Florida Man Files – July 18

July 18 – Florida Man Attempts to Flatter a Judge

Defendant Demetrius Lewis had a short hearing and a very short attempt to flatter Judge Tabitha Blackmon, but he was less than successful in his attempt to charm the judge in a Zoom meeting. He informed her that she was gorgeous and she told him that “Flattery will get you everywhere, but maybe not here.”

Lewis was informed that the court had found probable cause to charge him with attempted burglary and he was held at $5,000 bond. The family that was attempting to sleep in their Fort Lauderdale home as Mr. Lewis attempted to break in has not commented on his attempt to flirt with the judge.

Judge Blackmon, as a former prosecutor, has likely been on the receiving end of less positive comments from defendants. That being said, she held on to her composure and her humor before shutting down the comments of Mr. Lewis. This skilled and successful prosecutor was appointed as a judge by Governor Ron DeSantis and likely has a long career of dealing with inappropriate defendants before her.

If Mr. Lewis is intent on spending as much time as possible in the presence of “gorgeous” judges, his career path seems appropriate. If he wants to make a positive impression on a hard-working judge, he may have to choose a different occupation.

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July 18 – Florida Man Attempts to Busk with a Tuba

Busking, or playing music for cash from passersby, has been around for a while. There have been world famous musicians who have attempted busking, just to make a point about the talent that folks miss when in a hurry.

It seems that some instruments don’t serve well as a tool for buskers. For example, Derrick Nangle was informed that his tuba, even with a sign asking for generosity, is not welcome on the sand in the town of Fort Myers Beach, Florida.

One of the challenges that buskers often face is that they may need a permit, a license and even insurance to be allowed to busk in parking lots or along walkways where pedestrians pass. Nangle, as music therapy major, believes that music is “the absence of stress.”

When the COVID-19 epidemic shut down the chance for many musicians to find gigs or simply to join with other musicians to make music, Nangle felt trapped and isolated. He chose to try to perform in open spaces where his music could be enjoyed or ignored by passersby.

Roger Herndstadt, town manager, emailed Nangle the reasons that his tuba playing was no longer welcome in the town of Fort Myers Beach. Current town code indicates that such playing, with or without a request for donations, is simply not allowed.

Admittedly, a tube is not a common instrument of buskers. However, those who love live music and have sympathy for the loss of earning potential for live musicians must question the restriction. If Nangle played a more traditional busking instrument, would he have been asked to leave the beach?

Sadly, Nangle has been threatened with fines, both for infringing on the public noise restriction and the signage restriction. He’s offered to get rid of the sign just to have the chance and space to play.