Brevard County Bar Association

The Brevard County Bar Association (BCBA) is a voluntary professional association with more than 650 attorneys practicing in the 18th Judicial Circuit of Florida. BCBA memberDSC_6525s work to improve the legal profession, the community in which they live and the administration of justice in society.
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Message From The President Leslie J. Castaldi

Castaldi, Leslie VLF16508new_pprt

My daughter recently informed me that she and a friend will be leaving in mid-June to travel for 2 months through Europe. Having studied in France and traveled in Europe with a backpack and a train pass when I was 20 years old, I am very excited for her. What a feeling of pure freedom – to be able to decide on a whim, “Since we can’t find a place to stay here in Paris, because the Pope is in town, let’s go to Spain.” It’s hard to imagine such freedom now, at this stage of life, when we have so many responsibilities. After my conversation with my daughter and hearing the oratory of Martin Luther King, Jr. as we celebrated his commitment to civil justice and freedom, I started thinking, “What is freedom?”

Throughout my life, I have heard people sing about freedom. Is freedom having the wind blow through your hair and rambling along the highway?

Moving me down the highway
Rolling me down the highway
Moving ahead so life won’t pass me by
And I’m gonna go there free…

Jim Croce, “I Got a Name”

Sprung from cages out on Highway 9,
Chrome-wheeled, fuel-injected, and stepping out over the line,
Oh-oh, baby, this town rips the bones from your back
It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap.
We gotta get out while we’re young,
‘Cause tramps like us, baby, we were born to run.

Bruce Springsteen, “Born to Run”

Is freedom ameliorating the circumstances of others less fortunate than we?

I want to fly like an eagle
To the sea,
Fly like an eagle
Let my spirit carry me
I want to fly like an eagle
‘Til I’m free
Oh, Lord, through the revolution
Feed the babies
Who don’t have enough to eat
Shoe the children
With no shoes on their feet
House the people
Livin’ in the street
Oh, oh, there’s a solution

Steve Miller, “Fly Like an Eagle”

Is freedom hope?

Freedom to live out the dream in a song
Give hope to the hearts of the young.
Oh, give us freedom to act out of love
And not fear
So all that is true will be clear.

Dave Davies, “Freedom Lies”

Is it the struggle for basic civil rights?

It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will
Then I go to my brother
And I say, “Brother, help me, please.”
But he winds up knockin’ me
Back down on my knees.
There been times that I thought I couldn’t
last for long
But now I think I’m able to carry on
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will.

Sam Cooke, “A Change is Gonna Come”

We all measure and define freedom in different ways. To me, as an ordinary citizen, it means all of these concepts. Yet, as an attorney, I believe that freedom means access to justice. Harry T. Moore recognized this issue almost 70 years ago, when he wrote to his co-workers in the NAACP, in an effort to raise money to pay for legal services:

Again, we must remind you of the urgent need of building up a strong State Conference Legal Aid Fund. All of these cases deserve our attention … Remember that freedom is always bought with a price. Let us therefore combine our forces and make a more determined effort to secure for ourselves a fuller enjoyment of our Constitutional Rights.

Without access to justice, people cannot be truly free. Indeed, access to justice is now viewed as a “societal crisis.” In November 2014, Florida Chief Justice Jorge Labarga issued an administrative order, establishing the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice. We all have heard the discussions and ideas (including the recently rejected concept of reciprocity) to provide access to justice not only to the poor, but also to middle-income citizens who do not qualify for legal aid programs. Our own Judge Davidson is the Circuit Representative for the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee. The Committee is in the process of developing ideas to open the doors to justice, including training local attorneys in areas of law that are ripe for pro bono, advice clinics, or reduced fee legal representation. What ideas do you have? What can you contribute to promote access to justice?

Attorneys have a unique ability to help fellow citizens find access to justice. In this way, we can pursue the dream of freedom for all in this great country.