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Friday, October 2, 2015

The Mettalic Man and the Clicker

How in the world could something so innocent as a tiny little metal clicker have to do with buying a house in Key West? How, indeed!

The above photo shows Judge Joseph P. Lewis, Betty the division clerk, Velma the court reporter (stenographer), and me. The photo was taken 43 years ago. I was Judge Lewis' legal staff assistant. I had recently graduated from the University of Denver College of Law when the photo was taken. I had passed the bar and was looking for a job as an attorney. I was 25 at that time. I stood 5'8" tall and probably weighed 135 pounds.  Look at the pic. I don't look very intimidating, and I certainly never lived up to the nickname my dad gave me as a child - Butch. What happened one day at the Jefferson County Hall of Justice in Golden Colorado (that's where Coor's Beer is made) may help you understand the importance of the clicker and how it relates to me as a Realtor 43 years later.

Former Jefferson County Hall of Justice
Walkway from former Hall of Justice to Clerk's Office and County Jail
 Judge Lewis' courtroom was on the forth floor (top floor) of the building pictured above right. The county jail was located about 150 feet away in a separate building.  The county clerk's office was situated between the two. The interior of the Hall of Justice was open from the ground floor to the ceiling of the forth floor with courtrooms or administrative rooms situated on all four sides of the building. Interior walls were blond brick. Noise of any sort sounded throughout the building and even filtered into the courtrooms.

One afternoon I was in the hallway outside our courtroom talking to two Deputy District Attorneys.  A man in his 40's or early 50's exited the clerk's office and began clicking a clicker in rapid succession as he walked the hallway heading toward the elevators.  Back then we did not have police or sheriff's officers in the courtrooms or hallways. Nobody had to pass through a metal detector at the entrance to the courthouse.  We had not yet become a society that was afraid of everything and everyone. So there was nobody to stop this metallic madman from disturbing the solemnity of the courthouse.

I left the Deputy D.A.s and moved quickly to the elevator hall where I grabbed the elevator door and braced my right arm against the door to prevent it from closing. I yelled "Ralph, call the Sheriff!"  Ralph was a older man, probably in his sixties, whose office was located just off the elevator lobby. The clicker man was alarmed when I prevented his exit. He began chopping at my arm with his arm, trying to break my hold. He hit me repeatedly. And it hurt like hell.

Steve Worrell, a fellow classmate from law school, came out of his courtroom into the hall to see what was going on. Steve played football in high school and even though he wasn't much taller than me, he was definitely bigger in size and stature, and surely he wasn't the sort of guy you would want to pick a fight with. I wouldn't call myself a wimp, but I was. Oops I just outed myself as a wimp!

Steve reached past my arm and grabbed clicker man by the shirt and quickly waltzed him straight across the hallway into the marble wall.  I think Steve was about ready to punch the man, but someone either grabbed the man or Steve to prevent things from getting more difficult. Within a couple of minutes a couple of deputy sheriffs arrived. I told them what had happened. They put the man in handcuffs and took him next door to the county jail.

Later that afternoon I got a phone call from the Captain in charge at the jail that day. He asked me to come over and sign the complaint under which the man had been arrested. When I got there the captain made me an offer. He said I could go inside the holding cell and hit the guy. He even offered to have some guards hold him for me so that I could beat the hell out of him. I am as serious as I can be. I don't lie, and I don't make stuff like this up. I told him no and that was the end of that.

The next day the man was arraigned in the courtroom of Judge C. F. Johnson. The Judge had me sworn in, and I related what had happened in the hallway the day before. My recollection is that the man admitted what I said was accurate. He was taken away on a mental health hold for three days. I don't recall anything further ever happening in this regard.  But I will never forget the Captain's offer to let me beat up the guy who had hit me.

Many locals in Key West visit the Monroe County Sheriff's web page CLICK HERE several times a week where we can see who has been arrested and on what charge.  It's not uncommon to see someone we know get picked up for driving under the influence or some other infraction.  Sometimes I see images of people that disturb me.

48 years old when arrested. Disabled and held on municipal ordinance violation

68 years old when arrested for failure to appear

58 years old when arrested for failure to appear

Barbara was 62 years old when arrested for a municipal ordinance violation

None of the offenses would explain how these people got the bruises and lacerations pictured above. There is no justification in my mind that could possibly permit someone in authority to hurt these people.  These pictures are just examples of what you can and will see on a regular basis of people who are processed through the Monroe County Jail. I'm not saying the Sheriff's officers did this and I am not saying a city policeman hit these people.  Somebody did.  

I moved to Key West in December 1993 and have been selling homes since December 1996. I love living in Key West, Florida. I encourage people to move here and fulfill their dream of living in Paradise. I encourage would-be buyers to checkout the Monroe County Sheriff's website on a regular basis - not to see photos of the abused but to see where the defendants live, where they were arrested, and the charges against them. This personal search is a sure fire way to determine for oneself areas of town that a buyer may determine are better than others. Key West is a very safe place to live. Most of our person on person crime occurs between spouses, partners, roommates or people living together. Stranger on stranger crimes are normally bar fights.  

I will never regret not punching the man with the clicker. Never!

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.