Traffic Court

I went to traffic court yesterday. It had been 5 years since my last ticket, and I hoped the Judge would give me a break. I am guilty of going 42 mph in a 25 mph zone. The officer did not cite me for speeding in a residential zone, which would have increased my fine substantially. Still, I figures that where nothing was ventured nothing was gained so I sent for my driving record and set my outlook calendar to remind me to go.

In traffic court, they take the ‘lawyered up’ parties first, after which they call up the arresting officer and those whom were ticketed by that officer. I had great hope, since my ticketing officer was not present at the start of court, but he did manage to enter and take his seat after a few minutes into the session. Several officers and their cases were called before ‘mine’, officers that only had one or two cases. When my officer was called, there were twenty of us who stood and waited for our names to be called. The first one called, pleaded ‘not guilty’ to speeding, and asked the judge permission to question the officer. He proceeded to ask questions from what look like a page printed off the Internet. The person reading the questions seem not to be aware that the questions asked the same thing but in different ways. The judge kept telling this person to “get to the point”, and the person didn’t seem to have a real clue. I was hoping that he wouldn’t ‘piss’ the judge off and ruin it for the rest of us, as far as good mood and leniency were concern. In the meanwhile, another driver had her baby with her that was making baby sounds, cooing at us, smiling and acting real happy. The judge asked the questioner to wait till he cleared up the other cases and that after, he could continue the questioning.

At that point the judge called up the girl with the baby and asked what was her plead. She pleaded guilty to 40 mph in a 25 mph zone, but the judge dismissed the charges. I was next, and despite my plead for a break and my semi-good record, the judge indicated that he just could not dismiss 17 mph over the speed limit. The woman behind me pleaded guilty to 12mph over the speed limit and was also ordered to pay the fine. It was apparent that all the cases were from the same general area using a ‘slickback’ or police car with no roof lights to wait for a violator.

I guess I should have brought in a cooing baby with me. I think that a judge, ready to dismiss charges should do so uniformly. If he is in a good mood, and inclined to do so, why not dismiss all where the speed was XX or less over the speed limit. I could see setting at 15mph or less, but how am I to know to bring in a baby to fit a criteria?

Our neighborhood association wants to make a couple of intersection in our neighborhood into 4-way stops. They pleaded their case with the Mayor several months ago, the need for a traffic enforcement patrol in our neighborhood, or making some of the intersections 4-way stops. The mayor was sympathetic to our pleads, but he indicated that the city did not maintain any traffic enforcement patrols and that a 4-way stop was not called for in our case. We were told that we, at our own expense, could put in mini-traffic circles, that would force traffic to navigate at a slower speed. The Mayor is a liar, or does not know his own police force because it is obvious to even the most naive, that this particular officer in my court case, was a traffic enforcement patrol, and all he did all day was sit in wait for traffic violations. The questioner who was asking all the annoying questions got answers that indicated that this officer was specially trained for this duty and his car was specifically equipped, calibrated, certified and maintained for this duty, especially for providing answers in court.

There are a couple of areas in our town that you must be vigilant and careful when driving through because of these ‘non-existing’ patrols. My wife got two tickets in one week in one area. I got a speeding ticket 5 years ago when I was returning from a concert by an officer laying in wait on a side street. Once again, I was guilty. The problem I have is that was a night where several automobiles in my neighborhood and nearby streets were vandalized. I realize that a patrol car may or may not have come upon these idiots doing the vandalizing, but they certainly will not come across them if they are sitting at the side of the road waiting for a speeder trying to get home after a long day and night.

~ by thoughtcrime2 on June 8, 2007.

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