CODE ENFORCEMENT PROFESSIONAL LEGAL ISSUE PAPER
Step 1: Submit a Legal Issue Topic
Topics must first be submitted for approval to the Education and Certification Committee of the Florida Association of Code Enforcement (F.A.C.E.) along with a descriptive paragraph. The Committee will respond to the author concerning the appropriateness of the topic before the paper is written. The proposed topics and descriptive paragraphs should be sent to the Committee c/o the Florida Institute of Government, University of Central Florida, 12443 Research Parkway, Suite 402, Orlando, FL 32826.
Some suggested topics for your consideration:
- Study of a Code Enforcement case which raises an interesting legal issue. For example, has someone challenged an enforcement action based on a constitutional issue? Did your Code Enforcement Board or Special Magistrate rule against the jurisdiction? An examination of the legal issue(s) that were raised would be appropriate.
- Constitutional issues – First Amendment (free speech); 4th Amendment (privacy, search and seizure), etc.
- Violations of quasi-judicial processes
- Sunshine Law violations (public meetings law)
- Public Records Law violations (making public records available)
- Challenges to new ordinances related to Code Enforcement
- Conflicts between state legislation and local ordinances
Your legal department may have some suggestions. Just remember that the topics must be related to code enforcement (i.e. not be about human resources, election laws, etc.). Papers that merely describe an ordinance, process, or procedure will usually not be accepted unless a legal issue is clearly defined.
The descriptive paragraph should explain the following: identification of the legal issue that will be explored; why the topic is important to the code enforcement profession; how it relates to your job as a code enforcement officer; how the topic has or will impact code enforcement as it is applied or in the course of your work.
Step 2: The Legal Issue Paper
After your topic has been approved, you may submit a Legal Issue Paper containing supporting arguments about your topic, following the guidelines provided below. The paper must be submitted with an Employment Affidavit and a signed copy of the Affidavit of Originality, accompanied by a check for $60.00 (member) or $80.00 (non-member) payable to: University of Central Florida. Please mail the check and affidavit to the Institute of Government, University of Central Florida, 12443 Research Parkway, Suite 402, Orlando, FL 32826. A passing legal paper will earn you five hours of credit towards your re-certification.
Guidelines: The paper will be evaluated for the following:
- The ability to organize information in an understandable manner using the required format and to explore content in depth in a logical, coherent manner;
- The ability to communicate in writing, transmitting information in a clear and understandable manner, using both consistent style and accepted standards of English spelling and grammar;
- The ability to exhibit originality in identifying an appropriate topic which is directly pertinent to or revolves around a legal issue in Code Enforcement;
- The ability to locate and accurately use supporting data by properly identifying and referencing information related to the topic and by correctly citing and applying appropriate laws, statutes, codes, or other materials.
- At least 6 but no more than 15 pages in length
- Double spaced and neatly typed (12 pt font) on 8-1/2" x 11" white paper. (Hand-written papers are unacceptable. Use small and capital letters, not all capitals.)
- Margins: 1" on top, bottom and both sides
- First word of each paragraph should be indented ½" ( five typed spaces)
- Quotations should be indented 1" (ten typed )spaces, if longer than four lines
- Number pages, beginning with first page of body of paper (including Works Cited page and Appendix, if any), at upper right with your last name and page number
Following must be added, but are not included in 6 to 15 page count:
- Title Page must include the author's name, address, and telephone number
- Page of sources cited at end of document (Works Cited) in alphabetical order and appropriate MLA format
You may also include a Table of Contents and an Appendix, but these are optional.
You should use the format described in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (Modern Language Association of America, latest edition). All references to words other than the author's should be identified as such, with accurate quotations and appropriate citing of source, section or page number. Only the applicable section of an ordinance or statute can be quoted in the body of the paper, although the complete ordinance, statute, etc. can be attached as an appendix. Cited works should appear listed in the back in alphabetical order
You must use a minimum of two different, written sources related to your topic, such as local ordinances, local government charter, Florida Constitution, Florida Statutes, Attorney General Opinions, Florida Administrative Code, Civil Rules of Evidence Handbook, Florida Jurisprudence, American Jurisprudence, Law of Municipal Corporations. (Note: class handouts cannot be used as sources.)