NAPLES — Lawyers sparred in a Collier County courtroom Thursday over the constitutionality of Naples Bay boat speed zones, but a judge didn't immediately rule in the case.
The fate of the speed zones has been at issue since charter boat captains Michael Bailey and Jim Rinckey each got tickets in April after purposely speeding their boats through a slow-speed zone to set up the legal challenge.
Confusion over holiday speed zone enforcement by city police during the New Year's weekend had reignited long-standing resentment of the speed zones on Naples Bay.
Collier County Judge Michael Provost heard more than an hour of arguments Thursday on motions to void the speed zones and to dismiss the captains' tickets. He gave no indication when he might issue his ruling.
The arguments were part legal brief and part history lesson, with the captains' attorney Donald Day and the city of Naples' attorney Jim Fox going back to the 1700s and 1800s to trace the lineage of federal and state laws governing the city's powers to regulate waterways.
"My theme is law and order, and Mr. Day's theme is anarchy," Fox said, before pulling out a pocket-sized copy of the U.S. Constitution to read from it.
Day said he wouldn't call his position against the validity of the speed zones anarchy, taking a swipe at all levels of government trying to expand their powers.
"There are limits on the city's ability to pass regulations," Day said.
The speed zone challenge hinges on questions about the validity of the city's 1994 speed zone law that the charter boat captains' tickets cite them for violating.
Aside from questions about whether the city had the power to adopt the 1994 speed zones, the matter is complicated by a contentious 2004 city law that sought to enact new speed zones in new parts of the bay.
The 2004 law is still on the city's books even though it can't be enforced after opponents of the law won a challenge to a state permit to erect signs to mark the new 2004 zones.
The two sides disagree about the extent to which the 2004 law repealed the 1994 law and disagree about whether the 1994 law was revived in the wake of the successful sign permit challenge.
Provost questioned Fox about how the 2004 law and the 1994 law could exist at the same time and asked how boaters are to know which speed zones are in effect.