I want to comment on court costs and issues in court. A few starting points. I am not an attorney, although I did sleep with a woman at a Holiday Inn Express one night, so I know I am a good negotiator. Use everything I or anyone else gives you over the Internet or in person for free as being worth exactly that amount. You need to do your own research and verify not only what you read here, but how it applies in your local jurisdiction.
You have a ticket. Great – now let’s get started
The Police Employee pulling you over is an employee, and has a supervisor, and ultimately is responsible to the municipality and their elected mayor and council members. Names change, but it’s the same. Local government, county government, parish or whatever it’s called. Running that system is the paid government employees who don’t care you got a ticket. They all eventually report up to the elected mayor, freeholders, councilmen, or elders.
The Police Employees costs money per hour, and has a budget to work under. When the Police Employee is sitting on the side of the road, it costs money. If the Police Employee pulls you over, he still gets paid. If the Police Employee calls for a 2nd or 3rd Police Employee to back them up because:
your being profiled
for their safety
your filming them
some departmental policy.
It doesn’t matter why, or how many, they are working and being paid their salary and benefits. Being at a traffic stop and having 5 Police Employees show up doesn’t increase your costs to the local government. Those Police Employees were already working, on the schedule, in their cars burning up fuel costs from that budget.
What you have done it prevented those 2 or 3 Police Employees from pulling someone else over. And that hurts the revenue item in the budget. And that is where you win in this horrible game with the Police Employees, their unions and the duped municipal government officials and the wool over their eyes electorate.
It didn’t cost the town more to have 4 Police Employees and a dog walking all around your car at 2 AM. It might costs the doughnut shop or diner, but not the town. You have to think about how to fight the system and where the trail of money goes. If the Police Employee is on duty, its a baseline cost already in the budget. If you get the Police Employee to come in on overtime to go to Court, that is also budgeted but its a budget that can be exceeded. The Judge and Court officials are being paid to be there. That is in the budget, but if they have to stick around because your case took 3 hours instead of 3 seconds, that increases the strain on the local budget.
Your fine, if your lose, is the only income to offset those costs. The sooner you pay that fine, the more you help feed the system. We don’t feed trolls and we don’t feed the corrupt system going after US Citizens for victim less crimes with excessive force. Why is a Police Employee going after you for doing 30 in a 25 with 3 units for backup? Because their salary pays union dues to lobby and campaign about all the good they do for society. They are spending your money to ask you to pay them more and higher more of their friends.
Immediately go find out what your rights are to fight the ticket, in court, in front of a judge. Find out what the discovery rules are, and start sending out certified mail discovery documents.
Request everything in writing, including
names of all Police Employees on duty at that time
and a very big item is to request notice of all witnesses who will testify at your hearing and all documents that will be presented as evidence at the trial
Those items alone will help you frame what to ask at trial. The Prosecutor gets to present evidence. Make sure you object constantly to anything that wasn’t disclosed ahead of time.
If the Judge wants to allow it, ask for a new court date to give you time to review the materials properly and make a proper legal defense. If the Judge offers you 30 minutes, ask for 30 days.
“Your Honor, I require time to read this new evidence, and prepare a proper defense. Without proper time to prepare a legal defense, how am I going to have a fair trial? I request in accordance with the Court rules and materials from the Prosecutor. The Prosecutor has had ample time to review these materials. Why would I be denied the same?”
A lot of this is sounding long winded, but it does two things. It states, the facts and it forces the Judges hand. That hand can do two things. Agree and give you the time, delaying everything yet again. Or decide against you, and give you an argument at a 2nd hearing or an appeal hearing.
And this point cannot be stressed enough – SPEAK LOUDLY AND CLEARLY. Have all interactions on recording. If you can record, audio or video yourself do it. If the Court requires you to obtain approval to record, ask for it. All of this delays the proceedings, eats up time, and prevents them from getting away with it from other unknowing victims. If you are handed a piece of paper, a document or a photograph, READ ALOUD “Your Honor, I have been handed a photograph from the Court Bailiff, given to her by the Prosecutor, entitled “Some stupid document”.
If it gets thrown at you – IMMEDIATELY AND LOUDLY cry out to the Court for this assault that has occurred. I have personally seen a municipal Prosecutor up on charges, gone to a trial in one local Court, had it moved to another for conflict of Interest, watch the second municipal Judge review the case and send it to a State Superior Court to avoid any conflict of interest, and seen on 2 occasions that Prosecutor have to stand in front of a State Superior Court Judge. It ended up thrown out because my complaints didn’t make it to the final recording and I didn’t have my own video or audio. Is that a win? It was a huge time sync and budget drain. And I had a good time. It was worthy of bringing popcorn to watch an attorney with a moments lack of professionalism find himself on trial facing the end of his career for a stack of papers.
If you are the victim of stacking, fight each charge separately. If you have been given separate tickets with separate charges on them, request discovery on each ticket separately. Using your word processor, Word or Google docs, change the line item, order of your requests and the working so that the Prosecutor’s Office has to do a lot of work, generating billable hours for him – which he won’t mind – but he also has a budget work within.
When it comes time for the trial, you need to be prepared to object to evidence. If you have not gotten discovery request back in a timely fashion, you need to prepare in writing what you are going to say in your own words and have a written motion to dismiss for failure to comply with discovery for each and every charge.
Now, find out what time the court has hours the day of your appearance. If you have to be there at 9AM and it starts at 9AM, go to an earlier day of court to observe the judge, the prosecutor and Police Employee. Talk to people around you who are fighting to compare notes. And politely take the cards if an attorney offers it, but don’t get one.
All you need to go to court is a big of homework, a calm and professional demeanor, and be prepard. An educated US Citizen if a Police Employee’s biggest obstacle.
How does a Prosecutor’s Office work?
They have to do all the work to prove the case. In a criminal trial for murder that could be a lot. For a speeding ticket it could be as simple as talk to the Police Employee and offer you a deal to speed up the process for the night.
See where you cannot change the costs to the municipality and the court to be lower. You CAN make them higher. And for every US Citizen who exercises your rights to a full and fair trial, you delay them from collecting against others. You increase their costs.
A Prosecutor can’t do anything without the Police Employee there. Why settle anything in advance, make them work.
A Prosecutor can’t win if his case gets dismissed for failing to follow the rules of the Court for Discovery. Why would you not spend a few minutes with Google, find samples for your State, and burn a few pieces of paper. In fact, do the work at home, and then print them at your local library if you want. You are paying for that also, so why not use those services.
If 3 Police Employees are witnesses, then send them a summons to appear. This ensures they have to be scheduled for court time. It brings it to their supervisor’s attention. And if you have 3 Police Employees in their cars watching you get a single ticket, have 3 Police Employees sitting in the court room waiting to be called to testify. That’s your Police Employee on the ticket who has to be there. And that’s 2 other Police Employee’s getting paid for court time and not writing other tickets.
This rambling isn’t by any means all inclusive. It’s to help you understand a different angle on this corrupt system where Police Employee’s money from taxpayers goes to their unions to lobby for laws like Click It or Ticket so they can write more tickets to justify more cops and more courtroom time, all of which is paid. It’s a vicious cycle that is fed by public ignorance that being a Police Employee is a dangerous job, and that Police Employees are grossly underpaid.
Your local government is going to question why their court costs budget is going up, and the court revenues aren’t. They are going to question why expenses to the municipal prosecutor are so higher then budget. And they are going to see that revenues from the court and from tickets are down. That leaves them two choices, raise taxes, including on themselves, or reevaluate how much is being wasted on victimless crimes and Police Employee unnecessary salaries.