Saturday, August 22, 2009

I Fought The Law And The Law..... Part 2

Recap. You read Part 1, didn't you? Come on now, it took some effort, so go ahead and read it.
http://whereirome.blogspot.com/2009/08/i-fought-law-and-law.html

In the last episode, our hero was in Court defending himself against all odds. The Prosecutor, his arch nemesis, was Mr Booker. Our hero was accused of speeding in excess of 20 mph over the speed limit allowed by law. GASP! How could this be? Our hero breaking the law? Say it isn't so!

In this Court trial, the Prosecutor presents his case. He calls a witness and questions him. Then the Defendant, that's me, can cross examine his witness. Then the Defendant presents their case, and calls their own witnesses, if there are any. The Prosecutor can cross examine the Defendant's witness(es). Both the Prosecutor and Defendant give final statements, and the Judge issues a verdict. I'm guessing that the usual verdict is GUILTY! LIFE IN PRISON! DUN DUN DUN!

Continued from Part 1..............

The Officer gave his account of what happened that day. "I was traveling South (in the opposite direction as I was) on Highway 93, when my Radar device sounded at the intersection of Highway 93 and (Street name). I made a U-turn, and made a traffic stop, and then issued a citation for violating the "Basic Speed Law" of the State of Nevada."

The Prosecutor questioned the Officer. How was he qualified to judge speed? Does he calibrate his Radar device? What was the speed limit in the area? All questions designed to make me appear GUILTY!

During this questioning, I jotted down notes to ask, so that some of the things the Officer or Prosecutor stated, could be clarified. I only wrote down one note. "Cited 65 mph - 50 mph?"

In my notes were key questions for the Officer, and key points to make while showing the video. It was now up to me to make my case and preserve my clean driving record and to walk out of Court a free man. *Cue Mel Gibson from the movie "Braveheart"* FREEDOM!!!!

Here's how it went.

Me: Officer, Do you have a copy of the ticket?
Officer: Yes, I have it right here.

Me: The City Attorney has said that I was going 20 mph over the speed limit at 65 mph. Didn't you cite me for 50 mph?
Officer: Checks ticket. Yes, I cited you for 50 mph.

Me: So I wasn't going 20 mph over the speed limit, only 5 mph?
Officer: Well actually at 50 mph, you were going 15 mph over the posted speed limit because it was a construction zone, and the speed limit in construction zones is 10 mph below the posted speed limit.

Me: But the construction was being done between 9 pm and 5 am in the morning, there was no construction while I was driving at 11:40 am.

Me: When there is a sign that reads "Slower Traffic Keep Right," what does that usually imply?
Officer: That if you are going slower, you should keep right.

Me: Is there a maximum speed for vehicles towing trailers in the State of Nevada?
Officer: No, we have no such law in Nevada, as they do in California.

Me: *Kinda disappointed* So you know that in California, vehicles towing trailers have a maximum speed limit of 55 mph, even if the speed limit is more for others. So then, a person from California, like me, would believe that that sign was for vehicles towing trailers, and that vehicles that were not towing a trailer could go faster in the other lanes.
Officer: I guess so.

Me: Okay, do you remember the traffic conditions that day? Was it light/heavy? Weather conditions?
Officer: Traffic is light to moderate during that time of day, and the weather was clear.

Me: Is it safe to drive at 65 mph then suddenly slow down to 45 mph? Wouldn't that be dangerous? Maybe cause someone to rear-end me?
Officer: Maybe, if someone was driving behind you.

Me: Officer, are you aware of the case in the Midwest where teenagers removed a "Stop" sign as a prank, and a fatality accident occurred?
Officer: No, I am not.

Me: Well, there was a fatality accident when some teenagers removed a "Stop" sign and two vehicles collided in an intersection. If that happened here, would you cite the driver for running a "Stop" sign?
Officer: No, because there wasn't a "Stop" sign.

Me: Okay. Well I have a video showing that there were no speed limit signs where I was driving until I was well in to the Boulder City City limits. I took this video right after I was given the ticket. I called the Court house and they told me that you were able to play a DVD here, so I recorded it for you on this disc.

Also, I'd like to show you this picture of the "Boulder City City Limit" sign with 2 signs, one before, and one after, that were NOT there at the time I was cited, as you will see in the video. The one before reads "45 MPH Speed Zone Ahead," and the other is a "45 mph Speed Limit" sign.

The Bailiff takes my picture and shows it to the City attorney, and then gives it to the Judge. He then takes my disc and plays it.

I explain that the video starts where I was driving from Lake Mead, and making a right turn onto the Highway, and continues to where I was eventually pulled over. As the video plays, I make comments. There's one of the "Slower Traffic Keep Right" signs. There's the "Construction 9 pm to 5 am" sign. No speed limit signs yet......... There's the "Boulder City City Limit" sign, without the 2 new signs. We come to the first intersection.

Judge: *To the Officer* That's (Street name) where you say you caught him speeding?
Officer: Yes.

Incidentally, there were concrete barriers that prevented anyone from driving on the shoulder of the Highway. I believe this was there to protect the construction crews when they were working on the Highway during the night. The only openings where one could pull over, were by the intersections.

Another intersection passes during the video, still with no speed limit signs. As we come towards the end of the video, I say, "The next intersection is where I was pulled over. I could not do it before, because of the barriers. And as you can see, there at the last intersection is where the speed limit sign is, well after I entered the City limits. This last part just shows me stopped with the Police car behind me."

For final statements the Prosecutor stated that the reason I was cited at 50 mph instead of 65 mph, was that the fines would be less, and that the City of Boulder was a City that was generous to people. I have to agree with some of that. My dealings with the Officer was fair, the Judge seemed fair. Only the City Attorney, Mr Booker seemed unfair, as I wrote about in my original Blog about this.

I gave my statement. "I am XX years old. I am a Firefighter and Paramedic for the City of Los Angeles. We are the 3rd busiest Fire Dept in the Nation. I drive an ambulance, normally and during emergencies thousands of times. I have no tickets or accidents for over 20 years. I am a safe driver. There was a Jeep Cherokee in front of me while I was driving. I was driving with the flow of traffic when I was stopped. I may have been speeding, I don't look at my speedometer all the time, mostly I drive with the flow of traffic. I was driving safely. I don't think it is fair to cite someone for speeding when there were no speed limit signs. I don't blame the Officer for citing me, someone dropped the ball and did not place speed limit signs. There should be speed limit signs in the area before the City limits. Whoever is responsible for that area should place signs. I don't know what I deserve, I just want it to be fair, that's all."

Judge: Well, you were cited for violating the "Basic Speed Law," which is going at least 1 mph over the posted speed limit. But the speed limit was not posted. Can I keep this video?
Me: Sure.

Judge: Can I keep this picture?
Me: Sure.

Me: You know Judge, there are a lot of signs stating "Reduced Speed Ahead" coming from Las Vegas to Boulder City. There should be some from the direction I was going too.

Judge: Okay. I'll look over the video more closely and issue a verdict by mail.
Me: So, what do I do now?

Judge: Just wait, and you'll receive something in the mail.
Me: Okay, so we're done? I can leave?

Judge: Yes, you may go.

I leave the Court room, and I'm out the door. I'm about 25 yards away when the Bailiff calls for me.

Bailiff: HEY!
Me: YES?

Bailiff: The Judge wants you back.
Me: *Walking briskly back* What does he want?

Bailiff: The Judge wants to see you. Good job.
Me: Um, Thank you?

Back in Court again.

Judge: The City Attorney has decided to make my job easier and dismiss the case against you. You are dismissed.
Me: Thank you!

Now here's the kicker. I quickly thought about what to do next. I turned to the City Attorney and offered my hand and I said, "Thank you."

The City Attorney, reluctantly shook my hand. He looked defeated.

So, I fought the Law, and the Law...... Won. Why? The law is that I must be going faster than the POSTED speed limit. The law was right, I wasn't doing that.

The final tally. If the City Attorney was not being pig-headed back when we had a settlement talk, he could have dismissed the case right then. But his Ego was bruised. I was not going to submit to his pressure, or be a "good boy."

Yes, I probably spent more money fighting this ticket than the original fine. Hotels, food, gas, gambling money, Strip clubs, Lap dances, Hookers....... Um, er, disregard the last three.....

But that does not include how much my insurance rates would have gone up for 3-7 years until the points against me was erased. And what if I receive another legitimate ticket after that? Everyone bends or breaks traffic laws, on purpose or by accident. Cars are very smooth now, and anyone can easily drive too fast without realizing it.

I also had 3 trips to Las Vegas that were not planned. Extra forced mini-vacations. I really needed that. Thank you City of Boulder. The only thing that would have made this real life story better, is if I won a huge Jackpot at a Slot machine with the last dollar in my pocket.

Oh well, who cares about any of that. I won. Did you hear me Mr Booker? I WON!

I forgot. My apologies to Mr Anonymous. You could be Ms Anonymous. I didn't mean to offend you if you are a woman. And I didn't discount your good advice. I really felt that my video was the key and all I would need to win. Thank you too.

8 comments:

megan said...

HOORAY!

Good story. Congratulations - I'm proud of you!

Ninja said...

*Pats self on back, hugs Megan.*

gail said...

Dynamite!! I'm so glad that I took the time to print it out, have it bound, and carry it into the bathroom where I do most of my reading. :)

Seriously.. job well done!!!

Ninja said...

Just don't flush it!

Anonymous said...

Yay! Congratulations! No offense taken.

More options for your arguments are always better that less. I agree, your video was the most convincing evidence for your case. It's good to hear your story also, as it has provided me with insights on how to argue false citations in the future.

Best regards,
Mr. Anon.

Ninja said...

One key is not to argue and be courteous. If they like you, they may give you some leeway.

Vice Girl said...

nice job! i'm so proud of you. maybe you should have a second career as a lawyer. :)

Ninja said...

A Lawyer? Oh no. Then I would have to read...