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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Former Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Boyd dead at 90

Boyd retired in 1986 and served most of his time on the bench when I was either 1- Not a resident of Florida or 2- too young to vote. So all I know of the late Chief Justice comes from the article below. From what I read he had an interesting career, which included his having a mental exam to avoid impeachment. I could say the seven current members of the State Supreme Court have proven more than once their need of a mental exam. LOL. Former Justice Boyd died yesterday in Tallahassee. RIP.

Linked to- Bright & Early, The World According to Carl,

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Retired Florida Chief Justice Joseph A. Boyd Jr., who wanted to be remembered for his dissents that later became the law of the land but avoided impeachment by passing a mental exam, died Friday. He was 90.

The state Supreme Court confirmed Boyd died at his Tallahassee home. Gov. Charlie Crist ordered that state and local government agency flags be flown at half staff in his memory through sunset Monday.

Boyd served 18 years on the Supreme Court through 1987. He was chief justice from mid-1984 through mid-1986. Before he was elected to the high court, he served as a Miami-Dade County commissioner and as the county's vice mayor.

Arthur England, another retired chief justice who served with Boyd, recalled him as being an affable colleague who liked to tell stories, sometimes quoted the Bible in opinions and was concerned about how the high court's rulings would affect "real people."

"Joe was not an easy person to forget," England said from his Miami law office. "He always cared about people and thought about them."

Boyd was reprimanded by his fellow justices in the mid-1970s for accepting a secret draft opinion from utility company lawyers. Boyd asserted that he tore up the draft and flushed it down a toilet.

The Florida House also investigated but declined to impeach Boyd in 1975 after he agreed to take a psychiatric exam.

"He turned that into humor," England recalled. "He used to say he was the only one certified sane on the Supreme Court."

While Boyd remained on the bench, two other justices, Hal Dekle and David McCain, resigned the same year after also being accused of ethical violations. Dekle, too, had been accused of receiving the secret draft and allegedly used it in the opinion he wrote.

Boyd, though, was passed over for chief justice at least once because of the scandal. The office is rotated every other year to the most senior justice who has not yet held the position.

When Boyd retired, he said he would like most to be remembered for his dissents to opinions that later were overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In one case he disagreed with the majority justices who had ordered The Miami Herald to give equal access on its editorial pages to a political candidate. The federal justices, though, agreed with Boyd and ruled that would violate the First Amendment's free press guarantees.

Boyd, a former Bible salesman, once used biblical logic in dissenting from a ruling that upheld Florida's vagrancy law. He later said he figured that if Jerusalem had such a law, all the prophets, New and Old Testament, would have been jailed. The U.S. Supreme Court again agreed with him and struck down the vagrancy law.

Reared on a farm in Hoschton, Ga., Boyd served in the Marine Corps during World War II and worked his way through the University of Miami law school as a Fuller brush salesman.

Boyd is survived by his wife, Ann, and four adult children. Funeral services are set for Monday at the First Baptist Church in Tallahassee.

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