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Old 09-23-2011, 04:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Angry Supreme Court Approves Charging Innocent Ticket Recipients

It's all about the money...

When will the people say enough is enough...???


Massachusetts: Supreme Court Approves Charging Innocent Ticket Recipients


Massachusetts: Supreme Court Approves Charging Innocent Ticket Recipients
Innocent drivers can be charged $75 to fight a traffic ticket, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled.

Motorists issued a traffic ticket in Massachusetts will have to pay money to the state whether or not they committed the alleged crime. According to a state supreme court ruling handed down yesterday, fees are to be imposed even on those found completely innocent. The high court saw no injustice in collecting $70 from Ralph C. Sullivan after he successfully fought a $100 ticket for failure to stay within a marked lane.

Bay State drivers given speeding tickets and other moving violations have twenty days either to pay up or make a non-refundable $20 payment to appeal to a clerk-magistrate. After that, further challenge to a district court judge can be had for a non-refundable payment of $50. Sullivan argued that motorists were being forced to pay "fees" not assessed on other types of violations, including drug possession. He argued this was a violation of the Constitution's Equal Protection clause, but the high court justices found this to be reasonable.

"We conclude that there is a rational basis for requiring those cited for a noncriminal motor vehicle infraction alone to pay a filing fee and not requiring a filing fee for those contesting other types of civil violations," Justice Ralph D. Gants wrote for the court. "Where the legislature provides greater process that imposes greater demands on the resources of the District Court, it is rational for the legislature to impose filing fees, waivable where a litigant is indigent, to offset part of the additional cost of these judicial proceedings."

The court insisted that allowing a hearing before a clerk-magistrate instead of an assistant clerk, as well as allowing a de novo hearing before a judge constituted benefits that justified the cost. Last year, the fees for the clerk-magistrate hearings generated $3,678,620 in revenue for the courts. Although Sullivan raised the issue of due process during oral argument, the court would not rule on the merits of that issue.

"I am disappointed that the SJC did not consider my due process argument," Sullivan told TheNewspaper. "I suppose that some other driver who gets charged with a moving violation will need to consider doing that. At least this decision will give them a blueprint for a focused due process argument."

Sullivan, an attorney, is not planning on further appeal to the US Supreme Court.

"While the decision did not go my way, I am safe in the knowledge that I gave it my best shot," Sullivan said. "I took on this case because I felt that it was the right thing to do."

Source: Salem Police Department v. Sullivan (Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, 9/21/2011)

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Old 09-23-2011, 05:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Incredible. Innocent people shouldn't pay anything to prove their innocence. The state should pay them for putting them through the ordeal.
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Had a license plate stolen once off a boat trailer. State says I have to buy a new plate.
Same carp. I guess my offense was owning a boat trailer.

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Old 09-23-2011, 05:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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...already stated: "...it's all about the MONEY..."
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Old 09-23-2011, 08:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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In general, this is why we need a loser pays system.
Stops the frivolous tickets and lawsuits.
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Old 09-23-2011, 09:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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In general, this is why we need a loser pays system.
Stops the frivolous tickets and lawsuits.
I strongly disagree. Loser pays would work if the system was fair, which it isn't. It's stacked so the rich win. Money is what got OJ acquitted. Money is what let Exxon avoid paying the fishermen whose livelihoods it ruined, for ~20 years, and money is what let Exxon pay pennies on the dollar of the original judgment.
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Old 09-24-2011, 12:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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We continue with the death penalty after dozens have been released from Death Row after exculpatory DNA evidence is recognized by the court. Tough luck for those for whom evidentiary materials have been destroyed. Loser pays, indeed.

American access to the courts is no better than in Mexico or Albania, those shining beacons of democracy at work. Tacking on "court fees" or whatever name they give it is the just the usual insult on top of injury. The next will be an hourly fee apportioned for the time the LEO takes in writing the ticket.

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Old 09-25-2011, 02:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
The next will be an hourly fee apportioned for the time the LEO takes in writing the ticket.
Sadly, you're probably right...

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Old 09-28-2011, 02:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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That's nothing:

$20 traffic ticket? More like $150

Quote:
Over the years, penalty assessments have grown to $26 for every $10 of base fine. Today, a $20 fine is increased by $52 in penalty assessments. But wait there's more. After the penalty assessments are tacked on, there is a 20 percent surcharge, or another $4 on a $20 base fine. On top of that, there is a court security fee of $30, plus the conviction assessment of $35. And don't forget the $1 night court fee, which you pay whether you go to night court or not. All together, the penalty assessments, fees and surcharge jack up the cost of a $20 ticket to $142.
Of the $20 base fine, 83 percent goes to the city where the violation occurred. Another 15 percent goes to the county, and 2 percent goes toward court automation. Next, there's the state penalty assessment of $10 per every $10 of base fine. For a $20 base fine, the state penalty assessment is $20. Most of this money goes to various state funds, including the Victim Witness Assistance Fund, the Restitution Fund and the Peace Officers Training Fund. Some goes to the county. There's also the county penalty assessment of $7 for every $10 of base fine. For a $20 base fine, the county penalty assessment is $14. This money goes to the county. On top of that, there's an assessment of $5 for every $10 of base fine for the State Court Facilities Construction Fund. This adds $10 to a $20 base fine.

WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?

Of the $20 base fine, 83 percent goes to the city where the violation occurred. Another 15 percent goes to the county, and 2 percent goes toward court automation. Next, there's the state penalty assessment of $10 per every $10 of base fine. For a $20 base fine, the state penalty assessment is $20. Most of this money goes to various state funds, including the Victim Witness Assistance Fund, the Restitution Fund and the Peace Officers Training Fund. Some goes to the county. There's also the county penalty assessment of $7 for every $10 of base fine. For a $20 base fine, the county penalty assessment is $14. This money goes to the county. On top of that, there's an assessment of $5 for every $10 of base fine for the State Court Facilities Construction Fund. This adds $10 to a $20 base fine. Then there are separate assessments of $2 for every $10 of base fine for the DNA Identification Fund and the County Emergency Medical Services Fund. Together, they add another $4 on a $20 base fine. The 20 percent surcharge ($4 on the original $20 fine) goes to the state's general fund. Finally, the court security fee, conviction assessment fee and night court fee, which together add another $66, regardless of the amount of the base fine, go to fund the courts.
At least 30 states also add surcharges and assessments to fines for criminal or traffic violations, but California appears to be the leader. With the state looking at a $20 billion budget deficit, don't expect these additional fees to go away.
Other states:

New Jersey - The fine includes about $30 in court costs; you'll pay additional costs if you challenge the ticket in court and lose. One dollar of the fine goes to a fund that buys bulletproof vests for police, $1 goes to a fund for spinal-cord injury research and 50 cents goes to a training fund for emergency medical technicians.

West Virginia - Generally, the base ticket cost for speeders who are caught going 1 to 9 mph over the speed limit is $115.25. Just $5 of that is the fine for speeding. Court costs take up another $10. The rest of the ticket cost goes to bolster state funds or programs -- $40 to build and maintain regional jails, $43.25 to defray costs of running the jails, $10 to aid crime victims, $5 to help with costs of running state courts, and $2 toward training costs at the state police academy.

I've read about radio usage fees, radar calibration fees, you name it.
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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This is just another form of taxation or "User Fees".

Given the number of unemployed lawyers, we will see more of this nonsense.

Remember that Judges are lawyers too. They will agree to any fee base that keeps them employed.

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