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Posted: 12/19/2005 10:31:13 AM EDT
To review, a few months ago I received a ticket from Austin PD for violating section 545.058 'Driving On Improved Shoulder' of the Texas traffic code. I reviewed the code, plead not guilty, and requested a bench trial. The State set the trial for today at 0930.

Two weeks ago I went to another traffic court to observe how the court functions and to refine my planned defense. I was surprised at how few of the cases actually went before the judge, and even more surprised at how many times the court ruled against the State and in favor of the defendant. I felt very confident of my ability to successfully defend myself against the charge.

I arrived in the court room at 0850. The docket for the 0830 court was already cleared, so I sat there and used the extra time to review my notes and make my final preparations.

The court was called into session, and the roll call was taken. My name was called, I answered, and the prosecutor replied 'recalled'. Based upon my previous observations of courtroom protocol, I was pretty damn sure I had 'won' my case at that point, but I still was not about to drop my guard. The judge notified all present that this court is a court of record and asked if anyone wanted a court reporter to record their case. I was the only one who stood and requested a court reporter. The prosecutors called a few defendants outside the courtroom to discuss some details of their respective cases, and re-entered the courtroom a few minutes later. The judge asked the prosecutors if they would like to dismiss any of the cases. One prosecutor approached the bench with a stack of files, then read the names of the defendants who would have their cases dismissed. My name was one of those.

I don't know for sure the reason(s) my case was dismissed. Maybe the APD officer that wrote the ticket did not show. Maybe the prosecutor actually reviewed the evidence with the APD officer and decided that they did not want to get their asses kicked in court by yours truly. I don't and most likely never will know for sure just what made the prosecutor decide to drop the charges.

In my opinion, my ticket was nothing more then a failed attempt at illegal revenue generation, or the APD officer was suffering from 'Little Lord Fauntleroy Syndrome'. In any case, the officer deserves to have a few unfavorable comments noted in his next performance review, and he needs to attend a remedial training period on section 545.058 of the Texas Traffic Code. (Yeah, like THAT is EVER going to happen... )

NEVER be afraid to stand up and defend your Rights.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 10:41:52 AM EDT
Damn good job man. Always good to hear someone stands up and tells the revenue generators "hell no!"

This subject is a bit of an issue to me. I live in an unincorporated area that is trapped behind 2 of the worst revenue generation police depts. in the state. To get out of here I get to pick which I want to go through. Out of at least 10 tickets a year I have had to pay for one, 7 years ago, the rest have been dismissed without even seeing the judge. 3 times in the last year I've gotten tickets for burned out brake lights that work perfectly fine. Beyond annoying.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 10:48:44 AM EDT
Good for you! Glad it worked out...
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 11:52:02 AM EDT
It appered to me at the time you received the cite that you were NOT in violation. I bet the prosecutor reviewed the officer's notes and after reading the law, determined you had not actualy violated the law.

This is exactly how the system is supposed to work, and I am happy it worked out for you. ;)

If you look at the Austin city budget, I bet you will see that traffic fines are less than 1% of income. And that goes into the general fund. Cops in larger towns and cities are not interested in income generation for the cities. As you saw, many, many cases are found not guilty or dismissed.

Exercize your rights.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 11:54:40 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 12:10:41 PM EDT
Nice work, DPeacher! Sounds like a BS stop to begin with. Too bad you had to go through so much hassle.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 1:02:11 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 1:04:03 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 1:28:03 PM EDT

Originally Posted By txinvestigator:
...This is exactly how the system is supposed to work, and I am happy it worked out for you. ;)




Well, I have to say that it appears that the court system worked OK. But the police system needs some adjustment. I think we would have a better system if the accuser had to 'pay up' for falsely accusing another.

I had to put quite a bit of effort into defending myself against the very system that is SUPPOSED to protect me from abuse. I don't believe there is any way for me to be re-compensated for the effort I used to defend myself from false accusations. That just ain't right. If officer friendly knows up front that any ticket or arrest that did not end in a conviction would personally cost him the same amount of payment as the accused would have to pay, then I suspect we would get a better police force.

I am not just poking at the police. I feel the same way about lawsuits too. If average Joe sues average Bob for $10k and loses, then Joe should have to pay all court costs, and pay Bob the $10k, AND pay for Bob's lawyer and all other expenses Bob incurred to defend himself. I can't think of a better way to reduce the amount of frivolous lawsuits.

But I'm just a hard ass when it comes to 'fair play'.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 1:32:16 PM EDT
well done Peacherman. Glad you were able to deny that pinko town some more revenue.

TXL
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 1:44:25 PM EDT
'All's Well That Ends Well', I say!



Way to go, Perry Mason !

Eric The(HappyHappy)Hun
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 1:49:15 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DPeacher:

I don't know for sure the reason(s) my case was dismissed. Maybe the APD officer that wrote the ticket did not show. Maybe the prosecutor actually reviewed the evidence with the APD officer and decided that they did not want to get their asses kicked in court by yours truly. I don't and most likely never will know for sure just what made the prosecutor decide to drop the charges.



Of course, had you sent in your payment for the ticket, I doubt it would have been returned to you as they intended to drop the case.....
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 2:23:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By RenegadeX:

Originally Posted By DPeacher:

I don't know for sure the reason(s) my case was dismissed. Maybe the APD officer that wrote the ticket did not show. Maybe the prosecutor actually reviewed the evidence with the APD officer and decided that they did not want to get their asses kicked in court by yours truly. I don't and most likely never will know for sure just what made the prosecutor decide to drop the charges.



Of course, had you sent in your payment for the ticket, I doubt it would have been returned to you as they intended to drop the case.....



Since sending in the payment is essentially a guilty plea, Why would they drop it?

D, send me the call number, (starts with "05"- Julian date and a 4 digit case number. It's on the cite) and I'll tell you where the officer was at. (assuming it wasn't dismissed because the court lost the affdavit again)
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 3:06:46 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 3:22:55 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/19/2005 3:23:15 PM EDT by supersix4]

Originally Posted By DVDTracker:
Good job!

Back when my wife and I were dating, I was taking her home late one night. We had stopped at a red light at a 3-way intersection. We waited a long, long time for the light to change and it hadn't, so it appeared to be malfunctioning. There was no traffic coming in either direction, so I started to proceed through the light. Just as I do, a cop turns onto the street two blocks behind me, lights me up and gives me a ticket for running a red light.

Fast forward to my court date. The judge asks for my side (bad light, no traffic so I went through). He asks the cop if I was endangering anyone. "No sir, there was no traffic, and in fact the light had been malfunctioning all day". Judge dismissed the case.

WTF? I certainly understand pulling someone over for running a light to check for a drunk driver, stolen car, etc. It defies logic to ticket someone for running a light that you know to be malfunctioning unless you're just trying to collect more money for the city.




"to protect and serve"
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 3:37:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DPeacher:

Originally Posted By txinvestigator:
...This is exactly how the system is supposed to work, and I am happy it worked out for you. ;)




Well, I have to say that it appears that the court system worked OK. But the police system needs some adjustment. I think we would have a better system if the accuser had to 'pay up' for falsely accusing another.

I had to put quite a bit of effort into defending myself against the very system that is SUPPOSED to protect me from abuse. I don't believe there is any way for me to be re-compensated for the effort I used to defend myself from false accusations. That just ain't right. If officer friendly knows up front that any ticket or arrest that did not end in a conviction would personally cost him the same amount of payment as the accused would have to pay, then I suspect we would get a better police force.

I am not just poking at the police. I feel the same way about lawsuits too. If average Joe sues average Bob for $10k and loses, then Joe should have to pay all court costs, and pay Bob the $10k, AND pay for Bob's lawyer and all other expenses Bob incurred to defend himself. I can't think of a better way to reduce the amount of frivolous lawsuits.

But I'm just a hard ass when it comes to 'fair play'.



You would have zero enforcement of ANY law. Remember a LEO does not have to charge you when guilty or when there is 100% proof of a crime or violation, only upon Probable Cause. The rest is for the courts. As it should be.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 4:11:27 PM EDT

Originally Posted By txinvestigator:

Originally Posted By DPeacher:

Originally Posted By txinvestigator:
...This is exactly how the system is supposed to work, and I am happy it worked out for you. ;)




Well, I have to say that it appears that the court system worked OK. But the police system needs some adjustment. I think we would have a better system if the accuser had to 'pay up' for falsely accusing another...




You would have zero enforcement of ANY law. Remember a LEO does not have to charge you when guilty or when there is 100% proof of a crime or violation, only upon Probable Cause. The rest is for the courts. As it should be.



Yeah, you are probably correct about the zero enforcement part. I still believe there should be some form of compensation to the unjustly accused. If nothing else, the court should order the officer to take some remedial training without pay that covers the area of the law where the officer shows some confusion. For all I know, that officer writes 3 citations a day for 545.058, and NONE of them are valid, but the sheeple get fleeced and the observant citizens get fucked with anyway. I don't think that type of behavior reflects very well on a professional police force.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 4:33:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By EricTheHun:
'All's Well That Ends Well', I say!



Way to go, Perry Mason !

Eric The(HappyHappy)Hun



Thanks Wayne! I am happy with the outcome, but I would have preferred to have gone to trial and received the JUDGE'S decision. This 'victory' feels very hollow, unresolved for the moment.

Maybe I should look at this like being called out by the school bully to duke it out after school, and then having the bully puss out and not show up? In the long run I guess it does not really matter. No one present in that courtroom today can even remember my name right now. All water under the bridge..... Indeed, all's well that ends well.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 4:45:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DPeacher:
Yeah, you are probably correct about the zero enforcement part. I still believe there should be some form of compensation to the unjustly accused. If nothing else, the court should order the officer to take some remedial training without pay that covers the area of the law where the officer shows some confusion. For all I know, that officer writes 3 citations a day for 545.058, and NONE of them are valid, but the sheeple get fleeced and the observant citizens get fucked with anyway. I don't think that type of behavior reflects very well on a professional police force.



I don't doubt that happens hundreds of times every single day...
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 5:40:37 PM EDT
Good on ya!!

It's a damn shame that you had to put in the time and effort to prove that you were innocent though. I too, think you should be compensated for your time and out of pocket expenses.





Link Posted: 12/19/2005 6:10:37 PM EDT
Rock on D!
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 6:11:56 PM EDT
Congrats
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 6:49:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Zhukov:
Good for you! Glad it worked out...



+1

It was all that stress relief on Sat at TV that had you ready to kick some ass !

At least you were well prepared..

Done that and won it too a few times with pics !

Now you have more money for ammo.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 11:26:24 AM EDT
Congrats!!!!!

Every single time I have been cited for a traffic violation, except for one.... I was guilty.

I always just pleaded "no contest" and paid the fines. I dont have a real problem with that.... I know the law, and I was breaking it at the time. I have since learned to just slow down.

I wish I would have fought the other one... a speeding ticket when I was not speeding, but everyone else around me was hauling ass.

Next time, I will. I STILL get angry about being wrongfully accused, and the cop coulda cared less..... and that was 15 years ago. I just paid it, thinking I would lose going against "the man" anyway....

Only other citation I fought was for a noise violation. I got cited twice and the secodn citation was a pure lie by the officer. I went to court, pled my case.... and the judge really didnt care. My citations were for $400 EACH. I explained my story.... and felt I was guilty of the first one (party) but not the second (everyone was gone). He refused to drop the charges on the second one... but he agreed to reduce the fines to $100 each. I could live with that.


Dpeacher you are my hero.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 11:27:09 AM EDT
Now take all that money you saved.... and buy yourself a damned membership!
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 11:54:09 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Zhukov:

Originally Posted By DPeacher:
Yeah, you are probably correct about the zero enforcement part. I still believe there should be some form of compensation to the unjustly accused. If nothing else, the court should order the officer to take some remedial training without pay that covers the area of the law where the officer shows some confusion. For all I know, that officer writes 3 citations a day for 545.058, and NONE of them are valid, but the sheeple get fleeced and the observant citizens get fucked with anyway. I don't think that type of behavior reflects very well on a professional police force.


I don't doubt that happens hundreds of times every single day...


That never happens with firearms law.......
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 11:58:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FALARAK:
<snip>
I wish I would have fought the other one... a speeding ticket when I was not speeding, but everyone else around me was hauling ass.

Next time, I will. I STILL get angry about being wrongfully accused, and the cop coulda cared less..... and that was 15 years ago. I just paid it, thinking I would lose going against "the man" anyway....

<snip>


Glad to know I'm not the only one still stewing over "speeding when not speeding" stuff. It was three or four years ago, and I still wish I'd have fought that one. (Actually, I tried to, but not very hard).
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 12:02:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DPeacher:
I am not just poking at the police. I feel the same way about lawsuits too. If average Joe sues average Bob for $10k and loses, then Joe should have to pay all court costs, and pay Bob the $10k, AND pay for Bob's lawyer and all other expenses Bob incurred to defend himself. I can't think of a better way to reduce the amount of frivolous lawsuits.

But I'm just a hard ass when it comes to 'fair play'.



It's a concept called "loser pays", and many countries which have some form of this policy do not have many of the frivilous lawsuits we enjoy in this country.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 12:10:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By hrt4me:

Originally Posted By DPeacher:
I am not just poking at the police. I feel the same way about lawsuits too. If average Joe sues average Bob for $10k and loses, then Joe should have to pay all court costs, and pay Bob the $10k, AND pay for Bob's lawyer and all other expenses Bob incurred to defend himself. I can't think of a better way to reduce the amount of frivolous lawsuits.

But I'm just a hard ass when it comes to 'fair play'.


It's a concept called "loser pays", and many countries which have some form of this policy do not have many of the frivilous lawsuits we enjoy in this country.


I'm still trying to decide where I fall on this one. I initially thought this was an excellent idea back in college, but talking to my Con Law prof one day after class gave me another perspective.

His take was that it was "great in theory, but cuts a lot of people out of the process." His explanation was that if, for example, I was to be "wronged" by a corporation or gov't entity with deep pockets, they might "litigate me out of the game," so to speak (can't remember his actual terminology). Essentially, if they have an OJ-caliber team on retainer, and I can just afford a small-town, so-so lawyer, I might get stuck with a huge bill. I'm not explaining it correctly here, but if someone else wants to elaborate, I'd be thankful for the help.

Note: I'm not saying I am for or against it, just offering another perspective.

Bottom line: If it ever catches on here, the "devil" will truly be in the details of the implementation.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 3:21:05 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 4:01:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By wise_jake:

Originally Posted By hrt4me:

Originally Posted By DPeacher:
I am not just poking at the police. I feel the same way about lawsuits too. If average Joe sues average Bob for $10k and loses, then Joe should have to pay all court costs, and pay Bob the $10k, AND pay for Bob's lawyer and all other expenses Bob incurred to defend himself. I can't think of a better way to reduce the amount of frivolous lawsuits.

But I'm just a hard ass when it comes to 'fair play'.


It's a concept called "loser pays", and many countries which have some form of this policy do not have many of the frivilous lawsuits we enjoy in this country.


I'm still trying to decide where I fall on this one. I initially thought this was an excellent idea back in college, but talking to my Con Law prof one day after class gave me another perspective.

His take was that it was "great in theory, but cuts a lot of people out of the process." His explanation was that if, for example, I was to be "wronged" by a corporation or gov't entity with deep pockets, they might "litigate me out of the game," so to speak (can't remember his actual terminology). Essentially, if they have an OJ-caliber team on retainer, and I can just afford a small-town, so-so lawyer, I might get stuck with a huge bill. I'm not explaining it correctly here, but if someone else wants to elaborate, I'd be thankful for the help.

Note: I'm not saying I am for or against it, just offering another perspective.

Bottom line: If it ever catches on here, the "devil" will truly be in the details of the implementation.



Equal access to the courts and the legal system is certainly a valid consideration. I think a sound implementation of such a concept would take into account any David-v.-Goliath situations, so people would have a chance to litigate against large companies and corporations or other large defendants with deep pockets. The "loser pays" concept is sound in civil actions for parties on (relatively) equal footing financially.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 4:05:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TheRedGoat:

Originally Posted By FALARAK:



Dpeacher you are my hero.



Watch your six, DP.

TRG



What's the matter TRG? Do I detect a hint of jelousy? Are you afraid of the competition?
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 4:21:04 PM EDT
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