By SARAH HOLLANDER
Citizen Staff Writer
KEY WEST - More than four and a half years after
smoking a joint on the steps of
Old City Hall to kick off his
candidacy for a
City Commission seat, Ron "Noodleman" Carter
headed to court Tuesday to face some judicial sauce.
Carter - who skipped town to avoid facing a
possible one-year jail term for the
demonstration - reappeared in Judge Susan Vernon's courtroom to plead no contest
and seek closure on his
"I'm here on my own volition to try to work things out," the 54-year-old said.
He's out of politics for good, said Carter, who's since traded in his trademark
bald head and long mustache for a ponytail and short mustache.
A former Sunset Celebration vendor, Carter deceided in 1991 to challenge
then-Commissioner Virginia Panico for a commission seat, eventually won by Joe Pais.
Carter characterized himself as a
lawbreaker rather than lawmaker, saying there were
too many "stupid laws" which should be broken.
The homeless Carter ran into more trouble when
police ticketed him for
sleeping in his
Before Carter had a chance to complete the sentence or begin his pot-smoking trial,
he left town. In a 1992 Citizen letter to the editor, Carter wrote,
"I just don't feel that I can accomplish anything by going to jail at this time."
When he left, warrants for failure to appear and violation of probation followed.
Carter said he doesn't regret what he did, but is incredibly relieved to have
the whole saga almost over with.
"Political tempers have cooled," said Carter, who's been in town for about six weeks.
"It feels good to be out of politics
and free. This is the
first time I
haven't been a fugitive from the
law since 1970."
van in 1992. At the time,
Vernon sentenced Carter
to six months of probation
and 128 hours of community service.