Friday, February 26, 2010

The People vs Chris Mancini

I never thought I’d hear those words. Instead of being intimidated, I have to say it was kinda cool. I felt like a supervillain who had just taken over Australia and then thought about giving it to Lex Luthor in exchange for Superman’s whereabouts.

Sadly, I hadn’t taken over anything. I chose to do an arraignment for traffic court. Of course my first thought was The People vs. Me? Which people and how many? Really, that many people against me? Seriously?

I had gotten a ridiculous, bullshit speeding ticket last year. Here’s the story:

So instead of shutting up and paying the fine and then paying even more money for traffic school, I did what they don’t want you to do: I went to fight it. AND I didn’t do it through the mail. I wanted the four star treatment. I was going to do the whole show. I was going to schedule an arraignment then I was going to face my accuser in a court of law. Pretty dramatic stuff for going 40 miles an hour in a 45 zone. Yes, that’s right I was going 5 BELOW the speed limit but since it was a school zone, it was 25 since there were some high schoolers milling around. But there was no sign and it’s nonsense. So I ain’t goin’ down without a fight.

I had done this before to please guilty once where I HAD been speeding, trying to get to the Rite-Aid to get my sick daughter medicine. (not kidding, cop didn’t care) It didn’t help that my daughter had, after a morning of loud crying from ear pain, decided to fall into a quiet sound sleep right before I got pulled over.

So I was at the courthouse early and brought a book. These things take time. The guy next to me didn’t realize that. They called his name, he checked in, and 10 minutes later he muttered “This is bullshit” and then just walked out and left. Now, I’m no legal expert but I’m pretty sure after you check in with the court clerk and announce yourself present that you shouldn’t just kinda getup and leave. I’m just saying.

The clerk/bailiff (he was doing both functions) encouraged people to plead guilty (the judge can reduce your fine!) was the sales pitch. Sorry, jerks. I’m not buying your snake oil. I have rights, and I’m going to use them for as long as I can to cost this court and the cop’s precinct the most money. If you’re going to harass me, I’m going to make it cost you. Even in this minor, small way. Little victories. Count them out.

The judge called my name and mentioned all the people that were against me. The people vs. Damn. That’s a lot of people. The judge looked at looked at me like I was a jerk for saying “not guilty”. He asked me if I understood the charge and that I was eligible for traffic school. Yes and yes, and he was not going to intimidate me into changing my mind. He did do me a favor and waive the “bail” which is the amount of the ticket so I didn’t have to pay anything up front. Another way they try to screw you is they take your money first and then if you win then you get a refund many weeks later.

So I went to the cashier and waited again, which I knew I would. I was not disappointed. After another considerable delay the cashier called my name and I scheduled a court date. This was an early morning cop and while I couldn’t get night court I asked for afternoon so at least they would have to pay him overtime. And I was able to push it to June.

I am going through the whole process for a number of reasons. The first one obviously is that this ticket is bullshit and I am fighting it. But a second one presented itself. I wanted to see how the whole thing plays out if you do the opposite of what they want you to do. I got the ticket in November, and after scheduling the court date I am not even appearing until June, and I haven’t paid a thing. That’s around eight months after I received the ticket.

I have my pictures of the intersection and the road with no school zone sign in sight and it will be interesting to see how this plays out. At worst, I’ll get a few more posts out of it.


Badass Geek said...

Stick it to the Man, I say.

Eric said...

This is why they have those black screens on Law and Order, because it takes forever.

SciFi Dad said...

I think the cop is stalking the guy's wife, and when he pulled him over he did not expect to find the hairy husband, so he gave him a ticket. At least that's what would happen on L&O.

Anonymous said...

You should figure out how much interest you are earning on the money you could have paid when you initially got the ticket, then compare it with how much your fighting it is COSTING the "people."

Mala said...

I once got pulled over by a crossing guard... is that even legal? Damn, I should have fought that.

You go! The people will be sorry they ever messed with you!

Maryellen Hooper said...

Well, if you're going to do this, go all the way: 1. Cut your hair short. 2. Buy a suit. 3. Pretend to be "one of them". They only give tickets to "long-haired freaky people". You should film the entire thing, make it a documentary, enter it into a festival and make tons of cash. That would show them.

© Copyright • Chris Mancini • All Rights Reserved • Site by Izzy Design