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Tag Archives: law

I Am The Scofflaw Man

26 Oct

October 26, 2017

I got a letter from the DMV the other day. Apparently I owed some money for an unpaid parking ticket. OK, it happens. I don’t usually get parking tickets and I pay them when I do but I guess one slipped by.

The letter informed me that I had to pay it by a certain date or my registration would be suspended. Again, OK. I’ll just pay it. How much? The letter didn’t say. It directed me to a website.

I went to the website and it asked me to enter the summons number. OK, I’ll just go back to the letter and see what it says.

It said nothing, No summons number.

So the website was useless and the letter almost as bad. It had a phone number which I called and when I asked how much money I owed I was told to check the website. I told them I needed a summons number. They told me to check the previous letter they sent. I told them I did not receive a previous letter. They told me to check the website. And so it went. Whoopee.

Being unable to make a payment because I had no clue what I had to pay, I had no choice but to request a hearing. There, I figured, they could tell me what I had to pay and I’d pay it.

But that makes too much sense.

I went to the hearing, where I explained to the judge that I knew I owed money and I fully intended to pay. I explained that I couldn’t find any information anywhere from anyone about how much I owed and I was forced to request a hearing just to find out. She informed me that the purpose of the hearing was merely to discover if I had been sent the proper notices. I said I did not receive any prior notices. The representative from the state showed the judge copies of letters I never received. Since they had mailing receipts the judge ruled that I was properly served. Guilty.

But that’s fine. I got a ticket and I knew I had to pay it. That’s what I came for. So Your Honor, how much do I owe?

She didn’t know. And the state’s representative didn’t know either. He had copies of letters that he submitted to the court but very unhelpfully did not provide me any copies. But since none of those had late fines included they would be moot anyway. So I knew I had to pay, and the judge ordered me to pay, and I was ready and prepared to pay. But NO ONE COULD TELL ME HOW MUCH I HAD TO PAY.

After the hearing, which only took five minutes and I was in and out of the DMV office in less than twenty minutes, I was given a phone number of an office where they would finally be able to tell me how much I owed. This number was only available to people who had a hearing. Why I couldn’t call it weeks before is anyone’s guess. But at least I knew how much I had to pay.

It was $68.

All that nonsense because the state could not print a summons number and an amount due on their notice.

Some time back there was a bill up for vote in Congress and they were given copies of the bill, which numbered hundreds of pages, mere minutes before the vote. The Democratic leadership told them (look it up, this happened) they’d have to vote for the bill so they could find out what was in it.

I had to plead guilty to find out what I was pleading guilty to.

The system is nuts.

 

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The Illogical People’s Court

11 Sep

September 11, 2015

My  Photoshop skills in effect!

My Photoshop skills in effect!

Mercy me, but I watch The People’s Court on TV every day. I record it on my TiVo and watch it late at night. Recently, there was a case that befuddled my sleepless brain. It had nothing to do with either my lack of sleep or any legal complexities the case presented.

As I understood it, the defendant was selling a broken printer on eBay. The plaintiff bid on it and won. The defendant, suspicious that anyone would want to buy his broken printer, canceled the sale. And that was it. The defendant prettied up the defense with accusations of harassment (the plaintiff actually dared to contact him to ask why the sale was canceled) but in the end he won because he had some odd eBay rules on his side.

It was a perfect logical trap. He wanted to sell his broken printer, but he believed that anyone who would want his broken printer would have to be up to no good, and he wouldn’t sell his printer to anyone like that. Given those circumstances it was impossible for him to sell the printer he wanted to sell.

The judge, perplexed by the defendant, asked him if he was still willing to sell the printer to the plaintiff if the plaintiff was still interested in buying it. The plaintiff was. But even after the judge offered to draft an agreement that left the defendant totally without any legal responsibility if anything at all went wrong (And what could go wrong? No one seemed to know.) the defendant still felt “something suspicious” about the whole thing and kept his printer.

Why did the plaintiff want the printer in the first place? The printer was an industrial printer and the plaintiff was a printer repairman. He was sure he could fix it and sell the printer at a profit, so he took the defendant to court to get the sale of the printer reinstated. He went home with nothing.

The defendant kept his broken printer, which he could have sold for $158, and went home with his belief that there was “something suspicious” about the sale.

How do people have time to go to court for nonsense like this? And worse, why would they agree to put this sideshow on TV? I don’t get it.

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