Posted: February 18, 2005 in Uncategorized

Well, 2 months worth of aggrivation has been replaced by a mixed sense of relief, annoyance, and satisfaction in being proven that the legal system has its head up its ass.

Flash back to a cold December evening. Shel and I are just finishing the incredibly tedious drive back from Salem, and I opt to cut through the tiny town of Coburg (“Worthless Crap Shop Capitol Of The World”) to drop everyone off. Just as I’m about to enter the intersection with the one and only traffic light in the town, I keep my eye on the traffic light as it turns yellow, and note the cop sitting at the traffic light. Last I see of it, it’s still yellow, so I figure I’m fine.

Wrong.

Driving along, not giving it a tought, I catch a car roaring up behind and weaving around other cars. I figure it’s someone even more anxious than me to get out of Coburg, so I slow it down to let them get on their crazy way. Then bam: flashing lights. Shit.

As I head towards the shoulder, the yellow light barely crosses my mind as why he’d be pulling me over. I’m going over my mental traffic cop checklist:

Headlight out? Nope, I can see both spots of light out in front of me.
Taillight out? Possible, but in a town where most cars have at least one light made of cellophane, I can’t see this as being a big thing.
Seatbelt? Check.
License, registration, and insurance? Check.
Window down to talk? Check.
Bing Crosby Christmas carols blaring, exuding a Rockwellian sense of traditional family values and law-abiding citizenry? Check.

After what seems like enough time for the officer to have looked up my home address, my place of birth, my 3rd grade teacher’s extended family tree, and recombinate my DNA, he wanders up and explains to me that I just ran a red light. I in turn explain to him that you see sir, the light never turned red sir, I just drove through a yellow light sir, because I didn’t have time to stop sir, thankyousirmayIhaveanother. But he was having none of it, and handed over a ticket. Well, my sense of justice was having none of this, so I plead not guilty and set up a court date.

Flash forward to yesterday around noon. I’ve naturally slacked on all my plans to gather evidence, testimony, the position of the planets at the exact time of the occurance, etc. However, I’ve had 2 months to stew on this, so my defense strategy is already there, I just need the materials. I find the statute pertaining to the case and print it out, highlighting the pertinent sections, I write up a statement for Shelly to sign, and on my lunch break I do some recon, timing how long it takes to travel through the intersection. I’m airtight and ready to Perry Mason this thing.

This being my first court appearance ever, my only expectations are from other people’s stories. I’m expecting a long line of people, shuffling through like they’re in line for Trailblazers tickets (“Okay, all we have left is going 50 in a 35. The jaywalking section is sold out. That’s $180. Next!”). Instead, there’s 6 other people in an otherwise empty courtroom, with two cops sitting off to the side looking bored, an expression I’m sure they’re used to in this town. I recognize mine and my hopes of the infamous “cop never showed” dismissal go out the window.

At 3 things start up, and the starting lineup was making me look golden. A DUI with a court-appointed attourney, another DUI that couldn’t speak enough english to plead guilty or not guilty without using hand signals, and a woman Jeff Foxworthy could use for material. Things moved along at a pretty good clip, and finally it was my turn.

By this point, I’d realized that the black polo shirt was a good call for two reasons: 1) I already outdressed the court reporter, and 2) It wouldn’t show the fact that my upper body was becoming a sweat tributary, emptying winding nervous rivulets into the growing ocean in my shirt. I took a deep breath and walked up to the desk, where I spread out all my papers, replaying episodes of Law and Order in my head to have something to emulate. Unfortunately, I don’t do much justice to Sam Watterson, but I managed throw in some “admissable”, “testimony”, and “not at this time, your honor” and make it sound convincing.

Luckily I managed to assemble enough credibility to bypass the cop’s testimony that I ran a red light, and after several reviews of the statute, the judge finally had to simply admit he was making a judgement call, rather than following the letter of the law. Unfortunately, the judge was of the opinion that locking up the brakes and coming to a screeching halt in the intersection was safer than spending a split second in the intersection while the light was red, and I had to shell out $237 that, given the Coburg police department is currently under investigation for racketeering, I really don’t think they need.

But at least I never have to go back to Coburg ever again. And neither should you.

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Comments
  1. acadiabaird says:

    that sucks.
    they really mean it when they say “anything you say can be used against you” i have learned to just crack my window enough to take a ticket and i just don’t say one word. cops in small towns are evil.

    • Reuben says:

      I’m sure I don’t do anything to help myself by talking. I’d like to know how people “get out of” tickets on the spot. I’ve never seen a cop so much as waver in his mission to meet his quota.

  2. Anonymous says:

    that sucks.

    they really mean it when they say “anything you say can be used against you” i have learned to just crack my window enough to take a ticket and i just don’t say one word. cops in small towns are evil.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m sure I don’t do anything to help myself by talking. I’d like to know how people “get out of” tickets on the spot. I’ve never seen a cop so much as waver in his mission to meet his quota.

  3. a_wags says:

    shakeshead
    I guess thats the reason I try to ride everywhere.. f-ing cops.

  4. Anonymous says:

    shakeshead

    I guess thats the reason I try to ride everywhere.. f-ing cops.

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