House of Delegates, 1979-82
|Born||April 5, 1943|
|Alma mater||University of Baltimore School of Law|
|Occupation||Attorney, real estate broker|
|Known for||Interesting law cases, political activism, sports heckling|
|Children||Desiree Ficker, Rob Ficker, Flynn Ficker|
Robin Ficker (born April 5, 1943) is an American attorney, real estate broker, political activist, and sports heckler who lives in Boyds, Maryland.
Education and professional career
Ficker attended the United States Military Academy for five semesters. He received a B.S. in electrical and mechanical engineering from Case Institute of Technology. Ficker attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School, receiving his JD from the University of Baltimore School of Law. Ficker also received an M.A. in public administration from American University in 1969.
Ficker won two landmark injunctions preventing the state of Maryland from denying access to serious traffic and criminal court records. In 1992 U.S. District Court Judge Nickerson granted Ficker an injunction against provisions of the Maryland Public Information Act that denied access to police reports, criminal charging documents, and traffic citations in the Maryland Automated Traffic System. A 2003 Attorneys General opinion said the 1992 "Ficker order is still in effect and enforceable." In 1997, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Ficker successfully challenged the constitutionality of a Maryland law forbidding lawyers from targeted direct-mail solicitation of criminal and traffic defendants within thirty days of arrest.
He has been a member of the Maryland Bar since 1973. His first case went to the Supreme Court of the United States seeking to end the National Football League's blackout of sold out home football games. In 1973 Ficker, representing Deborah Drudge, gained a consent judgment signed by Federal District Court Judge Roszel C. Thomsen, forbidding evaluations based on facial features and physique, for positions in the office of the Montgomery County Attorney. The judgment said no future applicant could be asked any questions regarding marital status or child care arrangements. On January 6, l986, U. S. District Court Judge Norman Ramsey, ordered, in a suit brought by Robin Ficker against the Montgomery County Board of Elections, that Md. Election Code Art. 33, S 23-5(4) limiting the payment of money to petition circulators for initiative measures be declared null and void under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. After allegations of misconduct by the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland Ficker’s law license was suspended on June 7, 2007, then reinstated on December 8, 2008, by the Maryland Court of Appeals. Ficker became a real estate broker with his own company, Robin Realty, in 2008.
School case victories
In 2013, Ficker received widespread attention for securing school suspension reversals and disciplinary record expungement for children, ages 5- to 7-years old. A 6-year-old in Maryland had been charged with threatening “to shoot a student” for pointing his finger and saying “pow”. A Pennsylvania 5-year-old was said to be making a “terroristic threat” by talking about a Hello Kitty bubble-blowing gun. A Virginia 6-year-old had been suspended for pointing his finger at another student who pretended to shoot him with a bow and arrow after their class had studied Native American culture. A 5-year-old Southern Maryland child had been suspended for 10 days for bringing a cap gun on to a school bus to show a friend. Still pending in Maryland is the matter of a suspended 7-year-old who chewed a toaster pastry into the shape of a gun.
Ficker has run for various state and local offices since the 1970s. In 1972, he ran for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in Maryland's 8th congressional district, blanketing Montgomery County with "Our Friend Ficker" campaign signs on utility poles, trees and traffic lights, which resulted in county officials seeking an injunction to stop the placement of these signs on public property. He lost the Democratic race to Joseph G. Anastasi, who lost to incumbent Republican Gilbert Gude. He was elected in 1978 to the Maryland House of Delegates as a Republican, representing Montgomery County from 1979 to 1983.
He ran for U.S. Senate in 2000, claiming to have shaken hands with more than 560,000 people before officially announcing his candidacy. Ficker ran for Montgomery County Executive in 2006 receiving 28,063 votes, more than any other independent candidate in county history, with under 10% of the vote. In 2009, Ficker moved from his primary residence in Boyds to his childhood home in Colesville to run for County Council in District 4 where he won a three-way Republican primary with 58% of the vote. He lost to Democrat Nancy Navarro 61% to 35%.
In November 2010, running as a Republican for Montgomery County Council District 2, Ficker received the highest percentage of the vote of any Republican candidate for local or state office but lost to State Delegate Craig L. Rice (D-Dist. 15), of Germantown 59% to 40%.
Ficker was a candidate in the 2012 Republican primary for the newly redistricted Maryland's 6th congressional district seat held by 10-term incumbent Roscoe Bartlett, finishing fifth in an eight-candidate field.
Ballot initiatives and legal challenges
Since 1974, Ficker has become known for promoting a series of ballot initiatives. The issues range from term limits, curbing tax increases, to limiting budget waste and duplication. He collected as many as 15,000 signatures for each of 20 initiatives, that together received 2 million votes. A county initiative he proposed for the November 2008 ballot received 194,151 votes, prevailing by 5,060 votes. The measure requires the nine-member Montgomery County Council to vote unanimously to raise property tax revenue above the local limit. The victory earned him the Libertarian Party's Free Market Hero of the week award.
In October 2009, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, Ficker convinced parks officials in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties to rescind enforcement of a rule requiring a permit before a person could carry signs or solicit signatures in county parks.
Although he last attended an NBA game in April 1998, Ficker is known for his "passionate" support of the NBA's Washington Bullets. For many years, he heckled the opposing team at the games. Ficker had seats at USAir Arena immediately behind the visiting bench. When the team moved to the MCI Center, they took the opportunity to reseat Ficker well away from the court. He gave up his seats in response.
Though many players from opposing teams were aware of Ficker, Phoenix Suns star Charles Barkley in particular thought so much of him that he flew him out to Phoenix during the 1993 NBA Finals. Barkley bought Ficker a ticket directly behind the bench of the visiting Chicago Bulls with the intent that Ficker's taunts would distract the Bulls players. Ficker did not last the first quarter before being removed by America West Arena security.
In 2012 Ficker appeared on CBS's The Jeff Probst Show in which he was playfully surprised by special guest Isiah Thomas, former professional basketball player, and Basketball Hall of Fame athlete. Probst shares that Thomas, in agreeing to appear on the show said, "Ficker was one of the greats". In 2004 Ficker was a guest on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann in which he discussed his heckling and the often acrimonious fan vs. player interactions that would result.
The University of Maryland wrestling team had Ficker’s support in 2010 with his letter to the Washington Post criticizing the lack of coverage for the Terrapin team, and his attendance at the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship in Omaha, Nebraska.
Ficker has a daughter and two sons. Ficker's daughter, Desiree Ficker, is a top female professional triathlete, finishing second at the 2006 Ironman Triathlon World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Ficker's 20-year marriage to the late Dr. Frances Annette Ficker ended in divorce.
In 1996 Ficker was acquitted of destruction of property in a 1995 traffic incident and saw battery charges dropped by the State's Attorney after a jury deadlocked 10 to 2 in favor of acquittal. Ficker had been convicted in a non-jury District Court trial but appealed for a Circuit Court jury trial. In the traffic incident the driver of the car Ficker hit reported that he struck her in the face, breaking her glasses.
|Maryland 2006 Elections|
- Singer-Bart, Susan (11 August 2010). "Perennial candidate Ficker seeks District 2 County Council seat for Republicans". The Gazette (9030 Comprint Court, Gaithersburg, MD 20877: Post-Newsweek Media, Inc./Gazette.Net).
- Re: Ficker Consent Decree 30 July 2003
- Ficker v Curran 23 July 1997
- Davis, Janel (24 December 2008). "Ficker law license reinstated". The Gazette (9030 Comprint Court, Gaithersburg, MD 20877: Post-Newsweek Media, Inc./Gazette.Net).
- Daly, Dan (1990-10-12). "Ficker Might Deserve Spot On List Of Football Heroes". The Washington Times. p. D7.
- Drudge v. McKernon, United States District Court, District of Maryland CIVIL NO. 73-808-T (1973).
- Ficker v. Montgomery County Board of Elections, et al., United States District Court, for the District of Maryland Civil Action No. R85-4365 (1986).
- Petition for Reinstatement to the Practice of Law of Robin Keith Annesley Ficker
- Davis, Janel (13 June 2008). "Reporter’s Notebook: Let’s do it again". The Gazette (9030 Comprint Court, Gaithersburg, MD 20877: Post-Newsweek Media, Inc./Gazette.Net).
- "School officials reverse suspension of 6-year-old Silver Spring student". The Washington Post. 4 January 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
- "Bubble gun incident resolved; girl, 5, back in school Thursday". The Patriot News. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
- "Finger guns, toy guns and threats: The fallout of Sandy Hook". The Washington Post. 17 February 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
- "Record cleared for Prince William boy who pointed finger like a gun". The Washington Post. 18 February 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
- "Calvert boy with toy cap gun won’t have record; suspension reversed". The Washington Post. 27 June 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
- "Pastry gun case: Request to clear school record turned down". The Washington Post. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
- LaBarbara Bowman (January 6, 1972). "County Sues to Halt Posting Of House Candidate's Signs". The Washington Post. p. D1. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- Edward Walsh (May 6, 1972). "Newcomer, Pro Battle to Take on Gude". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- "Congressional Contest in 8th". May 14, 1972. p. G3. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- Schotz, Andrew (2 January 2012). "Ficker seeks GOP nomination for 6th District seat". The Herald-Mail (Hagerstown, Maryland: Schurz Communications). Retrieved 9 January 2012.
- Maryland State Board of Elections
- Ryan, Marshall (12 June 2013). "Feldman draws support for District 15 Senate seat". The Gazette. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
- Daniel, Leaderman (21 June 2013). "As another senator retires, chamber turnover increases". The Gazette. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
- "Robin Ficker (R)". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- "Robin Ficker (I)". The Washington Post.
- "Ficker Prevails in MoCo by About 5,000 votes". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- Laris, Michael (2009-10-13). "It Was No Walk in the Park for Campaigners". The Washington Post. p. B2
- Ficker, Robin (2004-11-22). "The Heckler's Code". The New York Times.
- "Ficker Won't Be the Mouth That Roars at MCI". The Washington Post. 1998-07-23. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- Voisin, Ailene (December 10, 2004). "Heckling is an art, and this guy rules". The Sacramento Bee. p. C1.
- "Would You Say That To My Face?" The Jeff Probst Show. Season 1. Episode 59. November 30, 2012.
- "Robin Ficker resurfaces at Maryland wrestling". The Washington Post.
- "Coverage faulted in bowling, women's basketball and wrestling". The Washington Post. 2010-01-30.
- "Desirée Ficker". 29 January 2010.
- "Obituaries". The Washington Post. 11 August 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- Mooar, Brian (16 July 1996). "Battery charge against tax activist to be dropped". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- "Altercation puts driver in hospital". The Washington Times. 5 June 2001. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
- Lt. James Perez (25 October 2011). "Beware of Violent Aggressive Drivers!". Crime Watch (blog). Fairfield, Connecticut: Hearst Communications Inc. Retrieved 11 June 2013.