By on January 19, 2017

traffic speed camera

Abraham Lincoln said that someone who represents themselves in a legal proceeding has a fool for a lawyer. Somewhat removed from his popular homespun image is the historical fact that Honest Abe was an experienced, high-powered attorney whose clients included entities like railroad companies. The man knew a thing or two about the practice of law.

The same can probably be said about Adam MacLeod, who teaches law students how to litigate at Faulkner University’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law. Prof. MacLeod not only risked living down to Lincoln’s aphorism, he also violated many of the rules that he teaches his students how to act in court when he fought a ticket generated by a traffic camera in Montgomery, Alabama.

“Before the trial, I moved to dismiss the case. I wanted the judge to pay attention, so I tried to make the motion interesting. Okay, maybe “interesting” isn’t the best word. It was over the top. I alluded to Hobbes and Locke. I quoted the Declaration of Independence. I suggested the success of the American experiment was at stake. I resorted to superlatives. You know: all the stuff I teach my law students never to do.”

One reason why he fought the ticket, issued to him as the vehicle owner, was that MacLeod was in a classroom teaching when the supposed speeding violation occurred.

Though he came out of the experience with his reputation as a lawyer intact, and no points on his driving record, MacLeod discovered that traffic court can be an Alice in Wonderland system where the statutes that empower municipalities and their contractors to enforce traffic laws allow them to exercise powers inherent in both civil and criminal proceedings while ignoring the due process protections associated with both civil and criminal law. That’s like Catch 484 (22 squared).

american traffic solutions sample citation

Along the way, MacLeod was told by a city attorney that they didn’t need any evidence to prosecute traffic cases. When he was declared guilty by a magistrate, he was forced to post twice any possible fine as a “criminal” appeal bond for a “civil” case just to get a trial before an actual judge. At the trial, he got a police officer to so casually admit, under oath, that he had perjured himself when signing traffic camera affidavits. Said judge did a double take and dismissed the case.

And so on. I then asked the question one is taught never to ask on cross—the last one. “So, you signed an affidavit under the pains and penalties of perjury alleging probable cause to believe that Adam MacLeod committed a violation of traffic laws without any evidence that was so?”

Without hesitating he answered, “Yes.” This surprised both of us. It also surprised the judge, who looked up from his desk for the first time. A police officer had just testified under oath that he perjured himself in service to a city government and a mysterious, far-away corporation whose officers probably earn many times his salary.

The city then rested its case. I renewed my motion to dismiss, which the judge immediately granted.

MacLeod then had to file redundant motions to try to get his bond back.

In case you’re wondering, the mysterious, far-away corporation is American Traffic Solutions of Mesa, Arizona.

As a veteran of numerous tilts against windmills, I have to admire MacLeod’s persistence. In a post at the Witherspoon Institute’s Public Discourse blog, he describes his experience and explains how offensively unconstitutional he feels the entire scheme of traffic ticketing and related court proceedings are. Equally offensive is how city officials continue to rely on that scheme for revenue generation, even though the state attorney general says they shouldn’t and Montgomery’s own state legislative representatives agree.

The city is still issuing tickets via ATS and, to add insult to injury, the municipality has tripled some traffic fines. It’s true what they say about fighting city hall.

Even if you win, you lose, because the process itself is a punishment. “Case dismissed. That will be $25 in fees.” At least, however, Prof. MacLeod was able to blow off some legal steam and get his ticket dismissed. He’s still waiting to get his appeal bond returned to him.

[Image Source: American Traffic Solutions]

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129 Comments on “Law Professor Fights TraffiCam Ticket, Hilarity Ensues...”


  • avatar
    gasser

    How is our system any different that the street shakedowns of drivers by Russian traffic cops?

    • 0 avatar
      2manycars

      It isn’t any different. No matter how you try to pretty it up and make it look legitimate, at the end of the day government is a criminal enterprise. (Being a “necessary evil” does not change this. Necessary evils are still evil. Letting the plebes vote for the dons who hire the thugs does not change it either.)

      • 0 avatar
        Ol Shel

        I prefer our Capitalist criminal enterprise, myself.

        It’s always the corrupt politicians that tell you that government is the problem who divert public money to corrupt private companies. And they do it because public entities can’t donate to them. Private ones do.

    • 0 avatar

      It isn’t different, and I have seen the Russian system.

    • 0 avatar
      TDIandThen....

      It is quite different – it’s much more wasteful, time-consuming and complex.

      On the positive side it’s documented and pretty predictable here. Also there is some recourse. But justice is for the rich – everybody knows.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        “But justice is for the rich – everybody knows.”

        I don’t think even the rich can buy justice in traffic court.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Money does buy justice, in a way. If you have the money, you can hire an attorney, who will plead your case down.

          But as pertains these stupid red light cameras…let’s take the case of Joe Rich Guy, who decides to blow through a red light doing 80, after he downed a six pack of beer. Know what should happen to Joe Rich Guy? He should be tossed in jail. But with the red light camera, all he has to do is just pay the fine, and he’s off scott-free.

          These cameras are SET UP to “buy justice,” in a way. Think about that…and how unbelievably foolish (and immoral) that kind of public policy is.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            If only we had smaller governments that we could afford.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            If only people wouldn’t go ballistic when it came time to pay their taxes, governments wouldn’t resort to moneymaking schemes like this.

            If you want cops to patrol streets that are navigable, and you want the fire department to come put out your house when it catches fire, you’re gonna have to pay for it…one way or another.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I disagree, gov’t needs to grow to survive. The only viable solution is for the people to knock it back every so often and reset the cycle, but this has become difficult since the nuclear age. Def overdue for revolution. Tick tock.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I’d say government needs to be *better defined* to survive. The public needs to figure out what it wants and doesn’t want the government to do. From there, people can determine what level of funding is needed.

            The problem is that the public either a) can’t agree on how to define it, or b) knows what it needs from the government but won’t pay for it.

            Thus, dissatisfaction with the funding level, whatever it is.

            And I think there is a group of special interests who benefit from this kind of Italy-style nonsense.

            The system doesn’t need to be exploded…it just needs some rationality.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @Todd, there is a simple way to do that and Ike mentioned it, dismantle the power of the military-industrial complex.

            How much does it cost to drop a bomb on some mud flat homes in rural Afghanistan? Who does it help/hurt? What are the benefits.

            There were zero Afghan nationals involved 9-11. And the Afghan government could not even fund proper schooling let alone export a terrorist plot. And they had little control over their own borders. Bin Laden after all was found in Pakistan not Afghanistan.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            Arthur – I believe the Government of Afghanistan at the time was the Taliban. They were not a good Governmnet and the West worked with the Northern Alliance rebels to defeat (largely() the Taliban. They had harboured Bin Laden and the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is porous so Bin Laden easily moved between the two.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Arthur

            The minute you move in that direction they show you the unedited Zapruder film and point out the shooter. All your democracy are belong to them.

        • 0 avatar
          Advance_92

          Traffic court is petty cash for the rich, anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          redmondjp

          The rich don’t flinch about traffic court fines – it’s pocket lint for them.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          “I don’t think even the rich can buy justice in traffic court.”

          But connections, of one sort or another, do. It can cut in some interesting ways. I’ve had it work both ways for me, in years past.

          I had a BS ticket, written by an officer who lied his backside off, held up by an equally corrupt judge who later found himself in the dock. A known hard-arse, he didn’t get much sympathy in a trial by his “peers” when financial irregularities of his court came up.

          Okay, I lost that one; and he was about to lose big, too. But then…I got nabbed in another BSsy local speed trap, small town just outside Greater Cleveland. Ohio license plates had county stickers on them, then; and what that did was advertise to Barney Fife who was safe pickin’s.

          Unbeknownst to Barney, I was in the process of moving into that town. The night I was ticketed I was shuttling crap over.

          I was scheduled for Mayor’s Court, a pre-Industrial Age holdover from the Justice-Of-The-Peace era. Mayor’s Courts could only accept GUILTY pleas. Not-guilty pleas had to be relayed to the nearest Municipal Court.

          I pled not guilty. The mayor wanted to know who I was, and what I was doing there. I told him where I had just moved to.

          “Oh…Art’s building. Yeah, I knew he was looking to fill that unit…”

          He then announced to the court reporter that it was his CONSIDERED OPINION that the Court ACCEPT my plea of Not Guilty and DROP the ticket. The clunk you heard on the floor wasn’t the ticket; it was my chin dropping.

          That easy. Long as I was local, even if new…I rented from Art, and Art was one a’ the BOYS…so I was okay.

          That’s the only way left to get out of traffic tickets. Connections. Even money doesn’t do it.

      • 0 avatar
        henrythegearhead

        Sometimes even one part of government disagrees with another. Here in
        Los Angeles County (California) we have 8 cities issuing red light camera tickets, and the fine is $500.00. Fortunately, the adjudicating court is run by the county, not those individual cities and, also fortunate for us, the court does not like the camera tickets and has set a policy that if they do not hear from you after you have been mailed a camera ticket, they will not report your lack of response to the DMV. Hard to believe? Do a search on red light camera no consequence.

    • 0 avatar
      Snooder

      It’s more predictable.

      That’s my main gripe with bribes in third world countries. Just make it a goddamn toll fee and post the rates so I don’t need to waste my time arguing with the cop if he “decides” he needs and bit more cash today.

      • 0 avatar
        Yuppie

        I agree. I would gladly pay, say, double my annual registration for the privilege of driving legally at speeds slightly greater (say, 10%) than the flow of traffic.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      The Russian system is more honest. At least they don’t pretend to be saints.

  • avatar
    whynot

    I’m so happy my city scrapped their red-light cameras ~2.5 years ago (was making no money off of them anymore because violations had plummeted so much and vendor was basically taking all the fines so did not see point of renewing contract). Those things would always falsely go off and scare the crap out of me.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    It’s always about the money all of the time!

  • avatar

    One comment I saw awhile ago said ATS = Automated Theft Systems.

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    Came to hear stories of law professors schooling traffic cops.

    Was not disappointed.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      As difficult as it is for many to believe, the cops probably didn’t want to do this. It was likely a decision of the city council, the people you have the power to vote into office.

      It’s probable that the officer readily admitted he perjured himself because he knew what was happening, hated it, was forced to do it, and was glad to have an opportunity to get it out in the open.

      I’m someone that often defends LE, but I’ll never defend red light cameras to automatically generate tickets. I’m lucky enough to live in a city that tried them and then decided it didn’t serve the public interest. They pulled them down without ever issuing an actual fine.

  • avatar
    S197GT

    Law professor shocked to find out that the practice of law is a dirty business…

    Or maybe just to what degree…

    In other news… meteorology professor shocked to find out rain is wet.

  • avatar
    TDIandThen....

    Geez it’s almost like someone should sue to establish the constitutional parameters of all this. Or sumpin.

  • avatar

    Follow. The. Money.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    “Hillarity”–missed typo, or secret in-joke?

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Would it be so difficult to just charge some kind of “police” fee? Make the whole thing transparent and accountable and eliminate the antagonizing, civil rights violations and breeding grounds for mistrust/misconduct/resentment

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      In most municipalities, money from fines goes straight to the general fund. The police do not profit from such activities, the municipality does. The municipality should provide reports (my city sends annual reports to all residents), showing where the money comes from and where it goes.

      If you live where the above isn’t true, you may want to consider moving.

      • 0 avatar
        OzCop

        I’m not sure about other states or districts, but in KY, traffic fines were collected in District Court, and sent to the state. The state distributes the money to the District Courts to aid in running the court system. Local jurisdictions may receive a percentage as collected state wide to pay overtime for officers off duty court time, but most of it is distributed by the county judge…Municipalities see very little of it…

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’ve long thought traffic cameras were a joke – not solely because of the Constitutional issues, which are legion, but for a far simpler reason: the punishments are ineffective and do nothing to enhance public safety. Unless traffic laws carry consequences for your driving privileges, they have no teeth.

    To wit: running a red light, which is probably one of the most dangerous illegal acts you can do behind the wheel, just carries a fine if a camera’s enforcing the law. In theory, a serial red light runner can just keep paying the fine ad infinitum, when the REAL goal should be to teach this moron to either follow the law or start taking a bus to work, for the good of his fellow citizens.

    Someone with money can just break the law with impunity. That’s not just wrong – it impacts public safety.

    Solution?

    People need to get involved in local politics and tell their elected officials they reject these stupid cameras, which have been outlawed in any number of communities.

  • avatar
    mic

    Here in OK they got a racket going. I got stopped for expired tags and the fine was $220, but if I paid a $110 admin fee, no points would be assessed and they won’t even notify my insurance company. I got caught, so I paid the admin fee and everything was right with the world again. LOL

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Why would you get points for expired tags? It’s not a moving violation. Stupid.

      • 0 avatar
        kefkafloyd

        Depends on the state. Expired registrations or expired inspection stickers ARE moving violations in Massachusetts. Collect enough tickets or ignore them long enough and you’ll be arrested.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Here in NC the penalty for expired tags is $35 and they’ll waive that if you prove that you got them renewed.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I got busted for this once in the town I live in…the cops gave me the ticket and a few days to get the plates renewed. I brought in proof and they tore the ticket up.

    • 0 avatar
      onyxtape

      I fought a red light camera ticket probably some 10 years ago, and the judge explained to me that I still had to pay half of the ticket (as a fee) because the city actually loses money if they take nothing from me, as this Arizona outfit has a guaranteed income from the city per photo snapped.

      This particular city was going all Scrooge McDuck with their new-found money and hired 8 cops. Then laid them off after 3 years after people stopped running the lights as much.

  • avatar
    OzCop

    Freed Mike…most states have a point system regarding traffic laws…different infractions accumulate different points. Once you reach the limit of “points” your driver’s license is suspended by the state.

    That said, the officer testifying in that particular case is correct, at least in theory. Some states, where I served in LE for 27 years, require traffic violations be personally observed by the officer signing the ticket for it to be valid. If this officer simply looked at video and made a determination the offense took place, in a sense he did indeed perjure himself…but at least he was being truthful under oath.

    The only traffic related citation or arrest we could make without personal observation was traffic accidents involving DUI. And we could only do that after determining the suspect was indeed the driver, and said driver was indeed operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol…

    My personal opinion is both red light cameras and unmanned, camera sensitive speed recording devices should be illegal…

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Sure, Ozcop…and when you get pulled over for a traffic infraction, points on your license should DEFINITELY be a consequence if the prosecution proves its’ case.

      But in every jurisdiction I’m aware of, you don’t get points on your license for red light / speed cameras infractions. You just pay the fine and it’s done. That’s the way it works here in the Denver area, for sure.

      Anyone know of any jurisdictions where this isn’t the case?

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        They cannot prove who the driver was using red light cameras. So the fine goes against the vehicle/vehicle owner.

        However if you try to dispute the ticket, then you must admit who was driving. At that point if convicted the fine/infraction record goes against the driver.

        At least in our jurisdiction.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          That’s not the case here in Colorado, Arthur…you pay the fine, and that’s it. No points assessed, nothing on your driving record. That’s the way it works in Denver, and in every American jurisdiction I know of. If that’s different somewhere here in the U.S., I’d like to know about it.

          And that’s garbage. Red light running is EXTREMELY dangerous, and the idiots who do it need to have their behavior punished, or have their licenses eventually revoked if they don’t change their ways. They shouldn’t be able to buy their way out of that.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            In my state any camera based tickets are the responsibility of the registered owner but since they have no way of knowing exactly who was driving it does not go on your record as a moving violation. The letter you get, informing you that you get to enrich the community and some people far away, actually states that.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @scoutdude:

            In your state, does the ticket count against the driver’s license record? I’d be interested in knowing.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Another example of the problems with the privatization of public services.

    ATS has to earn a considerable profit. And who are they accountable to? And what do they add in value to traffic enforcement?

    Creating another layer of bureaucracy, and removing accountability is never a good thing.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Another example of the problems with the privatization of public services.”

      A *million times* this.

      And this is what happens when people go all torches-and-pitchforks when it comes time to pay their taxes – municipalities do stupid revenue schemes like this one. The “small government” folks are deluded when they think “starving the beast” works – they end up paying on the back end.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        I call it the “war against taxes”. As we have noted, it’s a war we can’t win because taxes get replaced with “user fees” and the like. Worse, it invites the private sector into what should be, strictly, government functions, bringing with it the cronyism and distortion of the rule of law that we all deplore.

        With respect to my friends on the right, as we have seen, simply cutting taxes does not have the desired goal of limiting government (assuming that’s the goal, I’m not arguing that at this point). it is time for a different strategy, one that requires more of us, a greater commitment to honestly dealing with the cost and effectiveness of government and a fundamental skepticism toward simple solutions.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Well put, Bunkie.

          I often hear about how Texas should be some kind of economic model for the country because of its’ “low tax” environment.

          And to paraphrase your handle, that’s bunk.

          Yes, there’s no state tax. But they tax the living s**t out of your house instead. I know – I underwrite mortgages and see how much property taxes in Texas can run. If they tried to charge that much here in Colorado, there would be a run on torches and pitchforks over at the True Value.

          There’s no free ride.

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          bunkie, the key is voters never ask for a smaller government. They ask for lower taxes, while demanding more services from the government.

          We need to evaluate the services to determine which need to be reduced or eliminated.

          Contrary to human nature, we also need to reduce the restrictions on how government operates. Change it to “trust but verify” . This allows the creativity of good (there are many) government workers to improve efficiency, while still catching the not-so-good government workers doing wrong.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    You just need local officials or state legislators who won’t put up with this bullshit. Here in Texas, some cities have started taking down red light cameras, because for the most part, it’s a shakedown. Fortunately, here in Texas, “a Texas municipality may not use an automated traffic control system to enforce speed”. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/laws/automated_enforcement/enforcementtable?topicName=speed

  • avatar
    mrwiizrd

    The facts of the story don’t add up. A real defense attorney takes the good professor to task:

    http://blog.simplejustice.us/2017/01/19/the-traffic-cam-tale-hilarious-ridiculous-and-likely-malarkey/

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    I’ve heard in Massachusetts (or maybe just Boston)that the fee to appeal the ticket is greater than the fine of the ticket and it isn’t refundable.

    • 0 avatar
      kefkafloyd

      Red light cameras are illegal in massachusetts, so there wouldn’t be any fees in this case. But there are for other kinds of tickets. My last speeding ticket (about five years ago) cost me $150. The cost of going in front of the magistrate is $25. Appealing above the magistrate costs more but I don’t know off the top of my head what it is.

      When they redid the SDIP indexing system a decade ago, they gave basically a “Freebie” ticket. If you had no other violations, and you got a speeding ticket, your rate wouldn’t go up if you paid the ticket. However, if you got a second speeding ticket, your rates would effectively have both tickets accounted for. I imagine this works out as an incentive for most people to pay a ticket once, but I have no statistics to prove that.

      Since I rarely get tickets (I’ve only ever gotten two in sixteen years of driving) I just paid that last ticket and moved on since my SDIP was clean for ten years. TBH, if insurance didn’t go out of whack so much with tickets, I believe people would pay them more.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    My nanny was driving my car one evening and got pulled over in Sacramento. English wasn’t her first language (she was Czech) and she got flustered by her interaction with the police. She didn’t get a moving violation but got a ticket because she couldn’t show proof of insurance. The current insurance card was in an envelope with the registration in the glove box, but she was confused and nervous and couldn’t find it.

    She got a ticket but since she was moving out the country shortly afterwards, she never had a chance to go to court to prove the car was insured. She also didn’t tell me about the ticket, so after missing a court date the fine was increased to a couple of hundred dollars. Since the car was mine, I had to pay the added fees even though it originally would have cost $25 or something as a “fix it” ticket.

    The stupidity is that the state of California already KNEW the car was insured. The insurance data is transmitted to the DMV electronically by insurance companies. The need to show an insurance card when pulled over is a redundancy and a 10-second database search would show that the car was insured at the time of the incident. But one needed to pay court fees to go in to prove that she had insurance. Another money grab.

    • 0 avatar
      Dirty Dingus McGee

      I can give you one that is even more mind boggling;
      Several years ago I had to pick up some lumber at big orange. I had an old beater 81 Dodge D-150 to use just for those type of chores. Returning home, local extortionist department pulled me over. Ordered me out of the truck, demanded I place any weapons on his hood(while he stood behind his car) and then move back to my truck. He then proceeded to tell me what my crime was; I didn’t have the renewal sticker on my plate. Truck was registered and insured, I had just forgot to put the sticker on. No ticket, but HE HAD MY DAMN TRUCK TOWED.
      If I was to see that runt on fire, I wouldn’t piss on him to put out the fire.

    • 0 avatar
      GeneralMalaise

      You’re obviously expecting too much cohesion of the state of California.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    About 15 years ago I got a letter stating that my van had gone through a toll gate on a freeway without paying. The alleged location was 40 miles from where I worked and the time and date was when I had been at work for several hours.
    I sent “them” a letter with these facts and offered to send them info from where I worked showing that I was at work at the time of the alleged non-payment.
    “They” replied, in a letter, that my “case was under review”.
    Never heard from them again.
    I have wondered if someone, watching CCTV all day, entered an incorrect license plate number. Or did “they” send out these billings at random using DMV records.
    Today “they” would probably reply “Pay it or we’ll add it to your vehicle registration fee”.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    In Ontario our previous Conservative ‘Common Sense’ Premier sold the newly constructed using public money Highway 407 to a foreign controlled consortium.

    The government shills then lied and said that they retained control over toll rate increases, etc.

    They sold the highway for about 1/3 of its real worth. It has since been ‘flipped’ a couple of times. And for a fraction of its construction costs.

    It is now the most expensive toll road perhaps in the road. Toll rates of about 40 cents per km. Plus a monthly fee to have an electronic transponder. With the transponder you still pay a $1 billing fee for each time you get on the highway. Without the transponder it is I believe a $4.95 fee plus a monthly billing fee.

    If you do not pay your bill, they charge an exorbitant interest rate. And if you are in arrears, you cannot renew the license on your vehicle.

    And the province polices this for them as well as providing Provincial Police to patrol the highway.

    So much for privatization and a government run by ‘business men’.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Yeah, I drove on the 407 a few times with rental cars… nice road and very easy to go fast because the peasants are driving elsewhere and crowding those roads instead. I quit doing that after I got a bill in the mail. The jig is up!

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Same thing happened with US 36 (the Boulder Turnpike – connects Boulder to Denver), Arthur…it was a toll free four lane road. The expansion took it to six lanes, with two being tolled. There is a foreign company in charge of the tolling. They can basically charge whatever they want and don’t have to ask the state. The thing’s been open less than a year, and already they’ve reversed themselves on carpooling – at first, you could skip the toll if you had two people in the car, and now you have to have three.

      And all the people of Colorado can do is suck their thumbs and complain. Well, guys, guess what…you were too cheap to make your state taxes go up by $2.21, or whatever, and now if you want the privilege of being able to go down a federal highway without sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, you’re gonna pay.

      And then the folks who hate government (of which there are MANY here in Colorado) use stuff like this to bleat about how “gummint don’t work,” or some such nonsense. Brilliant.

      They’re talking about doing the same thing with C-470, which is the ring road around Denver.

      People need to wake up.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    As Hunter S Thompson wrote Hell’s Angels (1966):
    “Justice is not cheap in this country, and people who insist on it are usually either desperate or possessed by some private determination bordering on monomania.”

  • avatar
    Grenade

    My wife got one of these back the summer in our quaint little town of Knoxville, TN. I had also picked one up a few months earlier in my car that I had paid. Shrug. My wife’s car has my name and hers on the registration, so I figured I could at least get my case thrown out since they couldn’t prove who was driving the vehicle, they could only assume.

    I had recently seen a video by one of TN’s state lawmakers, Andy Holt, that received one and promptly burned it and put a video of said incineration on Facebook, while encouraging TN citizens to not pay the fine.

    He had went so far to force the state (or wherever these originate from) to change their boilerplate on the mailed statement to put this phrase on there:

    NON-PAYMENT OF THIS VIOLATION CANNOT HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON YOUR DRIVERS LICENSE, CAR INSURANCE RATES, OR CREDIT REPORT

    Mr. Holt even managed to get the TN state attorney general to make an opinion on the legality of these fines, siding with him, in that they are illegal.

    http://www.andyholt4tn.com/attorney-general-sides-with-rep-holt-traffic-camera-companies-are-violating-state-law-holt-calls-for-class-action-lawsuit/

    So I talked my wife into not paying it. About 2 months later we received a second notice. Didn’t pay it.

    Then we get another letter from a law firm, but it now has added $60 more to the $50 fine.

    I am not a lawyer and I don’t want to fight it anymore (roll over and take it, yep, I did!) so I paid it. I feel dirty.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    “If only people wouldn’t go ballistic when it came time to pay their taxes, governments wouldn’t resort to moneymaking schemes like this.”

    “And this is what happens when people go all torches-and-pitchforks when it comes time to pay their taxes – municipalities do stupid revenue schemes like this one. The “small government” folks are deluded when they think “starving the beast” works – they end up paying on the back end.”

    It is interesting that it is almost always the “big government” believers that try to find every possible way to avoid paying taxes. Obama and Clinton had several prospective cabinet members that had trouble during confirmation (or dropped out) because they didn’t pay their taxes. “Tax me more” Warren Buffet has been fighting with the IRS for years to avoid paying “his share”, and has done elaborate estate planning to make sure Uncle Sam gets zip when he finally retires to the Pearly Gates. Perhaps these government lovers, like many on the “small government” right, realize how much tax revenue is wasted by the government – for example retire at age 50 with a lifetime six figure pensions that are bleeding many States and Cities dry.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      ““Tax me more” Warren Buffet has been fighting with the IRS for years to avoid paying “his share”…

      I see. So…if a liberal questions his tax bill, that means he’s not a liberal? You’ll have to explain that one to me.

      Look, I get it…rich folks operate under a different set of tax rules, and the liberal ones are no exception. They can afford armies of lawyers and accountants. It sucks. And liberals are fully bought into the idea of eliminating waste and fraud too.

      But there’s a big difference between Buffett fighting with the IRS over whether his tax payments fit the rules or not – which millions of other people, myself included, have done – or someone who’s super-rich leaving his money to a charity or foundation, and making silly ideological “trickle down economics” arguments. Reagan proved trickle down economics accomplishes one thing: it balloons the living hell out of the deficit.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Specifically what government jobs can one hold and retire at age 50 for a six figure lifetime pension? (I mean except for elected representatives.) If you mean military, then then annual retainer pay (aka pension) for a fast track, very successful 50 year old is about $65,000. That’s solidly not in six figure territory.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “Specifically what government jobs can one hold and retire at age 50 for a six figure lifetime pension?”

        Minister of Unobtainium, I believe, comes with that benefit package…

        What I find amusing about some conservatives is their constant kvetching about “fraud and abuse”…as long as it’s coming from a) welfare recipients or b) government employees (teachers, in particular). Why? Because both groups tend to vote Democrat.

        But when the waste in question is a billion dollar Navy ship that runs like a freakin’ Fiat X 1/9, or billions in tax subsidies or breaks for oil companies that made tens of billions in profits anyway, they don’t say much.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          In all fairness, elected officials can make quite a bit more. Of course, we keep electing them!

        • 0 avatar
          stingray65

          “So…if a liberal questions his tax bill, that means he’s not a liberal? You’ll have to explain that one to me.”

          No they are still liberals – just hypocrite “do as I say not as I do” liberals.

          As for early six-figure pensions – here are a few links offering examples of six figure pensions from around the USA:

          http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/06/in-california-many-police-and-firefighters-get-100-000-pensions/239796/

          http://dailycaller.com/2016/03/14/over-2000-retirees-in-new-jersey-are-drawing-six-figure-pensions/

          http://www.whec.com/news/six-figure-pensions-double-dipping/4251346/

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            Those are liberal-controlled states. I meant places with real people.

            Ahhhh, just kidding. Fair point and those are good examples you cited.

            And we keep electing them…

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Some sample solutions from someone who does not have a distaste for government.

            Drastically decrease the overall number of elected politicians. They no longer have to travel by horse and buggy to see their constituents. Perhaps decrease the number by 1/3.

            Put into effect regulations stipulating that one can only hold elected office for a set number of years. Like the President being held to 2 terms. But comprehensive. No more 40 year Senators. And you can’t just switch from 1 jurisdiction to another. 15 years of elected service and you are out?

            Eliminate pensions for all elected officials. And severance/termination packages for them.

            Defined benefit pensions for government workers do present a problem, particularly here in Canada. Just need to make the vesting period longer. Perhaps a ’90 factor’? No collecting of the pension until age 66?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @stingray:

            Fair point, but you’re leaving out some details:

            1) The majority of these pensioners are either teachers, cops, or firefighters.

            2) Many recipients of state pensions are, in fact, not eligible for social security. That’s true of teachers here in Colorado, and retired cops/firefighters in the New Jersey info you cited.

            3) Solid pensions are what draw many folks into public service jobs. My daughter’s studying to be a teacher and it’s definitely a draw for her.

            Personally, I don’t begrudge any of these folks one dime of their pension. I am more than happy to see them all enjoy a nice, comfortable retirement on my dime after all they’ve done for me.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            It’s terrible that so many public ‘servants’ have no idea what the lives of contributing members of society are like. Those union cops you’re so grateful of spend their working hours raising revenue instead of protecting the public. Firefighters spend their entire brief careers fighting lawsuits for union benefits over injuries that regular people live with. Teachers shape young minds while living out a socialist utopian dream paid for by by people who don’t get cradle-to-grave-benefits or guaranteed sum pensions. Is it any wonder that the kids they indoctrinate would be better off spending their adolescences in actual daycare centers? Every one of these six-figures-for-forty-idle-years burdens on society is a public employee union card carrier who spent their careers chanting “less work for more pay.”

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          http://reason.com/blog/2016/08/09/californias-six-figure-pension-club

          One state has over 20,000 people drawing six figure state pensions. Proof enough? It’s one of the few states stupid enough to vote for a criminal who went on to shut down her international influence peddling ring for human rights violators right after she lost.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Todd, 20,000 out of a population of how many? 38 million? That does not seem to be outrageous.

            And what criminal were you referring to? I know of no recent Presidential candidate who has been charged let alone convicted of any crimes.

            Again throwing out epithets does not make something true.

            What is true is that by declaring bankruptcy numerous times, companies associated with the President elect did not pay in full contractors or their workers for time spent working. If someone was truly very rich and a friend of the working person would they not personally guarantee full payment for everyone working at or on one of the organization’s that their name was attached to or associated with?

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            “Fair point, but you’re leaving out some details:

            1) The majority of these pensioners are either teachers, cops, or firefighters.

            2) Many recipients of state pensions are, in fact, not eligible for social security. That’s true of teachers here in Colorado, and retired cops/firefighters in the New Jersey info you cited.

            3) Solid pensions are what draw many folks into public service jobs. My daughter’s studying to be a teacher and it’s definitely a draw for her.”

            I would gladly trade my SS benefits at age 67 for a six-figure pension at age 50+. You are right about pensions being an attractive benefit of “public service”, but a $100,000 pension requires an annuity principle of almost $3 million – I don’t think any public servant deserves a $3 million nest-egg after 25-30 years of work at above average wages.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            I hope your words taste good after we start enforcing laws against this criminal regime. Maybe she can get a cell with Lois Lerner.

        • 0 avatar
          Rick T.

          New numbers show that the 7,499 ‘highly compensated,’ six-figure school administrator/teacher retirees cost IL taxpayers nearly $1 billion per year. But in just six years, the problem of six-figure pensions will be three-times worse.

          In 2014 I wrote in Forbes about a pair of union lobbyists who substitute taught for one-day in the public schools and then started collecting over $1 million of lifetime public ‘teacher’ pension payout – despite a state law expressly designed to stop them.

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2016/04/22/mapping-the-100000-illinois-teacher-pensions-costing-taxpayers-nearly-1-0-billion/#52fcd6cb4334

          • 0 avatar
            OzCop

            Stingray65, there may be some cops in some jurisdictions who make the 6 figures your quoted, but they are chiefs and commissioners. All cops pay into a retirement fund and the jurisdiction they work for may pay a percentage into that retirement fund for each officer. Officers retiring with 20 years service can generally draw 50% of their final 3 year average. If they are retired on disability, they can draw as much as 75%. They can draw from SS assuming they have paid enough quarters in jobs prior to police or public service career, or part time or side jobs during their career. But under the “double dipping” statute, they can only draw between 40 and 50% of what they would draw had they not received a government pension…I think the same holds true for teachers. Police and fire fall under similar pension plans…

        • 0 avatar
          GeneralMalaise

          You dare slander a wonderful car you’ve never owned?

  • avatar
    JimC2

    It’s nice to see stories like this one come to light. It would be nicer if there didn’t have to be stories like this. What would be nicest of all is if the citizens would pay more attention to the work their elected officials are doing!

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    “Abraham Lincoln said that someone who represents themselves in a legal proceeding has a fool for a lawyer.”

    I thought the quote was “has a fool for a client.” Either way, though, the same person is being referred to.

  • avatar
    markf

    and no one seems the least bit concerned he cop admitted to perjury in open court….

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      I was concerned the fist couple of times I witnessed it, that I can assure you. Tomorrow we shed a criminal regime that spent the last few years pleading the fifth countless times. What’s a lying public employee union member compared to Hitlery’s IT professionals invoking the right not to self-incriminate on the question of treason?

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    Why don’t they have to prove I was driving without telling who it was. I can’t be legally compelled to testify against my wife. It should be on them to prove who is driving. Not my job to do it for them. Also does the 5th admendment not apply in traffic court?

  • avatar
    VoGo

    It’s fascinating to watch the usual alt-right writers line up against red light camera traffic enforcement. Here’s what it really means:

    1. That they see the folly in privatization of public interest processes. What is different here – as opposed to the prison system – is that it effects them, not merely men of color.

    2. That these ‘law-and-order’ supporters only support enforcement of laws they like. Something that might delay them 15 seconds is government over-reach by bureaucrats.

    3. That they use language in insidious ways. Someone who looks different and may have violated an immigration law is labeled an “illegal”, whereas someone who threatens the life of a pedestrian by running a red light is a good American fighting the system.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      You never give us an all-of-the-above box to check.

      Illegals can really illegals *while* these scofflaw twerps are really scofflaw twerps.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Humans may be criminals, but they are not by definition ‘illegals.’ There is no law in America that defines the legality or illegality of a person.

        It’s just a term the alt right made up to describe people who are different from them, and therefore to be maligned.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          “Illegal Alien
          Also known as an “Undocumented Alien,” is an alien who has entered the United States illegally and is deportable if apprehended, or an alien who entered the United States legally but who has fallen “out of status” and is deportable.”

          irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/immigration-terms-and-definitions-involving-aliens

          Ain’t that good enough for you?

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            It’s close, and I credit the research, but I stand by the point that people cannot be legal or illegal, depending on the status of their documentation.

            I don’t want to live in a country where I have to constantly show my papers to a deportment force.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            We either have rule of law or we don’t (hint right now we don’t).

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            A person immigrated illegally. (That’s not a crime, by the way — it’s a civil violation of law.)

            A person is not “illegal” or “an illegal.” That suggests their existence is illegal. It’s not. Even if they immigrated illegally, which is a specific action that was illegal.

            Oh, and 28 – Come on now. We have specific issues with the legal system. We don’t “not have the rule of law.” Most of the time, in most cases, the law gets applied. If it didn’t, you wouldn’t have your house or your credit card, and you’d have to guard your cars and your other stuff with a gun. If you want to see “not having the rule of law,” go check out southern Somalia or rebel-held Syria.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            “A person is not “illegal” or “an illegal.” That suggests their existence is illegal.”

            No, merely their presence within our borders.

            Their existence, while a grievous misfortune, is irremediable by US law which can only make them go be grievous somewhere else.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Most of the time, in most cases, the law gets applied.”

            Well phew its nice to know “most” of the time codified law is enforced.

            “If you want to see “not having the rule of law,” go check out southern Somalia or rebel-held Syria.”

            If we keep importing Somalis and Syrians it will be as if Somalia and Syria will be brought to me, wow! Then I can check out Islamic anarchy up close and personal and report back for you.

            The only two things keeping society in check are the thin blue line (who are vastly outnumbered on a ratio basis) and the citizens themselves who naturally obey the law for the most part. If the society side of the paradigm changes significantly the police do not have the resources to counter on a large level, so they what happens? Withdraw? Call the Feds?

            Oh and if we had rule of law, the Wicked Witch would have been charged, tried, and most likely exonerated. We would also see the Justice Department investigate the alleged criminal conspiracy to prevent Bernie Sanders from securing the Democratic Party nomination. Between state and federal statutes, there is no doubt some laws were broken. Will the conspirators ever be brought to justice?

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            I guess we’ll soon find out, 28 days.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “Illegal alien” is in the US Code. For example, 8 US Code § 1252c is entitled “Authorizing State and local law enforcement officials to arrest and detain certain illegal aliens”.

          I don’t dislike the people because of their status, but “illegal alien” is a term of art within the context of the law and completely legitimate in that context.

          The fact that a bunch of a**holes really enjoy using it doesn’t change that, although it would be nice if they would be a bit less venomous about it.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=fdb_1439864778

            I haven’t heard this song on the radio in a while.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “Illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant” is not the same thing as “illegal.”

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            If you tried Hillary, you would have had to try pretty much everyone at senior levels of about the past four State Departments at the same time. Part of the rule of law has to be some level of discretion on the part of prosecutors, judges, and even plaintiffs. There are widespread practices in many areas of society that are not technically compliant, just like the use of private email for official business by State Department staffers (not to mention lots of people at the highest levels of the George W. Bush White House).

            Do you think there is “no rule of law” because you don’t get busted and convicted every single time you California-roll a stop sign or a right on red?

            Or, for that matter, should every single one of my corporate clients that has a “Chair” of the Board instead of a “President” be sued for ultra vires action, because the corporate statute says the top officer has to be called a “President?

            It’s not the police that keep things in line. They wouldn’t have a prayer against a widespread popular uprising. It’s a general wish to stay out of trouble and keep society running. People here generally understand the consequences of a real breakdown of law and order. There are other places in the world (and most of them are not Muslim) where people have never even experienced what real law and order mean and so have no incentive to try to achieve them or keep them going.

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    I see the SJW phalanx is deployed, as per their orders years ago – to “Get in their faces.”

    So they come pollute blogs which have NOTHING to do with their crackpot worldview, rejected by rational people and those who know history.

    I’m reminded of an interview with a West German, thirty years ago, when he discussed his meeting, for the first time since the war, of his cousin in the East. Of how it was impossible to have a discussion, since all he had were harangues on how terrible was the West, was capitalism, was bourgeoise society.

    That’s what we in America have become. Half the nation wants to smash windows and burn cars – literally or, figuratively, as they hijack discussions on sites like this one.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      I stopped reading at SJW phalanx. If you can’t be bothered to make a point without insults, I can’t be bothered to read your post.

      • 0 avatar
        OldManPants

        I’ll always love Saturday morning cartoons.

      • 0 avatar
        JustPassinThru

        That’s RIGHT!!…I failed at virtue-signalling, so my comments, generally on cars, on a blog about automobiles, should be ignored.

        Others here, who can’t keep their eagerness for eradicated borders to themselves…should, after they study some history, learn what is “Psychological Projection.”

        And then learn what is “off-topic.”

        Happy Motoring!

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Why is the alt right so thin skinned? Any disagreement provokes such unmanly whining.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Are you allowed to say manly, isn’t that sexist or transphobic?

          • 0 avatar
            JustPassinThru

            “Are you allowed to say manly, isn’t that sexist or transphobic?”

            I’m not sure. Maybe there’s someone we could ask…maybe Chelsea Manning…or is it “Chelsea Unmanning”…?

            Must be hard to be one of the Enlightened Left these days…so driven to extol the virtues of non-hetrosexual sex, yet so quick to lash out at those they dislike with pejoratives such as “[email protected]” or similar.

            So quick to paint anyone not marching in lockstep as a Nazi…while at the same time, they’re doing a fair job of imitating the Brownshirts in Berlin, in their displays yesterday in Washington and other places.

            Oh…the “Alt-Right” is neither. It’s not an alternative; and it is most-assuredly not Right.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes”

            Mark Twain

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            We’re constantly told that the dark specter of fascism is descending on the right, and yet somehow it always manages to land on the left.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            28-Cars-Later wrote, ““History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes”

            Mark Twain”

            “And rhymes connect”
            RUN DMC

    • 0 avatar
      GeneralMalaise

      Something that can’t go on forever, won’t. Debts that can’t be repaid, won’t be. Promises that can’t be kept, won’t be. Plan accordingly.

    • 0 avatar
      GeneralMalaise

      Someone is adhering to his New Year’s Resolution!

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