 105.031.
It's interesting to me jurisprudentially, because inserting the word "substantial" before "compliance" means that the Court no longer is tethered strictly to the words of a statute, but is now in judgment and discretion-land, where differing judges may have their own views as to what and how far "substantial" stretches in any particular case.

I have no problem with that either, as many of us learned "legal realism" is probably a better way of understanding how the law works:
American legal realists (henceforth: realists) believe that there is more to adjudication than the mechanical application of known legal principles to uncontroversial fact-finding as legal formalism believes. Some realists believe that one can never be sure that the facts and law identified in the judge's reasons were the actual reasons for the judgment, whereas other realists accept that a judge's reasons can often be relied upon, but not all of the time. Realists believe that the legal principles that legal formalism treat as uncontroversial actually hide contentious political and moral choices.
Whether you're a legal positivist, a "strict construction" nut, or believe oddly that the Constitution is frozen in time, what do you all think of Raquel's lawsuit?

It puts the concept of strict vs. substantial compliance front and center:

Here is Raquel explaining it earlier today:

I also wanted you to hear from me directly that today, we took a moment from our very busy early voting campaign schedule to join our attorneys in filling a lawsuit that seeks to disqualify Carlos Gimenez and void any votes for him in the Nov. 8 election.

Why?  Simply because, once again, Carlos Gimenez has abused his power as strong mayor of Miami-Dade County.

Indeed, his direct influence over the Miami-Dade County Elections Department

compounded by his failure to comply with Florida statutes violates the public trust and places into question the validity and integrity of this entire election.

And here are the specifics -- the complaint states that during the qualifying period, the Elections Department received a qualifying check dated June 10, 2015, in the amount of $1,800 from the Carlos A. Gimenez campaign account. Since the June 2015 check was dated over a year earlier, it was rejected by the bank.

In our first live debate on Aug. 16, Gimenez stated that the Elections Department, which he heads as the Mayor of Miami-Dade County, called him and told him “Hey, you may have a problem there.”  Records show that Gimenez submitted a second campaign check at 10:21 pm on June 20 – the day before the qualifying deadline.

Here is the law -- Florida Statute 99.0671(7)(a) states that “if a candidate’s check is returned by the bank for any reason, the filing officer shall immediately notify the candidate and the candidate shall have until the end of the qualifying to pay the fee with a cashier’s check purchased from funds of the campaign account. Failure to pay the fee as provided in this subparagraph shall disqualify the candidate.

Since Gimenez did not pay the qualification fee with a cashier’s check, as
expressly required in the Florida Statute, he therefore failed to comply with the Florida Statute and should be disqualified as a candidate for the 2016 Miami-Dade County mayoral election.

But there is also a question as to whether he qualified on time. The county has refused to turn over surveillance camera videos that would show who came in with the check and when.

Our very respected senior attorney, Peter Gonzalez, of the Coral Gables law firm of Sanchez-Medina, Gonzalez, Quesada, Lage, Gomez & Machado – explained: “Mayor Gimenez failed to comply with Florida law. He did not follow the required method for qualifying for the county election. The Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections must comply with Florida law and remedy the situation by disqualifying Gimenez. Otherwise, the court will.”

We have sought expedited discovery for the critical evidence and fully expect an emergency hearing on the merits in the coming days.

Ok, so that's Regalado's lawsuit.

Dear very respected senior attorney Peter Gonzalez, please join this laser-beam audience of South Florida civil lawyers and judges on this crappy blog and talk to us about this -- we're interested!!

Oh yeah -- also it's Friday and there's this stupid election thing.


Added by GW for CP!


  1. Peter Gonzalez is a rock star.

  2. Hanzman just destroyed your rock star.


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