Tampa Citizens Ignore ‘Lady Justice’

She’s a 10-foot tall, 2,000 pound, $400,000 gold and turquoise beauty. Her name is ‘Lady Justice,’ and she’s helping New York artist Audrey Flack defy all traditions.

“I’m familiar with justice having a balance scale,” said UT senior Victoria Altz, who commented on the sculpture. “I think justice means finding the truth no matter how long it takes or who you have to go through. The tricky thing with that, though, is that people have their own opinion of truth- one person’s truth can be another person’s falsity.”

The traditional symbol of justice is of a blind-folded woman holding a set of balanced scales, but Flack’s ‘Lady Justice’ sculpture bears no scales and her blindfold has slits.

“The figure herself is the scales of justice,” Flack told the St. Pete Times last March.

According to Flack, the slits were an act of compromise because she didn’t want to use a blindfold.

Flack’s design depicts the reality of conflict in the justice system of today’s society – is it really blind, or is the court system just unfair?

“The statue is a complete testament to the bias in the justice system,” said Altz. “You can always say that everyone has a fair chance, but in the end it’s the eternal bias of our court systems that have the final word.”

Up until now, Altz was unaware of the statue. In fact, there are several who aren’t aware that this sculpture is located on 800 E. Twiggs St., right in front of the 13th Judicial Circuit Court.

“I agree with the statue, [I] don’t think people really look at it. I didn’t notice it until [it was pointed out],” said a woman who wished to be called Valerie as she stood at the curb in front of the court house.

Her boyfriend, James, nodded his head in agreement with her.

Valerie, 22, was in Tampa with her ‘new’ boyfriend James, 24.

The two flew in from North Carolina, so that Valerie could testify in court against her ex-boyfriend.

“Justice is a big part of what we are here for,” said Valerie.

But not everyone who was pacing and waiting in front of the courthouse is praying for justice.

“I don’t have a take on justice. I don’t pay any attention to justice. I see past it. I try to stay out of justice’s way, so I don’t have to deal with it.” said Gene.

Unlike Valerie and James, 19-year-old Gene has lived in Tampa all of his life, but just like the two, Gene hadn’t noticed the statue either.

“I’m here for my little cousin. He’s just here for a ticket. If he pays the ticket he doesn’t have to worry about justice, if not he might face trouble,” said Gene. “I agree with the statue, but I don’t pay attention to it. It’s there for a purpose, but … people aren’t paying attention to it. I know it’s a lot of money wasted.”

When the statue was unveiled, it seemed like money was all that most could think about because their tax dollars had essentiallty paid for this piece of art.

Former Hillsborough Country Commissioner Ronda Storms told the Times that she questioned whether taxpayer money should continue to buy art outside most new government buildings, which has been a county ordinance since 1989.

An article that ran in the Times last March reported that some called the statue hideous.

“I think she’s saying, ‘What the (heck) am I doing here? I’ve got no sword and I’ve got no scales,” Attorney Theodore Rechel told the Times.

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: