Your daily Letter to the Columnist — June 11, 2013
The $30 fine could have been contested as there is no evidence that you had not moved the car and returned to the same spot.
i.e., If you had assaulted someone in that spot and it was observed by viable sources, you would have been charged. But if you had assaulted someone again and it was not observed and no complaint was filed, you would not have been charged. A charge requires evidence.
It appears that the $30 fine lacked the evidence to qualify for a civil or criminal violation. If the police did not observe your car for the period following the 30 minute violation, it seems that they were fishing for an infraction rather than having the evidence to issue a $30 ticket.
And of course there is the possibility that the law is applied unequally throughout the city since you do bring up issues that probably raise the hackles of the City Council and police department. This could rise to the level of a class action suit and I am certain that there are many attorneys that would undertake this on a pro bono basis.
In downtown Greenville, S.C., on Main Street, all the parking spaces have been changed to two-hour parking. This eliminates the aggravation and expense of the frequent checks by metering staff. And downtown Greenville is far more attractive and welcoming than downtown Roanoke. And who knows, the welcoming ambience of downtown Greenville might have influenced the BMW management to locate one of the world’s most advanced automotive manufacturing plants in the city. Perhaps that is why Greenville doesn’t need the petty fines and aggravation.
While you were guilty and accept responsibility for the first infraction; the second raises legal questions that would be worth pursuing in the interests of building a city with more enlightened customer service.
While it is challenging and difficult to contest the actions of government agencies and corporations; it can be worthwhile. I took on a major billion-dollar corporation in arbitration as one of its dealers who had been wronged. I met with F. Lee Bailey who turned down the opportunity to pursue the lawsuit so I completed a major brief of about 100 pages of documentation.
The high-powered millionare attorneys of the corporation practically sh– their pants when they read the brief. They even committed perjury in the trial. I won and was awarded punitive and compensatory damages. The presiding judge of the arbitrationcCourt said that the verdict was of a quality that it could be filed as a precedent decision. But the important factor was that future dealers would be protected against capricious and illegal actions by corporations.
So I recommend that you contest the second fine. I assume that your emergency meetings related to the buyout of the Times so emotional distress and temporary insanity could also be a justifiable defense that a reasonable judge would consider.
And I would surmise that once the policy is overturned and everyone else receives their $30 back, you might be receiving some checks in the mail from thankful people. Or you could play the sympathy card and donate the refunds from the city to a worthwhile cause . . . say enlightenment classes for the City Council or the Neighborhood projects of Bob Clements.