Florida Legislature Bans All Computers and Smart Phones (Accidentally, of Course)


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Florida's famously dumb legislature just one-upped itself by banning all computers and smart phones, according to a lawsuite filed by the owner of an internet cafe "whose clientele is primarily migrant workers seeking computer time."

Consuelo Zapata says in her suit that a law passed in the wake of a gambling scandal involving Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll doesn't just forbid illegal computer gambling and slot machines, but all computers. Mary Ellen Klas of the Tampa Bay Times reports

The lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court on behalf of Incredible Investments, LLC, owned by Consuelo Zapata, alleges that the Legislature effectively applied the ban to all computers when it defined illegal slot machines as any "system or network of devices" that may be used in a game of chance. The state effectively made every smartphone and computer an illegal device, the plaintiff argues.

"They rushed to judgment and they took what they saw as a very specific problem and essentially criminalized everything," said Justin Kaplan of the Miami law firm of Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, which is representing Zapata.

The argument, crafted with the help of constitutional law attorney and Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, is based on the assumption that the definition of illegal slot machines is now so broad that an illegal game could be potentially played on every computer. Under the law, the Legislature's own computers, "the ones they used to draft this legislation, are illegal," Kaplan said.

The case asks the court to throw out the law passed "in a frenzy fueled by distorted judgment in the wake of a scandal that included the lieutenant governor's resignation." It argues that the lawsuit unlawfully prohibits, commerce, violates free speech and due process and is overly broad and unworkably vague.

I also take this to mean that it's illegal to have an office intranet. 

Previously in Florida legislative stupidity: Florida Just Made It a Crime to Sell Bongs, Glass Pipes, Etc.