final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Monica
Gordo, Judge. Lower Tribunal No. 13-36012
Institute for Justice and Ari Bargil and Allison Daniel and
Michael Bindas (Bellevue, WA), for appellants.
Genovese Joblove & Battista and Richard Sarafan and Nina
Greene, for appellees.
ROTHENBERG, C.J., and SALTER and LUCK, JJ.
initial brief in this appeal frames the issue:
Miami Shores homeowners may have virtually anything in their
front yard. They may decorate with garden gnomes, pink
flamingos and trolls. They may park their boats and jet skis.
And they are free to grow whatever trees, flowers, shrubs,
grasses, fruits and berries they desire. There is, however,
one thing forbidden:
In Miami Shores, maintaining a vegetable garden in your own
front yard is illegal and punishable by fines of $50 per day.
But Americans have been growing vegetables on their property
since precolonial times. This appeal seeks to vindicate the
constitutional rights of Floridians to continue to do so
Appellants, Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll ("Hermine
and Tom"), a married Miami Shores couple in their 60s,
designed and maintained a vegetable garden, peacefully and
without incident, in the front yard of their modest Miami
Shores home for over 17 years. After nearly two decades
without a complaint (but quite a few compliments), they were
abruptly ordered to stop. Facing the threat of fines of $50
per day, Hermine and Tom destroyed their beloved garden and,
along with it, uprooted a significant source of both material
sustenance and personal joy. Today, where flowers and
colorful plants once abounded, there sits a decidedly less
vibrant (but fully compliant) patch of land. All of this,
according to Miami Shores, in the name of aesthetics.
Hermine and Tom desire to once again grow vegetables for
their own consumption, methodically and attractively as
before, in their own front yard. But the ordinance at issue
in this case prohibits this historically recognized,
productive use of property. And despite Miami Shores'
purported interest in promoting aesthetics, the ordinance
bans only vegetable gardens-thus allowing virtually any other
type of landscape, regardless of how it looks. As a result,
Hermine and Tom filed this lawsuit, challenging the ban on
front-yard vegetable gardens as a violation of the Florida
Constitution's Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses.
* * * *
Hermine and Tom also challenged the ban on front-yard
vegetable gardens as a violation of two of their fundamental
rights under the Florida Constitution-the right to acquire,
possess and protect property and the right of
these claims seem compelling, the trial court's
well-reasoned, ten-page final order rejecting the
appellants' claims correctly acknowledged the difficult
procedural posture confronting the appellants and dutifully