Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A grave miscarriage of justice was righted today...

My traffic ticket was vacated.

I know you were probably expecting something along the line of I cured poverty or disease or something. Nope... just got my ticket reversed. But you've got to celebrate the small victories. Hey I waited in traffic court for about 90 minutes before my case was called in order to get my $357 fine back... small victory indeed.

If you don't recall my ticket or the rants that it produced here, I got it for allegedly running a red light ($357. For allegedly running a red light? Is that cruel and unusual to anyone?). But I maintain that I did not, in fact, run any red light, and I came to court with what I thought was a pretty damned good argument.

First, the light changed yellow as I entered the crosswalk. You ought to know I was in one of two dedicated left turn lanes that has a turn signal assigned to it, so I wasn't exactly zipping along at 30 miles an hour. Still I was past the point of no return; I couldn't safely stop my car to prevent myself from continuing into the intersection. Even if I had gone into a full panic stop, my momentum would have carried me into the intersection.

Second, as I mentioned above there are two dedicated turn lanes, and I was in the one furthest to the left. I proceeded into the intersection at the same time as another car. I of course mentioned this to the officer after he pulled me over and he said she was slightly ahead a me. Please... He had every oppurtunity to pull either of us, or even both of us over, due to heavy traffic conditions, but he chose to pull me over. I hate to speculate, but was I pulled over becuase I'm a young white male, as opposed to the 45 year old soccer mom in her SUV? Profiling? Perish the thought...

Third, from where the motorcycle officers sit to stake out this intersection they have almost no view of the traffic signal. I've got the pictures to prove it. They sit some 20 yards back from the intersection on the sidewalk. From his vantage point he watched me make my left, proceeding the the direction opposite to the one he's facing. These pictures were taken at the same time of day and show even on the max zoom on my camera (10x digital), you can't make out what color the signal is. When I downloaded the pictures and further magnified them to 400% I could begin to make out the color, but it's not something obviously apparent to the naked eye.

Those were my main arguements and evidence.

Too bad the officer didn't show up so I could argue them.

As I'm sure most of you know, if the officer doesn't show up to the court date, the ticket is automatically thrown out. The funny thing was the officer was actually in court this morning. He testified for another ticket; some 18 year old girl who got nailed for rolling through a stop sign. The first thing I looked for when I walked into court was the officer. I recognized him immediately, and when I saw he was in court, my heart immediately sank, knowing that it wouldn't just get automatically thrown out. But after the girl's ticket was upheld, the officer left. 3 or 4 cases later my name was called and the citation was vacated because the officer was not present... almost like he knew the ticket was bogus...

... and justice prevailed. What a great system.