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(Springfield Republican)   Massachusetts Supreme Court justices say there's nothing wrong with charging $319.90 in court fees to dispute a parking ticket. After all, somebody has to pay their salaries   (masslive.com) divider line 80
    More: PSA, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, court costs, Maine Supreme Judicial Court, Northampton, Massachusetts, Massachusetts Attorney General, summary judgment, justices  
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6064 clicks; posted to Main » on 14 Jul 2011 at 10:09 PM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2011-07-15 01:57:01 AM
The last time I got a speeding ticket, I explained what happened to the judge.

Basically, I was going around a corner in the fast lane because I just passed a slow ass driver. I was going to get back over, but someone had passed slow ass driver, came within inches of hitting my rear bumper so they could speed around me, then floored it. As we came around the corner, we saw the cop. He locked up his brakes and was suddenly blocked from view of the police officer's car. Since both our cars were black and similar styles, whenever the cop looked up from beating his meat or reading his book or whatever when his radar said 'speeder!' he saw my car, with the actual guy's car mostly out of view. I was doing about 60mph in a 55mph zone, the other guy was going about 75 or so when we saw the cop.

So my ticket was for 74 in a 55. The judge told me my story was bullshiat and that he was suspending my license unless I paid it that day, NEXT! So I had my like $400 speeding ticket plus $100 for court costs plus $50 or so for some kind of bullshiat paperwork fee. If I had a lawyer I would have had a little more power, but I was young and naive. Also saw someone get held in contempt for arguing with the judge about his ticket he received for having expired tags, even though he had brought proof that he purchased them before he received the ticket and that the police officer that ticketed him wasn't there that day.
 
2011-07-15 03:18:24 AM

Pancoaifo: Sobered up and dumped the psycho and now I'm just mortified at the opinions that come out of the 1st circuit. New England seems to want a pound of flesh every time you make a bureaucrat pick up a pencil.

If I ever head back to the northeast, I'm starting the trip with a fifth of high test vodka...


This wasn't 1st circuit though, this was the state supreme court. He could appeal to Federal, but he'd have to show that his 4th amendment rights were violated, which is an ugly uphill battle that even the best lawyers don't want to take, let alone a pro se defendant. Agreed with the sentiment though.

Get Lost: So..... If you are found guilty, you have to pay the court fee's? Whats wrong with that? They both parked illegally and challenged the ticket, and lost.

Or is it, any filing to challenge a ticket and you still have to pay court costs, as that would definitely be illegal.
Any ticket that a person gets needs to be able to be challenged in court. Otherwise it is denying a persons Right to a fair trial(disputing the ticket).
Challenge a ticket and pay court costs and then sue the city for the fee's that you need to recover for losing a couple hundred on a bogus 10 buck ticket.


Not illegal according to the Supreme Judicial Court, and they have final authority over all state and municipal laws, other than Constitutional violations. The suing is exactly what this guy did, which obviously didn't work. All states to my knowledge have made parking tickets a civil, not criminal, offense, therefore they can lay out any process - and most of them do end up being rubber stamps with difficult appeals that charge as much or more money than the original ticket in filing costs. MA is an outlier, but not an exception.

Some states even changed revenue-generating traffic offenses to civil, like speeding and other basic bad driving laws, requiring an exorbitant filing fee to even contest: Michigan, Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, off the top of my head.

Illinois is a weird one, lots of people say that they're required to pay court fees when pleading not guilty, even if they win, even though the law is that they're only due on conviction. My guess is corruption, and lots of it.
 
2011-07-15 04:15:39 AM
You know, it would be a lot easier to be poor or middle class if, for example, wealthy people had to pay income-proportionate fines for when they fark up.

A minor speeding violation if you're making under $50k? How about $25?
If you make over $500k? How about $2,500?
 
2011-07-15 04:18:30 AM

foxyshadis: Pancoaifo: Sobered up and dumped the psycho and now I'm just mortified at the opinions that come out of the 1st circuit. New England seems to want a pound of flesh every time you make a bureaucrat pick up a pencil.

If I ever head back to the northeast, I'm starting the trip with a fifth of high test vodka...

This wasn't 1st circuit though, this was the state supreme court. He could appeal to Federal, but he'd have to show that his 4th amendment rights were violated, which is an ugly uphill battle that even the best lawyers don't want to take, let alone a pro se defendant. Agreed with the sentiment though.

Get Lost: So..... If you are found guilty, you have to pay the court fee's? Whats wrong with that? They both parked illegally and challenged the ticket, and lost.

Or is it, any filing to challenge a ticket and you still have to pay court costs, as that would definitely be illegal.
Any ticket that a person gets needs to be able to be challenged in court. Otherwise it is denying a persons Right to a fair trial(disputing the ticket).
Challenge a ticket and pay court costs and then sue the city for the fee's that you need to recover for losing a couple hundred on a bogus 10 buck ticket.

Not illegal according to the Supreme Judicial Court, and they have final authority over all state and municipal laws, other than Constitutional violations. The suing is exactly what this guy did, which obviously didn't work. All states to my knowledge have made parking tickets a civil, not criminal, offense, therefore they can lay out any process - and most of them do end up being rubber stamps with difficult appeals that charge as much or more money than the original ticket in filing costs. MA is an outlier, but not an exception.

Some states even changed revenue-generating traffic offenses to civil, like speeding and other basic bad driving laws, requiring an exorbitant filing fee to even contest: Michigan, Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, off the top of my head.

Illinois is a weird one, lots of people say that they're required to pay court fees when pleading not guilty, even if they win, even though the law is that they're only due on conviction. My guess is corruption, and lots of it.


Heh, I was just broadbrushing the region and the circuit seemed to be the easiest way. And yeah, the 4th Amend is more exception than protection these days.

What I don't understand is the logic behind a previously due process no-no suddenly becoming acceptable - at the convenience of the state. Which, cleverly, a state court without a higher tier gets to decide.
 
2011-07-15 04:43:41 AM

TheR0CK: Seems many of you read the article but do not understand, he was challenging the FILING FEEs, not court costs. Filing fees had to be paid IN ADVANCE of his appeal. Not after he lost.

So having high filing fees discourages or prohibits those with limited resources appealing any case they feel that was unjustly ruled against them. Possibly being denied full due process.


What he said, you idiots
 
2011-07-15 06:36:31 AM

Pancoaifo: TheR0CK: Seems many of you read the article but do not understand, he was challenging the FILING FEEs, not court costs. Filing fees had to be paid IN ADVANCE of his appeal. Not after he lost.

So having high filing fees discourages or prohibits those with limited resources appealing any case they feel that was unjustly ruled against them. Possibly being denied full due process.

Further, the system as it is has essentially decreed the meter maid or cop a magistrate. Since you have to go to superior court to challenge the maid/cop who is not required to show.

If not, why do you need to file something simply to get a hearing in front of a judge.

Mass law is utterly insane ...


Don't pretend other states are any better.

Got a ticket in NY couple years back, pulled my out-of-state plate out of a line of locals all doing the limit; cost about $50...plus $350 in court costs, processing fees, and the like. Just under what it would've cost to go back, or hire an attorney to fight it.

/Screw you, Poughkeepsie
//long and hard
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2011-07-15 06:51:55 AM
The fee is not to get a fair trial. The fee is to attempt to prove that the city employee who reviewed the city parking ticket to decide if the city should collect its fine made a clear error. Some guy won against Cambridge in the 1980s or 1990s because a loading zone sign didn't say what hours it was in effect and city ordinance required it to say. You won't win if you go to superior court and argue that the wheels were really 11 inches from the curb and not 13, because the hearing officer was not clearly mistaken in believing the ticket over your testimony.

In a few weeks the same court will probably rule that the nonrefundable fee to plead not guilty to a speeding ticket is also constitutional. Because it's not technically a crime.
 
2011-07-15 07:23:39 AM

ZAZ: In a few weeks the same court will probably rule that the nonrefundable fee to plead not guilty to a speeding ticket is also constitutional. Because it's not technically a crime.


Damn, good thing no one told W about this. Friggin *nothing* would be a "crime" anymore.
 
2011-07-15 07:41:01 AM
I have less problems with fines and actual costs than I do with the bullshiat practice of adding fees and charges after the fact.

Nothing like paying a $25 fine then, three weeks later receiving a 15 line item bill for shipping handling bribe compensation spay you pet memorial fund 911 fee pencil sharpening and fee to fee you fee.

A $25 fine is more than not a $150-$200 bill when all is said and done.
 
2011-07-15 07:46:39 AM
How dare you try to stop them from collecting revenue?
 
2011-07-15 08:28:17 AM

KrispyKritter: Received a ticket for illegal parking while legally parked in my own driveway. Went to Court to have it dismissed. Judge dismissed ticket. Then I had to pay 3/4 the cost of the Ticket for Cost of Court.

they should just pass the hat once a year, it would save time.


If you beat the ticket in court, the issuing officer should have to pay court costs.

/would eliminate bullshiat tickets
 
2011-07-15 08:39:12 AM

Theaetetus: Seems about right.


Note, I'm in VA, not MA.

Snort: If you loose the administrative appeal and want to use your right to a trial, have a judge and face your accuser, you have to pay. Up front.


Well, sounds like Massachusetts kind of sucks in that respect.
 
2011-07-15 08:43:10 AM
Remember, you are guilty unless you can prove your innocence. Then you have to pay.
 
2011-07-15 08:44:54 AM
I have never gotten a ticket I didn't deserve completely.

/Who parks illegally while contesting a parking ticket?
 
2011-07-15 08:46:04 AM

AbsentFriends: If you beat the ticket in court, the issuing officer should have to pay court costs.


They should have to pay the fine and any other associated costs really.
 
2011-07-15 08:52:23 AM

fluffy2097: I have never gotten a ticket I didn't deserve completely.

/Who parks illegally while contesting a parking ticket?


Yes, the masters are never wrong. We get what we deserve.
 
2011-07-15 09:03:41 AM

fluffy2097: I have never gotten a ticket I didn't deserve completely.

/Who parks illegally while contesting a parking ticket?


I once got a parking ticket while parked directly next to a No Parking (1am to 6am) sign. The ticket was issued at 10pm.

There wasn't even a method to contest the ticket in this jurisdiction. The police told me to "let it go until it goes to warrant.". In polite terms I told them no farking way.

$15 ticket, cost me 1.5 days out of work. But i'll bear the cost to fight the bullshiat of trying to use law enforcement as a revenue generator.
 
2011-07-15 09:05:14 AM

TheWizard: fluffy2097: I have never gotten a ticket I didn't deserve completely.

/Who parks illegally while contesting a parking ticket?

I once got a parking ticket while parked directly next to a No Parking (1am to 6am) sign. The ticket was issued at 10pm.

There wasn't even a method to contest the ticket in this jurisdiction. The police told me to "let it go until it goes to warrant.". In polite terms I told them no farking way.

$15 ticket, cost me 1.5 days out of work. But i'll bear the cost to fight the bullshiat of trying to use law enforcement as a revenue generator.


That is the purpose of "law enforcement".
 
2011-07-15 09:18:46 AM

TheWizard: $15 ticket, cost me 1.5 days out of work. But i'll bear the cost to fight the bullshiat of trying to use law enforcement as a revenue generator.


So you lost more money by spending time out of work not being paid then you would have by paying the ticket....

8 hours in a day
6 dollars an hour minimum wage (its 7.25 i know)
48 dollars a day at less then minimum wage.
24 dollars a half a day at less then minimum wage.
96 dollars in wasted time.

Maybe you should be more concerned about your own revenue generating procedures.

/Is it because I'm white that the cops only get mad at me when I've done something illegal?
 
2011-07-15 09:52:55 AM
Why do I read these threads? It just pi55es me off more.

Courts aren't supposed to work this way, it's the one thing that is supposed to be fair. But oh, no, we have a couple of centuries of our own corruption to add to the British law we picked up.
 
2011-07-15 09:55:29 AM
If you won the case, the court cost should be zero.
 
2011-07-15 10:42:19 AM
Yay Liberals!
 
2011-07-15 11:25:00 AM

abb3w: It might be because he lost one; or it might be that it was Massachusetts.

As IAmNotALawyer understand Virginia rules, if you have multiple charges combined, there's only one set of court costs; if you go for a trial by jury (as is your right under Amendment 6), this increases the court costs (a LOT); however, whether tried by judge or by jury, if you're found not guilty on all charges, you don't owe the courts a dime for the costs. (Your lawyer is a separate matter.)

This guy had two tickets; he chose a hearing, and lost one that he was appealing. Ergo, court costs for it.


In Mass., you have to pay the court costs, win or lose.
 
2011-07-15 12:00:34 PM
Let me tell you why this is bullshiat.

The justices say they are focused on the constitution and not the size of the fine.

Super.

Let's pretend that the cost of the appeal was $325,000 instead of $319. I'll bet just about anything that the justices would declare it unconstitutional because of the size of the fine.

Liars.
 
2011-07-15 12:26:07 PM

SN1987a goes boom: What else do you expect from a state famous for burning people at the stake?


Umm, yeah, that didn't happen.

/don't know why farkers are consistently wrong on this point of history.
 
2011-07-15 12:28:32 PM

apiarist: SN1987a goes boom: What else do you expect from a state famous for burning people at the stake?

Umm, yeah, that didn't happen.

/don't know why farkers are consistently wrong on this point of history.


Because everything they know comes from a government school textbook and entertainment.
 
2011-07-15 02:36:15 PM

moothemagiccow: TheirThey'reNow: Tickets are just random toll for owning and driving a car.

I've been driving for ten years and I've never received a ticket


I think of tickets as random taxation by lottery. You don't always have to drive like a dingbat to get a ticket. Just try driving while black in certain areas, or be at the wrong place at the wrong time when Officer Jinglepants didn't get laid last night or needs to make his ticket quota (or personnel review, or whatever euphemism they use for their duty to bring in their share of revenue.) I haven't gotten nailed since '03, and that was a bullshiat ticket for a left turn that, though technically illegal, was perfectly safe. Biatch officer was lying in wait for somebody to do it, too.

The really ridiculous fines around here (CA) are for red light camera tickets. $400 and up. I honestly don't understand why the Eighth Amendment is so often ignored in these cases ("Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed...") $400 for a relatively minor traffic violation sure seems excessive to me.
 
2011-07-15 02:51:10 PM

destrip: The really ridiculous fines around here (CA) are for red light camera tickets. $400 and up. I honestly don't understand why the Eighth Amendment is so often ignored in these cases ("Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed...") $400 for a relatively minor traffic violation sure seems excessive to me.


I lived in California for several years, and saw many people get flashed by the red light cameras there. I never saw a red light camera go off unless someone was legitimately running the light in a way that was really dangerous.

If you don't want the fine, don't run the light. It's not hard, camera intersections in California are ridiculously marked, both with painted lines on the street and numerous signs (Some even telling you the cost of the ticket for running the light) posted up to hundreds of yards away from when you need to stop.

/Everyone I ever met who biatched about a red light ticket in cali was an absolute douchebag IME.
 
2011-07-15 03:14:27 PM
Furthermore, the court wrote, the fee system serves the purpose of discouraging "the filing of nonmeritorious appeals" by conserving scarce judicial resources.

Because they know beforehand that all appeals are without merit.
 
2011-07-15 07:09:44 PM

meanmutton: In Mass., you have to pay the court costs, win or lose.


So, because it's Massachusetts then.

I'm not sure if a good lawyer might be able to make a federal case out of it; I'm doubtful, given the Eleventh Amendment. It's probably easier to try for legislative remedy than judicial.

oryx: Because they know beforehand that all appeals are without merit.


It's probably more an application of de minimis non curat lex, but the judges aren't honest enough to admit it.
 
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