Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Flabbergasted!


Flabbergasted! That's what I am.  Just flabbergasted!

Yesterday, I went to court for the speeding ticket that I had blogged about a month or so ago.  The officer testified that he registered a gray car in the far left lane closest to the median and farthest from him.  He also testified, that no cars were around me.  I called my witness, who was in the car with me. She was not allowed in court during the officer's testimony.  I asked her, which lane was I in? She answered, the far right lane closest to the state trooper.  I asked, how much traffic was on the road?  She said cars were speeding around us.  One of those cars was a gray Ford Fusion in the farthest lane over.  She also testified that I was going the speed limit and that she keeps a close eye on both the speedometer and the surrounding traffic.  The prosecutor made a smart ass comment about how she could see two things at once, when I reminded the judge that being able to see what was in front and around was called peripheral vision.  He agreed with me. Remember, she had not heard the previous testimony and backed up everything I said. After her testimony and mine, the prosecutor called back the officer.  The prosecutor, who was not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, did catch on to my line of questioning and realized that his witness had made a number of mistakes.  So he asked the officer if he ever lost sight of me after he had me in his sights.  The officer said he never lost sight of me.  I asked him how that was possible when he was behind his vehicle and I lost sight of him.  The judge agreed that there was no way he kept his eyes on me the whole time.  He then asked if I wanted to testify.  I said that I did, and I told my story, just as it happened.  Then the judge asked if there were any further testimony or questions....

When no one had anything else to add, the judge said he found me guilty.  What the hell!!!  The officer was clearly unable to tell which car was which.  He could not remember what lane I was in, and he lied about losing sight of me.  The judge agreed with me on each and every point.  So how the hell did he find me guilty?  The prosecutor was able to prove nothing.  I was told that I could appeal it and go before a the circuit court and receive a jury trial.  If I did this though, I'd have to pay a $400 bond for the appeal.  I knew I could not try this on my own in circuit court, and I couldn't pay the $400, so I paid the $200 for the ticket and left the court.

I can't begin to describe my disappointment in the Alabama judicial system.  It was an absolute farce.  It would not have mattered if I could have had Jesus Christ himself testify on my behalf, the judge would have still ruled against me.

14 comments:

Coop said...

The judge is probably married to the cop's sister or something. If he wants food and a bed...

Unfortunately this does nothing to disprove the stereotypes about the south.

Robert said...

Wow. I'm really stunned by this, but I honestly shouldn't be so surprised. Sigh. Sorry for your loss in court. I know you fought the good fight.

SEAN (The Jeep Guy) said...

I wonder if other commenters are having the same problem I am. I write two or three sentences and then the page refreshes (or something) and everything I wrote is gone. I don't have this problem on any other blog.

SEAN (The Jeep Guy) said...

I'm sorry you lost. I think this proves the "blue code" more than a southern stereotype. I know the bond and lawyer would cost a lot but how much will paying the ticket and the increased insurance rate (for years) likely cost you?

David K. Popham said...

Just reminds me that ours is not a "justice" system but a retribution system. Sorry to hear.

naturgesetz said...

I'm not sure what is more upsetting, that perjury is routine in our courts (that trooper was far from unique — once the police think they've figured out who committed a crime, often they'll do whatever they have to to get a conviction) or that judges accept clearly perjured testimony. Some judges are biased in favor of the police; a few for the defendants. (There has been a notorious case in Boston of a judge who almost never convicts a drunk driver, no matter how strong the evidence. The judicial discipline system did all they had to in order to avoid finding any misconduct.)

The way I've put it is that our court system is a game the lawyers* play for fun and profit. Justice is irrelevant.

*Judges are lawyers, too, so they're also playing the game.

JiEL said...

I use to call the «Court house of Justice» in french, «Le palais de l'INJUSTICE».. The Palace of UNJUSTICE....
Not sure about the translation but the main idea is that it's like a lotery and that you're at the mercy of a good or bad judge....
A question of «luck»....

In Canada, the justice system is not much better too...

We have a famous case here, this year, were a father killed his two cute children... He said he was intoxicated and in a bad psychological state.... HE WAS LIBERATED... After few months in a psychiatric facilitiy....

JUSTICE..... (??).....

Take care and get over it... $200 is not much to have had that «BAD» experience..

Mind Of Mine said...

This was one of those situations, where the title of your post predicted doom, but the tone of your post suggest a joyous outcome and then bam! You are back to doom and gloom.

Jay M. said...

I'm not stunned. Some judges simply will not disagree with a cop. Doesn't matter if it's speeding or murder. You got screwed. Period.

Peace <3
Jay

David Jeffreys said...

I think you should make your case as public as possible on TV and in the local newspapers (letters to the editor, etc.) including naming names of the judge, prosecutor, and patrolman. Tell your story there as you did here in this blog.

David Jeffreys said...

no problem, but I do have to wait longer than usual on this blog after I click on comments for the comments to appear.

Jay M. said...

Yep, something in the sidebars is slow loading and forcing a refresh of the page. Happens to me almost every time if I forget to wait and extra 10-15 seconds for it to load. It could be the polls, the etsy ad, the map at the bottom (most likely, those 3rd party thingies aren't known for performance), but something is doing it...
Jay

raulito said...

I live in Florida, you live in Alabama...I suppose that is one of the many disadvantages and the price we have to pay to live on the verge of civilization.
I had a similar situation a few years back in Miami. Only it was a squad car speeding up the 826. Found out they were doing this 20 or 30 or more times a night and most people would pay the $290 and accept the points on the license.
I showed up in court and the butch female trooper did not.
But I am sure it would have gone the same way as yours did had she showed up.
saludos,
raulito

Mike said...

Ridiculous. It's so ridiculous sometimes.