Some time ago, I shared with the Huffington Post community my personal story about my father, a lawyer and outspoken taxpayer advocate. He has been unjustly held in jail under contempt of court for over a year because he questioned the authority of judges being paid illegal bonuses by the County of Los Angeles. The outpouring of sympathy from readers was touching to me and to my family but unfortunately, things have remained status quo since my post in January.
Now, almost 14 months after being forced into jail, my father's case is being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. Richard I. Fine vs L.A. County Sheriff Leroy D. Baca will determine whether it is legal for a U.S. citizen to be held in coercive confinement for such a long period of time. On April 23, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear my father's case in conference.
No matter your political leanings, it is easy to see that this case has great repercussions for the future reach of judicial power. I believe no U.S. citizen should have to spend significant time behind bars without a jail sentence being placed upon them. I believe that many of you will agree.
With that being said, I wanted to share with the Huffington Post community the letter I have written to the U.S. Supreme Court to call for the release of my father. I hope that it may motivate you, if this is an issue that is important to you, to write your own letter or to share this story with others so that such injustices don't go undocumented.
Dear Justice Roberts, Justice Ginsberg and U.S. Supreme Court En Banc,
My name is Victoria Fine and I am the daughter of Richard I. Fine, whose fate you will determine in your upcoming conference on April 23, by considering his case Richard I. Fine vs L.A. County Sheriff Leroy D. Baca.
I am writing to you to ask you to release my father from the horror he and my family have endured during the last 13 months of our lives. He has raised me to trust in our country's justice system to uphold freedom, democracy and moral right. I admit that as of today, as my father sits in solitary confinement, I have very little faith left in our American system. But now, as I write to you, I place that faith in your hands to make the decision that will free my father and send him home to my mother and me.
I cannot say I can make a decision better for America than the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. But I can tell you what this decision will mean to my father, to my family and to me.
My father is staunchly moral, aggressively inquisitive and has the most precise intellect of any person I have known. He is a person who sees the right and wrong in black and white but who will always consider the opinions of those who think differently than he does. He is a man who believes no matter how dire your situation, the world will turn to meet you in the middle if you face it squarely. He is a man who, until this last year, was a lawyer and a diplomat and an active citizen in his community.
He is a man who, until this last year, donned a suit and bow tie each day with pride, ready to enter a court to fight for a cause he believed in.
My father has been at every important event in my life until this last year. His time in solitary confinement has made it difficult for him to be the father I have known for the last 24 years. I can't call him when I need advice, or support, or when I need to hear his voice. When I visit him, he is not the man I know, a great man, a proud man. In jail, he is a 70-year-old man with failing heath and the only thing I recognize is his optimistic smile. I have not held his hand for a very long time.
In my father's absence, our family has been fractured. My parents have no livelihood, no home, no future until my father is released and his legal license restored. My mother and I look towards the future and face only a huge and gaping question mark.
Please remember, that as you review my father's case on April 23, you are considering the future of a man, not a policy. You are considering the fate of a father, a husband, a friend and a deeply concerned citizen, who has dedicated his life to upholding the decisions you make in your court.
Thank you in advance for your deep and thoughtful consideration of this case.
Victoria E. Fine