PETITION FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT AND SUPPLEMENTAL RELIEF by jkl31239

VIEWS: 0 PAGES: 8

									                         IN THE SECOND JUDICIAL CIRCUIT COURT
                                 LEON COUNTY, FLORIDA

COUNCIL FOR SECULAR
HUMANISM, INC., RICHARD
HULL, and ELAINE HULL,
                                                     Case No.
          Petitioners,
v.

JIM McDONOUGH, in his official
capacity as the Secretary of Corrections
of Florida, and ALEX SINK, in her
official capacity as the Chief Financial
Officer of Florida; PRISONERS OF
CHRIST, INC., a Florida corporation,
and LAMB OF GOD MINISTRIES,
INC., a Florida corporation,

          Respondents.
                                            /

                         PETITION FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT
                               AND SUPPLEMENTAL RELIEF

          The Petitioners, Council for Secular Humanism, Inc., Richard Hull and Elaine

Hull, sue the Respondents, Jim McDonough, in his official capacity as the Secretary of

the Florida Department of Corrections, Alex Sink, in her official capacity as the

Comptroller of Florida, Prisoners of Christ, Inc. and Lamb of God Ministries, Inc., and

allege:

                                          OVERVIEW

          1.     This is an action in equity seeking to require the State of Florida to

discontinue its practice of providing aid directly to two certain sectarian institutions under
contracts with the Department of Corrections. As more fully set forth below, the

instances of illegal expenditures sued upon in this action are “faith based initiatives”

authorized by the Legislature in violation of the “No-Aid Provision” of Article I, Section

3 of the Florida Constitution.1

                             JURISDICTION AND VENUE

       2.     Jurisdiction inheres in this Court pursuant to Article 5, section 20(c)(3) of

the Florida Constitution, Florida Statutes section 26.012(3) and section 86.011, et seq.

(the declaratory judgments act), and Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.610 (injunctions).

       3.     Venue lies in Leon County because the acts giving rise to the cause of

action took place in Leon County and the Respondents McDonough and Sink are

headquartered in Leon County and enjoy a home venue privilege in Leon County.

                                        STANDING

       4.     Petitioner Council for Secular Humanism, Inc. (“CSH”) is a non-profit New

York corporation registered to do business in Florida. CHS is a Florida taxpayer. CHS

has standing to bring this action inasmuch as this action is an attack upon constitutional

grounds based directly upon the Legislature's taxing and spending power.

       5.     CHS was formed, in part, to foster religious liberty by promoting the

enforcement of the principle of separation of church and state. The interests CSH seeks


       1
       .      The No-Aid Provision is the third sentence of Article I, Section 3: “No
revenue of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof shall ever be taken
from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious
denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.”

                                             -2-
to protect in this action are directly pertinent to the corporation’s purpose. CHS has

hundreds of “associate members” in Florida, any or all of whom would otherwise have

standing to sue in their own right. Neither the claim asserted in this action nor the relief

requested requires the participation of all of CHS’s Florida members in this action.

Therefore, CSH has associational standing to represent its members in this action.

       6.     Petitioners Richard Hull and Elaine Hull are individuals, taxpayers, Leon

County residents and members of CSH. They have standing to bring this action inasmuch

as this action is an attack upon constitutional grounds based directly upon the

Legislature's taxing and spending power.

                                      DEFENDANTS

       7.     Pursuant to Florida Statutes section 20.315(3), the Secretary of Corrections

is the “head” of the Florida Department of Corrections (“DOC”) and is charged to “ensure

that the programs and services of the department are administered in accordance with

state and federal laws, rules, and regulations, with established program standards, and

consistent with legislative intent.” The Respondent McDonough is sued only in his

official capacity as the head of DOC. In this Petition, McDonough will be referred to

interchangeably as McDonough or the DOC.

       8.     Pursuant to Article IV, Section 4(c) of the Florida Constitution, the Chief

Financial Officer (“CFO”) is “the chief fiscal officer of the state,” charged to “settle and

approve accounts against the state,” and to “keep all state funds and securities.” It is the

CFO’s constitutional duty to deny a warrant for the payment of funds from the state

                                             -3-
treasury in violation of the Florida Constitution. Respondent Sink is sued only in her

official capacity as the CFO. In this Petition, Sink will be referred to interchangeably as

Sink and the CFO.

       9.     Prisoners of Christ, Inc. (“Prisoners”) is a Florida non-profit corporation.

No relief is sought against Prisoners in this action but Prisoners is an interested party

inasmuch as the Petitioners seek to void a contract between Prisoners and DOC.

       10.    Lamb of God Ministries, Inc. (“Lamb of God”) is a Florida non-profit

corporation. No relief is sought against Lamb of God in this action but Lamb of God is an

interested party inasmuch as the Petitioners seek to void a contract between the DOC and

Lamb of God.

                            SUBSTANTIVE ALLEGATIONS

       11.    The final sentence of Article I, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution (the

“No-Aid Provision”) prohibits any revenue of the state from ever being taken from the

Florida treasury “directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious

denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.” Prisoners and Lamb of God are

churches, sects, religious denominations or sectarian institutions, and the State’s

payments to Prisoners and Lamb of God are being used to fund sectarian services.

Therefore, the State of Florida is constitutionally prohibited from entering into contracts

that “aid” these Respondents in their sectarian mission.

       12.    Prisoners is a party to Contract No. C2260 with DOC (the “Prisoners’

Contract”), in which Prisoners is charged “to provide Faith Based Substance Abuse Post-

                                              -4-
release Transitional Housing Program Services,” pursuant to section 287.057(2)(a) of

Florida Statutes, in Jacksonville.

       13.    The Prisoners’ Contract began on August 1, 2005 and ends on July 31,

2008, at which time DOC has an option to renew the Prisoners’ Contract for another two-

year term. As amended, the Prisoners’ Contract calls for DOC to pay Prisoners $20 per

day per person in the Transitional Housing Program, up to a maximum of 20 occupied

beds per day. Prisoners receives substantial periodic payments from DOC under the

Prisoners’ Contract.

       14.    Lamb of God is a party to Contract No. C2269 with DOC (the “Lamb of

God Okeechobee Contract”), in which Lamb of God is charged “to provide Faith Based

Substance Abuse Post-release Transitional Housing Program Services,” pursuant to

section 287.057(2)(a) of Florida Statutes, in Okeechobee.

       15.    The Lamb of God Okeechobee Contract began on August 1, 2005 and ends

on July 31, 2008, at which time DOC has an option to renew the Lamb of God

Okeechobee Contract for another two-year term. As amended, the Lamb of God

Okeechobee Contract calls for DOC to pay Lamb of God $20 per day per person in the

Transitional Housing Program, up to a maximum of 5 occupied beds per day. Lamb of

God receives substantial periodic payments from DOC under the Lamb of God

Okeechobee Contract.

       16.    Lamb of God is a party to Contract No. C2271 with DOC (the “Lamb of

God Pompano Beach Contract”), in which Lamb of God is charged “to provide Faith

                                           -5-
Based Substance Abuse Post-release Transitional Housing Program Services,” pursuant to

section 287.057(2)(a) of Florida Statutes, in Pompano Beach.

       17.    The Lamb of God Pompano Beach Contract began on August 1, 2005 and

ends on July 31, 2008, at which time DOC has an option to renew the Lamb of God

Pompano Beach Contract for another two-year term. As amended, the Lamb of God

Pompano Beach Contract calls for DOC to pay Lamb of God $20 per day per person in

the Transitional Housing Program, up to a maximum of 15 occupied beds per day. Lamb

of God receives substantial periodic payments from DOC under the Lamb of God

Pompano Beach Contract.

       18.    It is contrary to the No-Aid Provision for Florida state revenues to be paid

to Prisoners and Lamb of God under the Prisoners’ Contract, the Lamb of God

Okeechobee Contract and the Lamb of God Pompany Beach Contract (the “Illegal

Contracts”). The Petitioners seek a declaratory judgment so holding and supplemental

relief to require the State of Florida to discontinue payments of State revenue under the

Illegal Contracts.

       19.    The Respondent McDonough is responsible for entering into and

maintaining the Illegal Contracts. The Petitioners seek a temporary and permanent

injunction that he terminate the Illegal Contracts.

       20.    The Respondent Sink is responsible for authorizing warrants to be drawn

from the State treasury to make payments to Prisoners and Lamb of God under the Illegal

Contracts. The Petitioners seek a temporary and permanent injunction that she

                                             -6-
discontinue authorizing such warrants to make payments to Prisoners and Lamb of God

under the Illegal Contracts.

       21.    The Petitioners are legally entitled to the relief they seek.

       22.    The Petitioners have no adequate remedy at law.

       23.    The Petitioners are being harmed irreparably by the State’s continuing

expenditures on these “faith based initiatives” in violation of the No-Aid Provision.

       24.    The public interest would be served by temporary and permanent injunctive

relief under the circumstances. The State’s payment of funds from the public coffers to

sectarian institutions in violation of the No-Aid Provision is illegal, contrary to public

policy, and wrongful with respect to the Petitioners’ interests.

                                 PRAYER FOR RELIEF

       WHEREFORE, the Petitioners pray that the Court:

       (a)    Take jurisdiction over the case and the parties hereto;

       (b)    Grant temporary injunctive relief to require the immediate discontinuation

              of payments to Prisoners and Lamb of God under the Illegal Contracts;

       (c)    Grant a declaratory judgment that the Prisoners’ Contract, the Lamb of God

              Okeechobee Contract and the Lamb of God Pompany Beach Contract are

              unlawful under the No-Aid Provision of Article I, Section 3 of the Florida

              Constitution to the extent that these contracts require the payment of State

              revenue to sectarian institutions;

       (d)    Grant the supplemental relief of enjoining McDonough to terminate the

                                             -7-
      Illegal Contracts and Sink to discontinue authorizing warrants to be drawn

      to make payments under the Illegal Contracts;

(e)   Award the Petitioners their costs; and

(f)   Grant such other relief as the Court deems appropriate.

                                  Respectfully submitted,

                                  SACHS & SACHS
                                  Counsel for Petitioners



                                  By:
                                          Robert Rivas
                                          Florida Bar No. 896969
                                          310 W. College Ave., 3d Floor
                                          Tallahassee, FL 32301-1406
                                          Tel: (850) 412-0306
                                          Fax: (850) 412-0909
                                          RobRivas@aol.com




                                    -8-

								
To top