Friday, February 27, 2009

Gleno v. The Man

Wednesday morning I dragged my sick self out of bed and staggered into Quincy District Court to fight a traffic ticket. This was my second trip there; having attempted to have the ticket rescinded once already, I decided I'd go for the appeal.

I don't think I blogged this, but back in January, whilest commuting into the office, I found myself sitting at a light, three cars back. When the light turned green, the first car went. The second one started to go, then stopped. Not being by nature a particularly patient fellow, I managed to hold off a few seconds before honking my horn as if to say, "Hey! Whatsamatta for you?" At length she looked up, and started to go. I started to go as well. As we were going through, the light turned yellow. As I passed under the yellow light I found a veritable rainbow of other brightly colored lights flashing behind me.

I pulled over.

In short order Officer Friendly was at my door inquiring about my day, making small talk about the weather, and asking if there might possibly be any service he could perform for me, a valued citizen of the Commonwealth.

Actually, no.

Instead, I found myself facing a rather pissed off cop who had little interest in anything I had to say and who promptly wrote me a ticket. He said he was right behind me, though somehow he didn't see the person sitting at the green light for 30 seconds. In his sullen rage, I managed to extract one important piece of information from him: I asked him if the light was red. His answer? "No. But I don't care, you could have stopped."

"Could have stopped?" How about "could have gone!" I already sat through the light once!

He handed me a $100 ticket. Now, remember, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, that $100 is just the start. Your auto insurance goes up every month for the next six years. Oh, by the way price of auto insurance is one of the highest in the country. It's set by the Commonwealth so there is no shopping around for a better deal. There is no Geico here in Mass.
So, as you can tell, this quickly became a sort of "V for Vendetta" sort of a mission for me.

I got to work, flipped over to the back of the ticket and checked off the box labeled ""I request a hearing" (though I really wanted to check the "You bastards will never take me alive" box). I popped the ticket into an envelope, and waited.

A few weeks later, I was in Quincy District Court before a clerk or a magistrate or some other fat slovenly decrepit bureaucrat who should have taken the last round of retirement offers but instead decided to cling onto the public trough for yet another four more years in hopes of getting another 2% of his salary in his retirement package.

But I digress.

I gave him my story, making it clear that Officer Friendly had himself stated the light was not red.

"Cops don't give tickets for yellow lights."

"I know that. That's why I'm here. That's why I request it be rescinded."

"Cops don't give tickets for yellow lights."

Fine, you want to call me a liar, let's go to the mattresses. He told me I could pay right then and there or I could go before a judge on appeal. I took the appeal.

So there I was, Wednesday morning at a quarter of ten sitting on the Group W bench with all sort of mean, nasty, ugly looking people who were there for all sorts of mean, nasty, ugly crimes. There were litterers... father killers... mother rapers... father rapers... In all seriousness, there was this one 20 year old live-at-home kid there who had apparently taken a crowbar to his father's car and had spent a few nights cooling his heels in the Big House.

So I'm there on the Group W bench sweating it out, wondering what I'm going to say to win this thing when the clerk at the front of the room starts announcing names and asking if that person is there. For each name he calls out, the Perp responds. Then, as a sort of echo, a police officer who was there at the scene of the crime sounds off as well. But when he calls my name, there's no cop. Officer Friendly hadn't shown up. He waited twenty minutes and announced my name a second time. Still no Officer Friendly.

"The officer has not appeared today. Therefore, you are found 'Not responsible.'"

No two words have brought me more happiness in quite a long time. "Not responsible." It's a far cry from "Innocent", heck, it's even more insulting than "Guilty", but I'll take it.

Maybe I'll show this state just how Not Responsible I can be.




AsterixChaos said...

HUZZAH! That, I think, just made my day. Officer Friendly KNEW that his argument wouldn't hold water, KNEW that he was in the wrong, and did the right thing by sticking his tail between his legs and hiding under the kitchen table.

Conga rats in multitudes, my friend.

mathguyone said...

A yellow light means that you should stop if safe to do so. You could have stopped, but decided not to. That makes you guilty. Your failure to pay the fine that you were given means that my State will have less money to accomplish tasks. How do you sleep at night?

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, appealing is a good bet when it comes to these things, if you can take the time, because generally the cops cant or wont. I'm glad you won, but I sympathize with you. I bet the ONLY reason he pulled you over is because you beeped your horn.
I raise my coffee cup to you!

Platincu: the sound that a single drop of urine makes in an empty bed pan.

Gleno said...

Dear Mathguy:

I was already in the intersection when the light changed. And I'll bet that CC is right about me being pulled over for honking.

As for you, you mindless drone of the socialist state, my sleep is now peaceful since I've fought and beaten City Hall. May you and your entitlements whither.

!Viva la revulocion!

[buinges: The knots liberals get in their knickers when a true patriot wins a battle against The Man.]

Anonymous said...

I heard this from a contractor today. While driving back at 2am from checking out a plowing job, this guy stops at a stop light. The light changes and he goes. Then the blue lights start flashing behind him. He pulls over and the cop pulls along side him and rolls down the window. The cop recognizes the contractor, and says 'Oh no problem' and the contractor asks why he was pulling him over, what had he done? The cop tells him he "pulled away at the green light pretty fast". Now, are you telling me that 'jackrabbit starts' are a criminal offense in Massachusetts?
The good part of this story is that the cop sleeps at the contractors yard, and the contractor used to wake him so that he'd make it in for roll call. Guess what? Not anymore. Fight the power!