The case of the $909 parking ticket

Greetings,
I shall warn you this is a long and complex story, and those of you that are not interested in self defense in court are probably well advised to skip
this post as it is complex and there is lots to read and ponder.
Chapter one The Arrest.
On January 30, 2007 your humble correspondent was sitting in a bank doing his business when the bank officer said "Are you getting a ticket? , as she pointed over my shoulder and pointed at my rig parked at the curb.
I excused myself and walked outside to inquire what business the officer had. He informs me that the truck is parked blocking the crosswalk, he is responding to a citizens complaint and that the Chief of Police had personally directed him to write a ticket. Sure enough the bumper of the truck was in fact a little ways inside the line of the crosswalk, but I really do not think it was blocking the crosswalk, as there was room enough for a paraplegic in a wheelchair with a service dog at their side to pass in front of the truck without any difficulty.
I attempted to point out the petty nature of the complaint, but it was apparent that this was an exercise in futility. I was then informed that the officer had decided to issue the ticket to me personally, and could he please see my drivers license. I considered calling upon my extensive vocabulary in order to share my opinion of his intended action, but decided to check my anger at this fool and get on with my business. I went back into the bank, and retrieved my license from the desk of the bank officer, and returned to the side walk to comply with the request.
The officer seemed to be having some difficulty in finding the code section that he wanted but finally returned from his car (parked in the red zone) and commenced to writing. Shortly after he began his task he asks for my residence address. I decline to supply this information as there is no law that requires me to give it. He makes a call on the radio and gets the information any way. A little while later he asks me for "proof of insurance". I am really ready to go ballistic, but I again restrain myself, and instead only reply that "You don't need that for a parking ticket".
He finishes his writing and then instead of handing me the parking ticket I was expecting, he asks for my autograph on a regular moving violation, get a point on your record kind of ticket. I object to this stating that when he proposed giving the ticket to me personally instead of writing it to the company I did not understand that he was talking about writing this kind of ticket, and could he please void that and write it to the owner of the truck. He explained that it was against policy to void a ticket and he did not want to loose his job. He explained that I really didn't have to go to court if I just paid the amount that the court would send me in the mail.
I told him I would sign it under the condition that he write on the ticket that is was not moving. He did so and I signed, agreeing to appear in court on the 5th of March. I don't know for sure if he felt a little guilty, or if he was being a smart ass, but as he handed me the ticket, he thanked me for my cooperation. I said nothing, but took it as an insult.
Several days later I was talking to someone and they razzed me about getting a ticket. I wondered how the heck they knew I got a ticket and he said he heard the scanner. He informed me that the cop had driven by and reported back that the truck was not blocking the intersection, but he was directed to go back and write the ticket.
About the 14th of February I receive an amendment to the ticket notifying me that the charge of violating section 16028(a) of the vehicle code was added (no proof ins.) per order of the chief of police. This is getting really weird.
About a week before my court date comes, I realize that I have not received any notice from the court. This is not usual as the last two fixit tickets I have had with this court house have arrived within days of my getting the ticket. I called the court and to my surprise they could find no record of the ticket being filed. On the date that I had promised to appear, I shoed up at the clerks office and still no record. I told the clerk that I would like to go to court anyway. She refused saying that I could not be put on the docket if they had nothing on file. I insisted and we played the game of "go up the ladder" until they ran out clerks. The position was unchanged, I could not go to court.
The last gal suggested that I could go to court if they ever did file the ticket, and I would be notified. I told her that I had no intention of going to court as my agreement was to go to court today, not some iffy vague date in the future. She suggested that I didn't have to go, but that I could forfeit bail instead. I looked at her as she were nuts, and asked her why she thought that not filling in time would make it my problem. No answer other than a scowl. I started to leave, but turned and asked the clerk he name. "My name is Sheila." and your last name Shelia? "I asked. "I don't have to give you my last name, I am the only Shelia here and I am the operations officer".
I started to leave, but then I turned back and asked "What would you do if someone came in here and said Hi my name is Roger and I want to go to court, but then that person refused to give you their last name? Again the scowl as a response. I left with out any further inquiries.
I went home and wrote a letter addressed to the clerk of the court, the judge that usually holds traffic court, the cop that wrote the ticket and the DMV. I informed all of these folks that I had appeared in the clerks office and offered to appear in court, but that my offer had been rejected so I was concluding that my obligation to appear in court arising from the ticket had been extinguished by my offer of performance.
The letters went out the next day and I heard nothing, until I received two letters, one from the cop containing only another ticket amendment form, this one stating the box marked commercial vehicle should be checked as per court. The second letter was the computer generated "courtesy notice" asking for $909 or an appearance in court on April 23rd.
A series of letters was exchanged and the ultimatum was given, you can appear or not as you choose, but if you do not pay or appear a hold will be placed you your drivers license, and this matter will be turned over to a collection agency. This threat was signed by Sheila but this time she had included her last name.
I considered blowing of the matter and filing suit in the event that anyone would screw with my license, but instead I chose to go to court and avoid the circus of a suspended license.
On April 23rd. I appeared and was arraigned on the two charges. I was then asked for my plea, but instead I gave the judge a demurrer. For those of you nor familiar with court procedure, a demurrer is a formal objection to the accusatory pleading. Basically it tell the court that you have a really good reason not to answer the question "How do you plead?".
Since the District Attorney was not in court that day, nor had he replied to my letter asking for information and the procedure to make an appointment to discuss the case, and when I had called his office the clerk had informed me that "The District Attorney's office had nothing to do with traffic tickets." The Judge decided to defer the matter until May 9th for a hearing.
My demurrer had 4 points.
First the ticket was invalid as the law required the ticket to be filed as soon as practicable.
The second point was that since the court had evidently directed the cop to amend the ticket to repair a perceived defect, that this should be construed the same way that an order sustaining a demurrer with leave to amend would be in that the law requires this to be done within 10 days and since the correction was not attempted until 15 days after the time that they court had no record, it must have been more than ten days.
The third ground was that since the law requires an accused to be tried within 45 days of his arraignment unless the accused waives that right, the court should start counting the 45 days from March 6th and that since more than 45 days had elapsed since that date a speedy trial could not be had, so this also mandates dismissal.
The fourth ground was that the policeman had no authority to file an accusation without the approval of the District Attorney. The District attorney had been given notice that I was contesting the charges and filed, nothing, nor did he give me notice of his intention to file. Since he did not inform me of his intention prior to the (2nd) arraignment date I then was permitted to make his decision and I hereby elect not to be prosecuted.
Now if you made it this far, I hope you enjoyed the story and I solicit your comments.
--
Roger Shoaf
If you are not part of the solution, you are not dissolved in the solvent.
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My experience with those kinds of people is that they always find loopholes in their favor and they are all in cahoots. Good luck, you need it. I always carry a disposable camera in my truck for these sorts of situations.
i

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On Thu, 3 May 2007 19:19:31 -0700, with neither quill nor qualm,

--snippage--
Most excellent, sir. I hope you win the case and it's reviewed nationwide as a precedent. IANAL but your statements and positions were logical and made sense to me with what I know of the laws.
On to Chapter 2, please!
--
The State always moves slowly and grudgingly towards any purpose that
accrues to society's advantage, but moves rapidly and with alacrity
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I hope you are wrong about the precedent business as that would require me to lose and appeal rather than to declare victory and go home.
Chapter two will probably be done on May 9th. My comment to the Judge at the conclusion of the last hearing was "Well Your Honor, in 12 years I have lived in this county I am four for four in your court, and I hope than when we se each other next time it will go to five for five.
I was encouraged to make this comment on that day for several reasons. First while I was waiting my turn, I observed several instances where he jumped down the throat of some folks that were back in court being asked why they had not paid an installment on a fine or why they had not bothered to show up in court in a timely manner. His comments were in the nature of your obligation was to do such and such, and I always make it clear that it is your responsibity to show up/pay on time as agreed/etc. In other words a deal is a deal and no amount of BS is going to change that.
Also when I had indicated that I felt the DA's office had been blowing me off and that it was indicated to me that they had nothing to do with traffic tickets, he (being a former District Attorney) looked me straight in the eye and asked me if I was suggesting that the District Attorney, the elected representitive of the People of the State of California, has nothing to do with bringing a criminal action in court-after all the police officer is only a witness or that is the way it was the last time I checked.
While he was giving this speech, I knew from his tone that he suspected that I, like so many sorry saps have attempted before, was attempting to blow smoke up his robes. I responded without hesitation "Your Honor, I could not agree more with that observation, as a matter of fact I hope you remember both your words and my agreement with them when the court has an opportunity to read and consider my pleading.." This caused him to lose his skeptical demeanor and pick up my papers while he commented that he would remember them. This seemed to pique his interest and I detected a slightest hint of a smile.
--
Roger Shoaf
If you are not part of the solution, you are not dissolved in the solvent.
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Let's hope that smile meant what you thought it did, and not "Bend over, Roger."
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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On Fri, 4 May 2007 04:55:26 -0700, with neither quill nor qualm,

That would be a definite bummer. My hope is that it gets global attention by the PTB (powers that be) and they learn that they can't pull that crap and get away with it any more.

Now, to Nick's disdain, you'll have to recite all those stories here, too, Roger. Give!

It sounded as if you were baiting him, which is never a good idea.

That's always a dangerous habit in front of the man who thinks he's God, at least in his county. I'm glad you weren't of that mind.

Excellent. I hope that was a kindred spirit's smile, that he may have something to settle with the DA himself, rather than a vengeful smile.
G'luck!
Now out with the other stories while we wait for Chapter 2 on this one. ;)
-- Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ---- --Unknown
--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


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Roger Shoaf wrote:

I wonder who the chief of police was sucking off, and did that person have a hard-on for you or just the name on the truck?
Paul
--
-----------------------------------------
It's a Linux world....well, it oughta be.
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Roger Shoaf wrote:

SNIP
SNIP
Since your friend heard it go over the air, the dispatch center should have the exchanges on tape. I would get an attorney and get a copy of the officer stating that you were not in violation. Then call them all on the carpet for an unjust ticket.
--
Steve W.
Near Cooperstown, New York
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First off I shun the thought of purchasing an attorney for anything. I can get a copy of the tape for the asking if I am pushed to enter a plea, but hopefully next week I will have nipped the whole thing in the bud.
I think it might be fun once I obtain a dismissal to sit down with the police chief and have a little chat. I suspect he will start off by justifying his position and asserting that strict enforcement of the law is his policy etc.
Then I will show him a photo of the side of the truck where the CA # is properly displayed. Show him a copy of the law that clearly spells out that the display of the CA# is evidence of financial responsibility, Show him then the statute that defines perjury, and the one that defines subornation of perjury, and point out that if one were to take a view of strict law enforcement, then he and his micrometer wielding officer should perhaps think about a new line of work as once they get out of prison I don't think they will be able to get their jobs back.
I wonder what the look on his face will be then?
At that point I might show him the statutes that define the powers of arrest of a peace officer and point out to him that an arrest for an infraction requires either an arrest warrant, or for the officer to have personally witnessed the crime being committed. How then was it that the officer was dispatched with orders of the chief to take action, the chief then knowing these facts, how is it that he did not notice that an arrest was achieved and the officer then released me from arrest with a citation?
If one were to believe in strict enforcement of the law, then it is clear that one may be free to take a strict view of the federal statutes showing the penalties for conspiracy to violate a persons constitutional rights under color of law could be in play and if he were lucky he would get his state conviction to run concurrent with his federal time.
At this point I will probably be satisfied with things and put the matter behind me. 20 years ago I would have been eager to save the world and start filing law suits and seeking grand jury indictments but now I suspect that a strong quiet message will be sufficient to bring some sanity back to the state of things foe a while.
Then I could walk across the street to the department of public works. There I will have a little chat with the director and show him the photo of the truck parked that he gave to his buddy the police chief and point out to him that the curb adjacent to the crosswalk where the truck was parked in such a manner as to allow a disabled veteran with a loyal canine companion and service at his side to cross within the crosswalk unhindered until they were to get to the curb. Of course then the man that lost his limbs in service to his country would be faced with the curb. Just that little chunk of concrete that under the Americans With Disabilities Act, should have been fitted with a little ramp so that the man who fought so valiantly would be able to get to the bank and make the payment on his families farm before the deadline and the bank closes.
Did I mention that it was the director of public works that was the person that placed this whole ball in motion?
--

Roger Shoaf

About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
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It might be fun, but you don't want a pissed-off police chief on yer ass if it's gonna end right there.
It might also be fun to ask him if the media would be interested in the story, including names and details.
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Interesting idea, but I feel that if the story were to be made brief enough for the press, the story would get spun in a way that would be unfair or misleading. There is far too much of that nonsense, and since the facts are not particularly sensational I doubt the press would take much notice.
On the other hand, one idea I am toying with is to rattle the cage of the beast the civil service fears the most, i.e..e. the bean counter. It is my observation that each little fiefdom of entrenched bureaucracy spends much of its time fending off and/or kissing up to these strange creatures. The problem with this plan is the bean counters might not react in a good way. For instance if I were to successfully scare them into action, it might be that the bean counter might press the chief to step enforcement of trivial parking violations in order to build up the war chest to pay claims that may come into existence from department screwi-ups.
Hard to predict outcome sometimes.
--
Roger Shoaf

If knowledge is power, and power corrupts, what does this say about the
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Roger Shoaf wrote:

How about another version of ' Alice's Restaurant'. Rogers Banking Excursion.
John
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Funny you should mention this song. remember the part about the color 8 X10 glossy pictures with the circles and the arrows and the paragraph on the back of each one?
Well an omitted detail in my story was when I had drawn my letter writing to the court to an end where they had given me a ultimatum, I concluded that I was going to be forced to fight a battle so I went to the court on a fact finding mission. There I inspected the file and one surprise that I found was two digital photographs of the truck parked.
In CA this is a no-no.
Calif. Vehicle Code 40505 provides:
"Whenever any traffic or police officer delivers a notice to appear or notice of violation charging an offense under this code to any person, it shall include all information set forth upon the copy of the notice filed with a magistrate and no traffic or police officer shall set forth on any notice filed with a magistrate or attach thereto or accompany the notice with any written statement giving information or containing allegations which have not been delivered to the person receiving the notice to appear or notice of violation."
They did not supply me with copies of the photo's before they filed the ticket with the court. Sounds to me like a typical case of American blind justice...
--
Roger Shoaf

If knowledge is power, and power corrupts, what does this say about the
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chuckle ........ and don't forget the "8x10 glossy photographs with a paragraph on the back explaining what each one was "............
I went to see "Alice's Restaurant" with a friend the night before he headed out to helicopter school. It was the last time I saw him.
Steve
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<<snip>>

Ummm...no, Roger, you seemed to have missed that little tidbit.
And an interesting tidbit it is, too!

Rule #3...never piss off the gods unless you are abou to move FAR away!
Rule #4...Police chiefs think that they are god
Mike
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Go get em' Roger, and please keep us up to date as time allows.
It shouldn't be all that hard to get hold of the recordings if it they haven't been conveniently 'lost'.
(I have a frustrating issue with LAPD... they like to park in the red zone at the end of my street while eating at the many restaurants available there. The result is an already dangerous intersection converted to treacherous, courtesy of the folks there to make the community safe. I've been going round with them for decades about it... seems like every time I call the station, it's always the 'first they've heard of it'. Makes you wanna drink...)
Erik
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My first thought is how that level of testosterone was reached. Does your company have a bad rep with the cops or city hall or did you stomp bunnies in a previous life? Can you get a copy of the radio traffic?
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My call is that it was not a macho thing, but rather petty bureaucrats doing what petty bureaucrats do.The cop that wrote the ticket is a nice enough guy,but he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I suspect part of the reason he is working in this little hick town is because he could not hire on anywhere else. After my court appearance on april 23rd, I stopped in at the police station and was doing a little bit of scut work like getting copies of the photos they took and asking innicent sounding questions about their procedure and the like. The cop that had written the ticket was right there, and we chatted for almost half an hour.
It appears to me that this guy does not have a clue as to the difference between a parking ticket and a regualr ticket. He used the regular ticket because the parking ticket did not have a check box for the crosswalk charge. Inother words this guy IMO isto be malicious. Ever notice how these kind of folks tend to obtain civil service positions?
Can you get a copy of the radio traffic?

If it still exists I can, some places only keep copies for 30 to 60 days however before they record over the tapes so the traffic from January could be long gone. Of course if it has been destroyed in the ordinary course of business I can have an additional grounds for dismissal as the very evidence that would exonerate me has been destroyed by the same folks that denied me a speedy trial. The proper time to ask for that is after the plea, and before the trial, so I will get a copy if I can and must go to trial. I suspect however that this case is going to die a sudden death next week.
--

Roger Shoaf

About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
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Roger Shoaf wrote:

You are in my prayers, Roger....
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
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This is one of those statements that can be taken different ways.
My first choice would be to think that you are rooting for me, but the second would be that you think I am doomed without divine intervention.:>)
--

__
Roger Shoaf

Important factors in selecting a mate:
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