Tuesday, August 24, 2010

L "The Ticket" Part VII

ATTENTION READERS: WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ IS A CONTINUATION OF AN EXISTING STORY. FOR THOSE UNFAMILIAR, I WOULD SUGGEST YOU START AT THE BEGINNING

OR PREVIOUS POSTS:
PART VI
PART V
PART IV
PART III
PART II






In the weeks leading up to my hearing date I hashed out a statement to read for the court, just like I did for my first flag ticket. Again, it’s the best way to come across clear and concise while in front of the Judge. In addition to that, I prepared a list of questions that I planned on asking Officer Hinkle. Considering our version of the events differed so greatly, it seemed obvious the need to illustrate the inconsistencies of the officer’s testimony for the court by simply asking him a few pointed questions while he’s under oath. If you studied my version of the event, and Officer Hinkle’s report carefully, you would have found that there were actually quite a few discrepancies between our stories. In truth, I was as shocked as I was excited when I first read the report. In going over it with a fine toothed comb, the number of errors that existed was more than enough to raise ample doubt around the officer’s testimony, regardless of what his motives where in making them.

In that vein I sent two different emails to my passenger. He was gracious enough to offer it to me as a means of substantiating my testimony regarding the traffic, and he seemed genuine in his concern. All four of them did. Unfortunately however, and to no surprise to me, I never received any response to those inquiries. If I could have walked into court with a signed and notarized statement from an independent party, verifying the fact that there was no traffic at that place and time, well that would have been a real hum-dinger. Even worse, all I had to do was activate my cab's camera and that footage would have served the same purpose, even more effectively. In hindsight however, what I really should have done was never made any mention of traffic, or anything at the time to the Officer Hinkle wrote me the ticket. As you may have already noticed, the Officer went to great lengths to attempt to demonstrate the existence of traffic, both on the citations itself, and on his report. Undoubtedly he did so because I gave that to him. Had I said that I understood why he pulled me over and “thanks for the ticket sir” I would have had a much easier path to crawl I believe. Instead, the Officer was very purposeful in creating his testimony in preparation for what he knew already what I was going to say; there was no traffic. As a result of my ego, the trekking was made much more difficult.

I arrived at the TA court on my hearing date a little early and I took a seat in the back of the room. In short time the room was nearly filled with various TA officers preparing to testify, court officials and other cab drivers. Driver reps were trying to their best to assist drivers who were there to get out of tickets. They were of little assistance it seemed and I declined their help. Besides, most of these driver’s biggest problem is the language barrier not insufficient arguments, for undoubtedly they are here for some bullshit as well just like me. Interestingly however, the TA does not allow drivers the luxury of translators for these proceedings. Naturally the TA doesn’t have the money to pay for that but strangely they won’t even allow drivers to hire one for themselves at their own expense. The Authority’s take on this issue is that “drivers are required to speak English as a part of the job”, and this compliance is measured by the 40 question written exam that is only available in English and must be passed before a permit is acquired. Well to that I say, granted. I agree that drivers should be made to take the test is English only, after all, the road signs themselves, and map books for that matter are in English. However in my opinion, being able to complete a fairly simple multiple choice exam, that you will have an infinite amount of attempts to complete successfully, is light years away linguistically speaking from effectively representing yourself in court. But that’s another story for another time.

Just like in the Municipal & Justice courts, the ADA, or prosecuting equivalent, will have a little chat with you prior to your hearing to see if the two of you can work out a little deal and “get you out of there today“. As we have already learned from our Municipal Court endeavor, the harder they try to strike a deal with you the weaker their case is. I sat in my seat in the back of the room, reading my papers in silence waiting for my name to be called.

In short time, I heard my name and I made my way to the desk to the left of the bench to have a chat with Investigator, and acting Prosecutor, Natalie Infurno. It has been my experience that the State's Prosecutor for the TaxiCab Authority hearings rarely has a law degree but rather is a person higher up in the Administration itself. Ms. Infurno was not dressed in a suit but rather in a standard TaxiCab Authority Officer’s uniform.

“Is that you Mr. Andrew Funk?”

“Yes Ma’am,” I said and followed her silent direction to sit down.

“You are here for NRS 706.8845-9 interfering with traffic while loading is that correct.”

“That sounds correct Ma’am.”

“The Officer is here today and is prepared to testify against you. I looked at your record and the TA is prepared to reduce your penalty to $60 if you’ll plead guilty to the charge today.“

“That’s ok Ma’am, I do not wish to change my plea at this time.”

“You read the Officer’s report didn’t you?”

“I did.”

“And you still wish to plead not guilty?”

“That is correct Ma’am”

“Ok you can go take your seat again, just wait for your name to be called ok?”

“Very well thank you Ma’am,” I said and returned to my seat.

Shortly thereafter everyone in the room stood up as the Judge made her way to the bench. The Honorable Judge Ann Elworth Winner, would reside over the hearings today. In no time at all Gina Wilk, Compliance Officer and acting bailiff, announced the first hearing on the agenda and away we went. I put down my papers so I could focus attention on Judge Winner to see how she behaved towards the other drivers. After a handful of cases, about half of which she ruled in favor of the driver, I was very pleased by her demeanor and she seemed to be a reasonable Judge and more than open to the driver’s explanations of their alleged violations. But no sooner than I was starting to feel rather good about my chances, I noticed to my right the courtroom doors open and who walks in was no other than Gordon Walker himself. The TaxiCab Authority Administrator. The big boss. The head-honcho. The proceedings were not noticeably interrupted by his entrance but I was certainly distracted when after perusing briefly for a seat, he decided on one that was just one seat away from me. I had been to a few of these hearings before and this was the first time I had ever seen the Administrator in attendance. In fact, this was the first time I had ever seen him in person. I suppose I should have been excited to have the opportunity for the Administrator himself to hear what I was about to say, after all I had put a quite of bit of time into it, but his sitting down next to me did not make me excited at all. It made me nervous. The plan was to stand up in open court, go on the record and call Officer Hinkle a liar, and I was finding it difficult to gauge how exactly that was going to be received.

“Andrew Funk, event number 091004-003 come forward please,” Bailiff Wilk announced.

I made my way to the front of the room, manila folder in-tow and took a seat at the desk on the right hand side facing the bench. Prosecutor Infurno and TA Officer Kevin Hinkle occupied the desk to my left. I opened my folder and situated my papers in order on the desk, prepared my pen for note taking. Judge Winner initiated the preceding:

JUDGE WINNER: Good morning, so you’re here on a charge of interfering with traffic when loading, is that correct?

MR. FUNK: That’s correct your Honor.

JUDGE WINNER: And you’re pleading not guilty to that charge?

MR. FUNK: That is correct your Honor.

JUDGE WINNER: Any questions on the procedure we follow for trial sir?

MR. FUNK: None at this time your Honor

JUDGE WINNER: Are you going to testify today sir?

MR. FUNK: Yes your Honor.

JUDGE WINNER: Bailiff?

BAILIFF WILK: Mr. Funk please rise, and will you raise your right hand. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

MR. FUNK: Yes I do.

BAILIFF WILK: You may be seated.

JUDGE WINNER: The State may proceed, Natalie?

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: Officer, can you please state your name and occupation for the record?

OFFICER HINKLE: Kevin Hinkle, investigator, State of Nevada TaxiCab Authority.

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: Were you so employed on October the 4th at 25 after 12?

OFFICER HINKLE: Yes I was.

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: And at that time you came into contact with the respondent?

OFFICER HINKLE: Yes I did.

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: Can you point to him and identify him for the court?

OFFICER HINKLE: He’s sitting to the right of you in a black stripe shirt and black pants.

JUDGE WINNER: The record will reflect that the witness has identified the respondent.

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: Would you please relay to the court what occurred on the night leading up to the issuance of the citation?

OFFICER HINKLE: I was downtown conducting traffic enforcement. I was parked in a lot directly across from Fremont or Las Vegas Boulevard at Fremont Street. I was facing in a westbound direction. I was monitoring cabs coming southbound on the Boulevard stopping in a red-restricted fire zone and loading. At that time I had observed the (Cab Co. name omitted) cab coming eastbound on Ogden and turning southbound on the Boulevard. As he approached the intersection he was talking on his cell phone. He was driving very slowly. It appeared he was looking at people walking by. Four individuals flagged him down, he stopped on a green light in the intersection, loaded those four people. There was one car and 2 motorcycles behind him while he was loading. They had to wait or go around him. It was also bike week that week, so it was very crowded downtown. He engaged his meter, continued southbound on the Boulevard when I conducted the traffic stop.

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: I have no questions your Honor.

JUDGE WINNER: Any questions for the officer Mr. Funk?

DRIVER FUNK: I do your Honor. Officer Hinkle, how long have you been with the Nevada Taxicab Authority?

OFFICER HINKLE: I believe it’s 14 months.

DRIVER FUNK: And how long were you a cab driver before you started working for the TA?

OFFICER HINKLE: Never.

DRIVER FUNK: Throughout your tenure with the TA, have you ever been required to wear corrective lenses?

OFFICER HINKLE: No.

DRIVER FUNK: Are you required to wear corrective lenses for any reason personal or professional?

OFFICER HINKLE: No.

DRIVER FUNK: Officer Hinkle, how many citations would you say you issue on an average shift?

OFFCER HINKLE: I have no idea.

DRIVER FUNK: Your best guess please.

OFFICER HINKLE: I wouldn’t guess.

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: Your Honor, I would object for relevance.

JUDGE WINNER: He’s already…it’s relevant. Go ahead.

DRIVER FUNK: Officer Hinkle how much time would you say generally elapses from the time when you issue the citation until the time you write your investigators report?

OFFICER HINKLE: It all depends on what’s going on in my shift.

DRIVER FUNK: Do you recall how much time elapsed on this one here?

OFFICER HINKLE: I don’t.

DRIVER FUNK: You don’t remember?

OFFICER HINKLE: No.

DRIVER FUNK: So it could have been a considerable amount of time?

OFFICER HINKLE: I don’t know.

DRIVER FUNK: Is it possible that you may have confused, misconstrued or simply not remembered some of the facts of the event correctly, due to the time difference between you writing the ticket and writing your report?

OFFICER HINKLE: I didn’t.

JUDGE WINNER: That’s not possible?

OFFICER HINKLE: Of course it’s possible.

DRIVER FUNK: Officer, is it your understanding that the use of a cell phone while driving is prohibited in the State of Nevada?

OFFICER HINKLE: No.

DRIVER FUNK: Have you ever used your cell phone while driving?

OFFICER HINKLE: Yes.

DRIVER FUNK: Can you think of any logical reason why it would be impossible for a driver talking on his or her cell phone to look in their rear view mirror?

OFFICER HINKLE: No.

DRIVER FUNK: And while you’re driving and talking on your cell phone, are you able to periodically monitor your rear view mirror without any difficulties?

OFFICER HINKLE: Yes.

DRIVER FUNK: Officer Hinkle, you testified that prior to my loading you witnessed me turning right onto southbound Las Vegas Boulevard from eastbound Ogden? Is that what you remember?

OFFICER HINKLE: Yes.

DRIVER FUNK: The fact is that I had actually just came off of the southbound US95 not Ogden and…

JUDGE WINNER: Okay Sir, you don’t get to testify now, you only get to ask him questions.

DRIVER FUNK: Yes of course, my apologies your Honor.

JUDGE WINNER: No problem.

DRIVER FUNK: You said before that you didn’t remember how much time elapsed from the time you issued the citation until the time you wrote your investigator’s report, isn’t it possible that you may also not remember which cab you observed turning onto the Boulevard from Ogden?

OFFICER HINKLE: No I’m sure it was your cab.

DRIVER FUNK: You’re sure it was me that you pulled over, but are you certain that was me turning off of Ogden? That couldn’t have been another cab?

OFFICER HINKLE: I’m sure it was you.

DRIVER FUNK: I see, Officer you stated to me at the scene that there were 2 cars behind me when I loaded, is that what you observed?

OFFICER HINKLE: That’s not what I said.

DRIVER FUNK: I’m sorry?

OFFICER HINKLE: That’s not what I said.

DRIVER FUNK: I’m sorry, what did you say?

OFFICER HINKLE: I said that there was one car and 2 motorcycles.

DRIVER FUNK: One car and 2 motorcycles? When you stated to me at the scene that there were 2 cars behind me, one of my four passengers interjected and said that there wasn’t any traffic behind me, was there a reason for omitting that independent witnesses statement from your report?

OFFICER HINKLE: I don’t recall any witnesses asking me any questions.

DRIVER FUNK: Officer, you stated on the citation as well as in your report that you witnessed me loading 4 passengers in the #3 lane on Las Vegas Boulevard is that correct?

OFFICER HINKLE: That’s correct.

DRIVER FUNK: Correct me if I’m wrong you’re Honor, I believe the standard protocol with regards to numbering lanes is that you start at the median or yellow line, and work your way to the right towards the curb or white line. The fast lane is the number 1 lane?

JUDGE WINNER: No, I believe that’s incorrect

DRIVER FUNK: Okay, can I ask what the protocol for numbering lanes is?

JUDGE WINNER: It starts at the curb and moves inward.

DRIVER FUNK: From the curb and moves inward? So if there was three lanes the number 3 lane would be the far left lane?

JUDGE WINNER: It depends on what direction you’re traveling, the number 1 lane would be the outermost lane of travel in that direction.

DRIVER FUNK: So…

JUDGE WINNER: It would be the number 1 southbound lane, the far right lane of travel at this particular location, it would be the 3rd lane.

DRIVER FUNK: So the lane to the left would be…

JUDGE WINNER: Number 2 lane, yes.

DRIVER FUNK: And the fast lane or far left lane would be the number 3 lane?

JUDGE WINNER: Correct, but I believe his testimony is that you were in the far right, but I could be mistaken.

DRIVER FUNK: Right. So if we were using the protocol than there would be a discrepancy between that and the officer’s testimony then…

JUDGE WINNER: It depends on…there’s no standard way of doing it. Different people do it different ways. Actually, NHP does it differently than Metro if I’m not mistaken so…I prefer to use the designation of the far right or curb lane, the center lane, or left lane myself so nobody has an issue.

DRIVER FUNK: If it’s all the same your Honor I’d prefer to use the Officer’s method.

JUDGE WINNER: That’s fine. Ask him questions, that’s fine.

DRIVER FUNK: Ok Officer let’s clear this up, you said that I loaded in the number 3 lane; where you counting from the median out to the right or the curb into the left to the median?

OFFICER HINKLE: From the median to the right.

DRIVER FUNK: Median to the right, so you have that there are three lanes and the number 3 lane is the far right lane correct?

OFFICER HINKLE: Right. Curb.

DRIVER FUNK: The problem I have with the citation and your report for that matter is there’s only two lanes of travel on Las Vegas Boulevard at that intersection.

JUDGE WINNER: Sir, you’re testifying, you’re not asking him questions.

DRIVER FUNK: Sorry. Officer Hinkle, how is it possible that you witnessed me loading in the number 3 lane when there are only two lanes of travel at that intersection?

OFFICER HINKLE: You’re incorrect, there’s 3.

DRIVER FUNK: There’s 3? Well I’m sure that any of the drivers in this room would gladly confirm that there are only two lanes...

JUDGE WINNER: You’ll get your chance sir, but you’re just asking him questions right now.

DRIVER FUNK: Sorry your Honor. Officer, on every citation there is a area where you are required to indicated the weather conditions, road conditions and traffic conditions at the place and time that the alleged events occurred, what options do you have at your disposal as far as entries for the traffic conditions column are concerned?

OFFICER HIINKLE: I didn’t catch the last part of your question.

DRIVER FUNK: What options do you have at your disposal as far as entries into the traffic conditions column on a citation?

OFFICER HINKLE: All depends on traffic, light, light to moderate, moderate moderate, heavy heavy.

DRIVER FUNK: I noticed on my citation that you indicated that traffic was heavy, can you describe for the court what, in your opinion, constitutes heavy traffic?

OFFICER HINKLE: It was bike week, extremely heavy traffic, bike week, cabs buses. A lot more people downtown than usual.

DRIVER FUNK: Generally speaking, what would constitute a moniker of heavy?

OFFICER HINKLE: Ya know, I’m not a traffic administrator so I really couldn’t tell you.

DRIVER FUNK: Would you say that, if I understood your testimony, that there was one vehicle and two motorcycles. In your opinion 3 vehicles constitutes heavy traffic?

OFFICER HINKLE: We’re talking in relation to you stopping and interrupting the normal flow of traffic. It wouldn’t really matter if it was heavy, light, or medium, if there are vehicles behind you because you’re stopping in traffic…

JUDGE WINNER: Just answer the question- do you consider 3 vehicles to be heavy traffic?

OFFICER HINKLE: No.

DRIVER FUNK: That completes my questions your Honor.

JUDGE WINNER: Any redirect?

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: I have one question. Going through the lanes of travel by numbers, what lane did you observe the respondent loading?

OFFICER HINKLE: The curb lane.

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: Curb lane. And question is risen on how many lanes of traffic, did you explain how many actual lanes of traffic there is?

OFFICER HINKLE: There’s actually 4 lanes- 2 southbound and 2 northbound.

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: But on one side it’s 2.

OFFICER HINKLE: Right.

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: I have no further questions, your Honor.

JUDGE WINNER: That brings a question to mind then. How do you get that the curb lane as #3 if there are 2 lanes in each direction?

OFFICER HINKLE: Yeah, I made a typo.

JUDGE WINNER: There’s no turn lane there at that intersection?

OFFICER HINKLE: There is.

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: There is and that’s being counted as the…

JUDGE WINNER: Natalie, you’re not testifying.

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: Sorry.

JUDGE WINNER: So there’s a left turn lane and 2 through lanes for southbound traffic?

OFFICER HINKLE: I believe so yes Ma’am.

JUDGE WINNER: Thank you. Your turn Mr Funk.

DRIVER FUNK: Your Honor I believe the left turn lane would be classified as such, never as the number 1 lane.

JUDGE WINNER: Sir, it’s your time to testify, go ahead.

DRIVER FUNK: Your honor, the Nevada Revised Statute 706.8845-9 that I was cited for violating says- While a driver is on duty, he shall not load or unload passengers or luggage at an intersection or crosswalk or at any place or in any manner that will interfere with the orderly flow of traffic.

In my opinion this language is very clear. In order to violate the second part of this particular statute, there must first be traffic present. Without any traffic at that time and place to actually interfere, by definition a violation cannot occur. It says, "that will impede traffic". The term will is a positive. Will is a definite, not an if. Will is an absolute not a hypothetical. Will is an actual, not a probable, a likely or a presumed. Thus, this entire proceeding hinges on the matter of the presence of traffic. Interestingly, Officer Hinkle agrees with my interpretation of this language. I know this because he knowingly falsified the citation and his investigators report to make it appear as though there was indeed traffic. An act that I find reprehensible considering his position. But why go to such lengths to document traffic if it’s moot, regardless if there was any or not?

To that matter your Honor, I have little doubt that in the and of themselves, this court will take the Officer’s word over mine, therefore I am left with no other alternative than to illustrate for this court the multiple errors, be them malicious or otherwise, that Officer Hinkle has made throughout this process as a means of demonstrating his observance of traffic is highly doubtful as well.

I, in fact, did not turn onto Las Vegas Boulevard from Ogden as the Officer stated. I had just exited off of southbound US95. The Casino Center exit was closed for repair and I was forced to exit on Las Vegas Boulevard. From there I headed southbound on the Boulevard and caught the green light at Ogden. Public records would corroborate my testimony regarding that ramp’s closure at that time.

I could not have loaded in the number 3 lane as the Officer testified and was certain of because as we’ve established, there are only two lanes of travel at that location. The Officer’s explanation for his error, that it was a typo, is also suspect considering the citation is handwritten and he had already testified aurally to the same.

Without knowing anything else, there is no way a traffic condition label of heavy is justified for that time and place. I’m certain every driver in this room would agree that for all intents and purposes, downtown Las Vegas becomes a ghost town after midnight, especially as of late. His claim in his report that, I could not have known about the supposed traffic, because I was talking on my cell phone is ludicrous. And the Officer himself testified later that he could not think of any reason why somebody on their cell phone would be unable to be aware of any traffic behind them, a clear contradiction. If his explanation were even remotely possible, I’m sure that the State would have banned talking while driving long ago. And naturally, he failed to mention that I ended my call as soon as I loaded and in doing so eliminated all potential for violating any of the cab laws regarding cell phone use as the Officer seems to be implicating.

Furthermore, Officer Hinkle said in his investigators report that I began to argue with him about this issue of traffic. This is also false. The only thing that I did that the Officer could have misconstrued as my arguing was my simple refute that there was indeed no traffic. I understand completely that there is a time and a place to make those arguments and that is why I’m here today. I always give proper respect to Officer’s of the law just as I believe I have shown this court today.

Furthermore your Honor, upon dropping off my passengers at the Palazzo that night, one of the gentlemen made a point of giving me his email address and told me if I was to email him that he would gladly provide a statement that indeed there was no traffic there whatsoever. He knew this because he and his friends had been standing there for some time waiting for a cab to come by. He told me that I was the first vehicle of any kind that they had seen. This is why he interrupted Officer Hinkle at the scene to say that there was no traffic, because he knew otherwise. Ultimately, I did email that man on multiple occasions and requested that he follow through with his promise and provide a statement for the court, not surprisingly he never responded to those inquires. I know that I have no way of proving any of this to you but please understand that ideally I would be here today with a signed and notarized statement from an independent witness reiterating everything that I’ve told you.

In conclusion your Honor, I’m willing to give Officer Hinkle the benefit of the doubt on the bulk of his errors, I’m certain that his job is not easy. However on the matter of the traffic, I have no choice but to view his actions as a purposeful and malicious falsification of a police report, something that I hope that this Court, his department and the State of Nevada would take very seriously. In doing so your Honor, I request that this baseless charge be dismissed.

JUDGE WINNER: Any questions?

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: Yes, I have one. Did you stop in a lane of traffic?

DRIVER FUNK: I did.

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: Would your actions, had there been any, impede traffic?

DRIVER FUNK: There was no traffic.

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: But your actions, had there been, would have impeded traffic in an orderly flow?

DRIVER FUNK: If there was a car directly behind me and I stopped in that, yes that would have been impeding traffic.

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: I have no further questions.

JUDGE WINNER: Mr. Funk I’m going to ask you to come up here and show me where it was that you loaded these passengers please?

DRIVER FUNK: Pretty much where that white truck is, I don’t remember exactly.

JUDGE WINNER: For the record we’re reviewing the satellite image of the intersection that shows a white truck past the…approximately onto the cross walk, would you agree, for east/west pedestrian traffic at the intersection? Is that about right?

DRIVER FUNK: That lane, I do not recall if I was in the intersection or approaching the intersection.

JUDGE WINNER: You said it’s approximately where this vehicle was located?

DRIVER FUNK: Yes.

JUDGE WINNER: Okay. Anything further from either side?

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: No, your Honor, the State rests.

JUDGE WINNER: I’m going to read the statute again because as luck would have it, I have a little bit of training in doing this, so, it reads “not load or unload passengers or luggage at an intersection or crosswalk or at any place or in any manner that will interfere with the orderly flow of traffic”. Doesn’t have to interfere with traffic. Your argument is that if there was no traffic there, the violation is a mistake. There is no requirement. There is a an order in the statute which means that it is a violation to load at in intersection or crosswalk. And it’s your testimony that that’s exactly what you did. So regardless of all the rest of it, it’s a finding of guilt. Is there any background?

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: He has one under the 8849 penalty phase that he waived, paid his fine. State requests 80 dollars.

JUDGE WINNER: So this is a first offense?

PROSECUTOR INFURNO: Yes, your Honor.

JUDGE WINNER: Okay. I’m going to make it 60. You have 30 days to appeal my decision if you wish to do that okay?

DRIVER FUNK: Thank you your Honor.

JUDGE WINNER: Now if you want to file a complaint against the officer, there is a procedure for doing that. I don’t have any jurisdiction over that, I only do citation hearings and citations issued to companies, but there’s a procedure for doing that. You can ask to speak with Officer Henneforth, he’s the day time supervisor if I’m not mistaken. Okay? Thank you.





I couldn’t say I was surprised by the verdict but I was dejected nonetheless. I felt like I made some strong arguments. I thought I pointed out many crucial errors made by the prosecution, which should have raised more than sufficient doubt surrounding the officer’s testimony, but the Judge didn’t seem to care too much about that at all. It really should have been enough. I’ve gotten tickets dismissed with far weaker arguments that‘s for sure. Even more odd, it seemed like we were steamrolling in one direction that whole time and then right at the end we did a 180. I wasn’t ready for that. I was good for 14 minutes and 30 seconds and then that last half minute was a whirlwind and threw me for a loop.

I gathered my papers, placed them back in their manila folder and made my way out of the courtroom. I made eye contact with no one even though it seemed that dozens of eyes were staring at me. I didn’t know if those in the courtroom where more surprised or shocked at what I had just said for the record. But none of this matters now, I need a cigarette. Just outside the courtroom stood a man whose name I didn’t know but I recognized from the yard. A Bulgarian that works for my company. I sparked one and took a place nearby.

“Man that was really good man. You’re like a real lawyer or something,” he said to me in his above average English.

“Thanks. Didn’t do us much good though did it? Still lost” I replied.

“That’s ok man, you did really good. Next time I get ticket I come talk to you ok? You help me ok?”

“I can try.”

“You heard the Judge, she say you can appeal it. You going to appeal it?”

“I don’t know man. I don’t know.”

I finished my cigarette and went into the TA office across from the courtroom to pay my $60 fine, knowing they would suspend my permit later that day if I didn’t. I wrote them a check for $60 fulfilling my obligation and walking back to my car a loser, I contemplated the future.

To be continued…PART VIII

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

judges "preside" over hearings, they dont "reside" over them.

keep 'em coming!

Kid Dynamite said...

damn. sorry The Man won - it's always frustrating when you make your case as well as you could have possibly hoped to, and you still get stuffed.

good job sticking up for your rights.

aburtch said...

A bummer you lost, but thank goodness someone is sticking up for the principal of the situation!

Anonymous said...

I'm not an "officer" of the court. But you lost my sympathy when you began to accuse the TA cop of malice. The whole case then took on an "you versus us" tenor. You could question his memory, but you questioned his motive. The judge had no choice at that point, if she dismissed, she would be inditing the officer. A whole new can of worms. But spend more time in court, and you will figure out how the system works. The one with the most facts, documentation, witnesses,and precedence, wins. But , you were very close to dismissal in my opinion had you only questioned the officer's recollection of the violation. If you still feel not guilty, why not take the next step, and appeal the decision. The more resources they have to expend, the closer you are to a dismissal.

Anonymous said...

Good going man! Don't be too hard on yourself. You did good.

Anonymous said...

so, have you thought about being a lawyer? I think you should.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful read. Sorry it didn't work out. I had a speeding ticket dismissed last year and this brought it all back. I was prepared to do everything you did but in the end the prosecutor lied to me outside the courtroom to get me to pay court costs in exchange for the dismissal.

CarmenT said...

One of the anonymous' said that "you lost his/her sympathy when you accused the officer of malice and that the judge was then forced to rule in his favor unless she wanted to "indict" (that is I believe the word he/she used) him.

I say that was NOT a mistake on your part. The officer was a lying sack of crap based on what you have said. I know you said you were in it to win it, so on that level then yes you were wrong but I think the even bigger principle is catching that officer in his lie.

Anyway, I have read the subsequent next one chapter that is where you left off (I came to the site for only the second time today after finding it again after a long absence and read all the chapters up to the one directly after this that is the end so far) and must say I like so many others am anxiously awaiting the conclusion. Also, wishing you the best of luck

Anonymous said...

I think you shot yourself in the foot a few times:

1) Talking about the cop being "malicious" and you hoping that the Court would take his falsification as "a very serious" offense. If you can't prove there was no traffic, falsification doesn't even come into the equation. No proof, either side. Word vs. word. And like you said, cop vs. cabbie. You know who they're going to go with. Act accordingly.

2) Saying how you WOULD be there with a notarized statement from your passenger... if he would have responded to your e-mail. Well, he didn't, so who cares. It just sounds (to the court) like you're grasping at straws on this one.

Finally, maybe I misread the actual original incident, but this is the first we heard of you actually stopping in an intersection (partially, sounds like). Law says you can't stop in the intersection. You did. You're guilty. Sucks, but it's true.

If you would've stopped in the curb lane (not by a fire-hydrant, intersection, etc.) to pick up the passengers, then I think you would have had something.

You were in the intersection? You are guilty as funk.

All in all, very interesting read. Keep 'em comin'.

MrFunkMD said...

"If you can't prove there was no traffic, falsification doesn't even come into the equation. No proof, either side. Word vs. word."

I dont have to prove anything. I don't bear the burden of proof, I only have to create doubt, which is what I was trying to do. And as has already been established, I acknowledged that mistake and apologized for it. This is an example of something that I learned during this process.

"2) Saying how you WOULD be there with a notarized statement from your passenger... if he would have responded to your e-mail. Well, he didn't, so who cares. It just sounds (to the court) like you're grasping at straws on this one."

Again something I learned. I agree with this 100%. If I could do again, I would omit this part. Fwiw, Bishop even told me that i was "coming from weakness" with this argument, but I left it in anyway. Again, let's not forget, I'm not a lawyer.

And I NEVER admitted to loading at an intersection. I did say "pretty much" with regards to the questioning around the map, which somebody else pointed out is an admission of guilt, which I suppose, but I testified specifically that I "did not recall" my exact location. Furthermore, as has been established, that line of questions pertaining to the map should not have been admissible anyway

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