Thursday, April 10, 2008

Standing before the judge like a coward

This is the last of the three acts of dealing with a parking violation in the Incorporated Village of Valley Stream, NY. For context refer to Part 1 and Part 2.

I arrive at court slightly after it started. The judge is not in the court room, but their are lines, and various people in the employ of the court are in the area between the bench and the public seating area. I find the correct line to stand on and give my information.

The judge enters. All rise. Please be seated. He gives his opening spiel. He starts off with the housing and traffic violations. These are matters that were scheduled. Towards the end he starts on the parking tickets.

It became apparent that he's going to knock off all my late fines and reduce my debt to the county to the original $25 penalty if I plead guilty. It also became apparent that the woman that took my information should have asked me how I planned to plea, but assumed I wanted to plea guilty. Because this is convenient I do so, walk out the door, and wait in line for the extremely slow clerk staff to take my money and write me a receipt.

I had little legal ground for declaring myself not guilty. I have not to this date seen the parking regulation posted, except for a photocopy of a photograph of a street sign stating the village speed limit, and a village wide 4 hour parking limit and no parking between 03:30 and 05:30. I do support the concept of juries judging the law as well as the case, even though I have trouble reconciling this view with my strict constructionists view of the constitution. Regardless, I felt it necessary to make it a matter of public record both my disdain for the elitist concept of wanting to limit parking on the street for its own sake and the unintended consequence of enforcement of said ordinance encouraging drunk driving.

When the Boston tea party was held it was more a matter of principal than practicality. The price of tea had gone down with the monopoly. However, the concept of monopoly and taxation without representation was what bothered the colonies. Perhaps the problem is what I just wrote is utterly false, and this is one of many areas of American history that I need to brush up on. However, I still feel that keepi9ng silent over a matter of a hundred dollars was an act of cowardice. Such an act requires penance on my part.

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