When Traffic Court gets ugly
September 22, 2008 12:40 PM Subscribe
So I went to traffic court last week in the city of Los Angeles. I spent a week preparing for it. And I lost. And it got ugly. Largely because of a Judge Pro-Tem who went to town on me because I tried to fight my case. It was so ugly I’m springing the $86.50 it costs these days to get a copy of the tape. So my question is, now that I've lost, what are my options? (much much more inside)
posted by rileyray3000 to law & government (21 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
So I was ticketed for making a U-turn in a business district. I picked up the book "Fight Your Ticket and Win in California" and, following the instructions in the book, proceeded to build my case. I took google maps pictures proving from where the officer turned around, he could not possibly have seen me, I prepared objections to the officer's reading of his notes, I took pictures of the area he said was a double line on the ticket and blew them up 13x19 to prove it was not the case. I made a list of questions to ask in court of the officer.
Then I got there. And it all went to hell.
In fairness, the book didn't cover judge pro-tems. As others have told me since, they're usually lawyers who've been given a slot in the traffic court to handle the overflow of cases and are usually a lot less schooled in the traffic laws.
My very first question for the judge was "have there been any amendments to the ticket?" as instructed and after that it all went downhill. Literally EVERY SINGLE THING I DID he hated me for. When I raised an objection to the officer reading from his notes, I never even got to cite the evidence code for my objection. What I got was
"THIS IS NOT YOUR COURTOOM! THIS IS MY COURTROOM!"
Under questioning the officer misidentified my car as an Acura (it's an Audi) he admitted he wrote the wrong Vehicle Code for the ticket and he said there was no left turn lane at the area when overhead photos showed there was.
And every single thing I got him to admit just got him more and more steamed at me. IN the end he decided against me and, in keeping with the decisions of People V. Wozniak and People v Enochs I requested traffic school. He denied my request because I had "wasted the court's time"
So my question is, what do I do now?
1) I've got a point on my license. is there anything I can do about that? From appealing the conviction to the sneaky (applying for a driver's license in another state and then changing it back in 6 months).
2) Who do I complain to about this guy? I mean he was horrible. He literally interpreted my bringing materials to fight my case as a slap in his face. He acted as prosecutor and a hostile one at that.
3) Is there anything else I can or should do for some sort of moral victory if there's nothing else left? Like post the judge's tirade's to the internet in some way? Or get some consumer reporters in there to cover the fact that the baliffs are telling people unless they ask for traffic school they can't be considered for it after the fact (which is completely untrue).
4) I make a good living and, from my first experience ever with it, I'm morally outraged. Is this the sort of thing I should be fighting against on general principle because I have the means?