“Scandaloosa” is living up to its nickname. Okaloosa Commissioner James Campbell was recently indicted for perjury and official malfeasance in office.
Governor Rick Scott, invoking his powers under Florida Statute 112.51, promptly removed Mr. Campbell from office.
Now I am not one to tolerate corrupt officials by any means (I remember the quote from the “Untouchables” that the Roman punishment for bribery was for the convicted to have his nose cut off, be sewn in a sack with a wild animal and thrown in the river), but I don’t like a governor who can dismiss publicly elected officials on accusation alone.
Worse still, in many cases, by law, the governor gets to pick the replacement too.
For some this may sound odd, but the law has evolved to the point all of us are guilty of something nearly all the time. I’ve read that it is a bar game among lawyers to decide what crime to charge totally unknown patrons with as they lazily sip their beer.
What is a simple lack of knowledge of the law for one man is an invitation for incarceration by another. A governor with such sweeping powers combined with a legal system that makes us all potential criminals is a recipe for corruption and abuse of power.
Innocent until proven guilty is not just a phrase. It has to be protected just like all our other liberties.
Our Florida legislature should have thought of that.
Pete Blome is chair of the Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County and a Niceville resident.