A Cop, A Judge, A District Attorney, Lies and Me ~ Fighting a Traffic Ticket in the City of Davis, California


I apologize now for the length of this post but MY STORY must be told.

I have always believed in the system, the judicial system that is.  I never had a reason not too, until three years ago last June.

You see, I got a speeding ticket on my way to a final exam.  I thought my test was scheduled for 4:00 PM however the test was actually at 10:30 AM.  It was 10:10 AM when I discovered this. 

I had to get across town in twenty minutes, find a parking space and buy a scantron.  Easier said than done in a town riddled with 25 and 35 mph speed zones, lots of police who love to write tickets and impossible parking situations at a university.

I went down a road with a 35 mph limit, I was definitely going faster.  Of course, a cop was hiding in the bushes and pulled me over.

He did not have me on radar but said he estimated my speed and asked for my license, insurance etc.

I was in such a panic I did not ask questions, hassle him or beg for his forgiveness.  I just wanted my ticket so I could get to where I was going. 

It was my first ticket in eighteen years, I figured it was my time.  I signed it, threw it in my purse and figured I’d deal with it later.

When I got home I pulled the ticket out.  The officer indicated I had been doing 61 mph in a 35 mph zone.  Ouch.  Impossible really.  There were lots of cars around, I was going uphill and decelerating as I was approaching a red light.

As I looked at the ticket more I noticed the policeman had originally written my speed as 60 mph and changed it to read 61 mph.  Hmmm, why?  I was really clueless since I am not in the habit of getting tickets, I normally drive pretty close to the speed limit.

Then I realized at 61 mph I would be 26 mph over the allowed speed limit (25 mph is the cutoff) for traffic school.  This would also increase the fine ($370) and the charge would be reckless driving.  I was pissed.

First of all, I was not going that fast.  Secondly, there was no way he was able to estimate my speed in his head at the exact number of 61.  He was not following me etc.  He obviously changed the numbers to put me into an elevated speed category.

It was obvious he was out to punish me, which is not the job of a police officer.  That is what court is for.

Truly, I just wanted to pay the ticket.  I was speeding, not as fast as he said but I was speeding.  I was too busy with school and life to deal with this in any other way.

The Wild Boar would have none of that.  Out of principle there was no way he was going to let it go.

He insisted I go to traffic court and at least fight for the right to go to traffic school.  I would have rather stuck a thousand needles in my eyes.  I didn’t want to go even though I knew I should. 

I’ve never been to traffic court and didn’t know what to expect. 

Anyway, I tried fighting the ticket by mail first.  I was found guilty.   However, the court said I still had the right to go to court before a judge.

So about one year later I went to traffic court.  I could have drowned in my own nervous sweat.  People were there fighting their DUI, their DUI with kids in the car and not having their kids in carseats.  Some of these people looked like they had slept in the dirt overnight.  I couldn’t believe they were even let into court looking that way.

The Wild Boar and I were there, totally dressed up.  There were tons of people and tons of cops.  Everyone seemed to have a book with them to read.  Obviously they had been there before.

I wanted to die.  I had no idea what to say or how this court business even worked.  I was praying I would not be first so I could at least get the feel for it.  I think I ended up being fifth or sixth to take the stand.

Anyway, every cop that was there got up and defended his own case.  Of course no one wins except for the cops. 

So it’s my turn.  I stand up and so does the cop along with the FLIPPIN’ deputy district attorney of the county as the prosecutor.

What! He has the D.A. with him to help fight a traffic ticket!  Not one other cop has an attorney with him to help him with his case. 

Great.  I could kill myself right now.  Why is the D.A. helping?  Ugh.

The trial goes on.  I have done my homework and have tons of evidence, video of the street showing there is not proper speed limit signage on the road and lots of case law to quote. 

I think to myself, I just want to go to traffic school.  There is no way that cop got me on speed estimation at exactly 61 mph.  I can fight this and win.

The officer claims right away he had me on radar, which he didn’t.  Even the ticket was written as a pacing ticket (which he didn’t pace either).

I tell the judge the officer did not have me on radar.   However, the judge replied this officer has been a member of the police force for seven or eight years and he has no reason not to trust him.  Kay.  He basically just told me I am the liar.

Anyway, one of the documents required in court is a traffic engineering survey.  This survey indicates the last time the city evaluated that particular road and sets the speed limit.  This proves that the location in question is not a speed trap and blah, blah, blah.  The officer needs to provide this.

So I asked the policeman if he had brought the survey.  It was presented into evidence and given to me to look at.  I stared  at this thing full of drawings, numbers, arrows and words; it looked like a mess.  I had no idea what I was looking at.

Now realize, my stint up at the microphone had now gone on for about 30 minutes while all the other trials lasted about 5 minutes.  Everyone had now put down their books and were intently listening to the grand battle between me, the cop, the D.A. and the judge.  I could feel everyone just staring at my back.

So now I had this traffic survey and it took me about 5-7 minutes to even figure out what the heck I was looking at.  It was an engineering report for gawd’s sake.  It was complicated and while I was looking at it there was complete silence in the courtroom and EVERYONE was staring at me.

I finally grasped what this whole report meant and noticed it was an engineering report alright, but for a whole other part of the street, not where I was accused of speeding.

So I said, “Your Honor, this is not even the right report etc.”

The judge looked slightly but not terribly annoyed and asked the officer if this was the correct survey.

The officer said, “No, I couldn’t find the correct one so I used this other survey instead.”

What! I flipped out (in my mind).  I immediately asked a motion for dismissal since the officer had just turned in false evidence.  I was so mad because if I had not noticed the error no one would have.

The judge ignored me.

Instead he began helping the officer.  He asked the court clerk where the traffic survey book was. 

This was highly inappropriate since the officer was already being represented by a DISTRICT ATTORNEY who should have checked any evidence being presented prior to the case starting.  It was not the judges place to help the prosecution try their case against me.

So the clerk found the book and a new traffic survey materialized. 

Once they had the correct report, the D.A. asked the judge if the court could now remove the false report from evidence, HE KNEW false evidence would come back to haunt them.  However, the judge actually followed protocol and said once something has been entered into evidence it cannot be removed.  Score for me.

I again requested a dismissal based on the fact the officer was an incompetent witness against me since he JUST proved he was willing to use incorrect evidence in court.  Ugh.

The judge answered me this time…”Denied”.

This all went on and on for about an hour…the whole traffic courtroom was intently watching and listening (in disbelief I’m sure).  I cannot even tell you all the comedy of errors and how the District Attorney tried to get me to incriminate myself saying I was talking out both sides of my mouth.  Some of the D.A.’s  comments were even stricken from record because they were so rude.  This guy was a real gem.

Anyway after an exhaustive presentation the judge ruled. 

The judge said to me, “Not only am I NOT going to let you attend traffic school, I am also going to suspend your driver’s license for 10 days, starting right now.  Bailiff, follow Ms. Cathy to retrieve her driver’s license from her belongings and surrender it to the court.”

There was an audible gasp in the crowd.  No one could believe it.  I couldn’t.  Everyone stared as I turned to the crowd to go to my purse and give up my license.  The bailiff hovered over me like I was a criminal.

I did not show any emotion.  There was no way I was going to let that officer see me sweat.  Here I was, mother of two, all dressed up with my husband in a suit and we were the trash of the court.

We left the courtroom and got into the car.  That’s when I let the Wild Boar have it.  I told him this would never have happened if he didn’t make me fight this ticket.  Now not only do I have this ticket on my record but I have a suspended license mark against me too.  It would follow me forever because often the question is asked, “Has your driver’s license ever been suspended?”…yeah now I had to answer yes, making me look like a complete dirt bag. 

Of course the Wild Boar’s response was, “You know we’re going to appeal this.”

Ugh! No. No way was I going back to court.  There was nothing left to do to me except throw me in jail.  It seemed probable since everything that had just happened was a complete eye opener.  That court was sending a message and the message was, if you fight a traffic ticket you will leave with a worse punishment than just the ticket itself.

I. Was. Livid.

The appellate process was an absolute nightmare.  You have to prove to the court, using case law and without introducing new evidence what court error occurred.

The Wild Boar and I spent night after night pouring over case law with similar backgrounds and outcomes.  We came up with over twenty cases where officer’s presented incorrect evidence.

The requirements to present appellate information was also insane.  It had to be on recycled paper and color cover paper with certain margins and all this legal jargon was to be used.  The file was huge and they needed many copies.  

It was so complicated the court clerk could not believe I was going to take this on without an attorney.  She could not even answer the questions I did have because she had never even seen an appeal filed for a traffic court decision. 

Great.  The blind was leading the blind.

The worst part of all of this was I had to present my initial version of appeal to the same judge who suspended my license.  He and I had to agree on the facts that transpired in his court.  I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  I just knew he would somehow find me in contempt and throw me in the slammer.  He was that mean.

In the courtroom it was just me, the judge, the bailiff, the court clerk and the Wild Boar.  No one would get to watch the antics of the court today.  However, even though we were only 10 feet away from each other we still spoke on microphones.  It felt ridiculous.

The judge and I went back and forth as he read my account of the events.  I held my ground as far as him not changing certain aspects of what I felt were important accounts of that day.  He of course added that he did not recall some of those events.  But he could not take back the false evidence presented.

We came to an agreement and my appeal was then filed with the Superior Court to render a decision.

Years went by.  Yep years since that day going to school to take a test.

Two months ago I received a letter stating I did not follow court procedures.  I failed to deliver one of the copies to the District Attorney’s office therefore making the appeal invalid.  They would give me five days to file a whole new case.  I almost died.

It felt like a slap in the face.  Nowhere in the appellate instructions did it say I had to send a copy to the D.A.  I had already given the court so many copies, I thought one was for D.A. too.

During this waiting period and since the trial I have not been able to look at the police without feeling a bit of distaste (except for my wonderful police officer cousin Chris, Hi Chris).  Normally a parent tells their children the police are good and they will help you.  I cannot even find the words.  This cop and the judicial system ruined it for me.  Everyone was willing to lie in order to uphold a speeding ticket!  It was ridiculous.

Today, it has been three years and two months since I received that ticket.

In the mail yesterday I received an envelope from the court.  I honestly could not take another letter of more rules and instructions.

I opened the letter and the Superior Court REVERSED the decision of the traffic court.  I was trembling.  I honestly could not believe it.  My record has been cleared. 

Can anyone believe this? I can’t.  I can’t believe it. 

The Superior Court overturned the judgment proving the traffic court erred. 

My belief in the system has been restored.  However, it’s still a disgrace it was so difficult to find justice.

Have you ever fought the law and won?

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127 Comments

  1. Lori 1

    OH. MY. GOD. Cathy, that’s an incredible story. After our recent hellish journey through the Dantean world of hospital and medical incompetence, I can all too easily believe this. Cover-ups, obfuscation, self-protection, blaming the victim. Oh yes. All too easily. What is most admirable is your courage and persistence – even if it was Wild Boar pushing you – and taking on such a formidable crowd, on your own. I’m glad it worked out in your favor at the end, even if you had to wait so terribly long for it. Wow.

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  2. MsMVNJ 2

    Wow Cathy – that was a hell of a story – I’m right there with you on th traffic court nightmares – I opted for a plea bargain in my case – couldn’t deal with the idea of haggling with a nasty looking DA

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  3. Deeba 3

    A nightmare that pulled THAT LONG…are you kidding me? Glad it was reversed…a victory not many would see & not many would take to the finish! Not sure I would have gone all the way…good for you & for Wild Boar. Cant go this far without the better half…O ya…YAY for good ole Chris too! You will never believe the system we have here…nothing works!!

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  4. Cathy, you are one of the lucky ones who eventually won with this horrible system. I have spent over 10 yrs. fighting one injustice after another against someone who owes me a heap of money. Though I have a judgment, crossing state lines has been most effective in avoiding paying up. The courts continue to look the other way on this gross injustice, while they spend countless hours prosecuting sweet women over a lame traffic ticket. Good for you for not quiting.

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  5. Oh Cathy! I’m so glad justice was finally done, although you won’t be repaid for your time and trouble. This story made me so angry! Unfortunately I’ve come to feel that way about many police officers. I think there are many who truly care about doing their job right and helping people, but there are dishonest people in any job and this is one where dishonesty is much more startling and can have worse and more noticeable effects. I’m glad you took the time to stand up for what was right.

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  6. What a horrifying experience for you! I am glad you went far enough to put them in their place. It is absolutely amazing what a single person has to go through just to prove themself. I think it strange that the D.A. had to be involved in the original case. Makes you wonder if the officer knew he would need backup for his own incompetence. I haven’t had to fight the law. I hope I never do. But your story will help me if I do or if I ever get a speeding ticket. I have been told to make the officer prove to you what speed he is charging you with by showing you the radar itself. I will do that. Thanks for your insight.

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  7. Marcy 7

    Wow Cathy, I thought this story ws going to end with you getting royally screwed by the system. I am happy you got the letter saysing all was dismissed, however after this long I’m sure it was bittersweet.

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  8. Barbie with a T 8

    Cathy that was a good examaple of the injustice in our system. That injustice works both ways, too. I was residing in New Mexico and received a speeding ticket for speeding on a highway. I forget just what speed it was (this was many years ago), but because I had a next door neighbor who was a member of the State Police force, he had connections to where I could appear in court and would be excused from paying the ticket. I won, although I have no idea how honest this procedure was. I was completely in the dark, only following the advice of my neighbor, and won. I feel this was an injustice, yet I was on the opposite side of the fence this time. I could never have accomplished this without the help of my neighbor. After all these years, I have never once felt guilty, because I realized that there are injustices in our courts, mostly in favor of the courts, and reading your account of your injustice I feel good about having won my case. I feel really sorry for you having to go through all that, but in your case, the connections were stacked against you from the very beginning.

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  9. Nell 9

    Cathy – my blood was boiling as I read this. Injustices like this are all too common and often the innocent throw in the towel thinking they will never win against the machine. Your vindication is a reminder to us all that we should never give up the fight for what is right. I’m so pleased that you didn’t give up. I’m just sorry it took so long for justice to prevail!

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  10. Traffic court is scary. I made my H go a few years ago because he also got a reckless driving charge, which could have really screwed up his job clearance. Thankfully they knocked it down to plain old speeding, and we managed to get out of there with a steep fine, court costs, and the cost of an attorney…sadly, I was not yet licensed or I would have represented him!

    On the other hand, as a lawyer, I’ve had my fair share of wins and losses, some more heartbreaking than others. And even from the attorney’s eyes, judges are scary….I nearly peed myself the first time I had to argue in front of a judge and I wasn’t even the one on trial!!

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  11. Steph 11

    I can’t believe this happened to you! I’ve fought two tickets before, won shortly after we started. I am glad everything worked out, but I can certainly see why you couldn’t trust the system!

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  12. Rachel 12

    Whoa. It sounds like you were the victim of some kind of crony court. I’ve always been told to fight speeding tickets because half of the time the cop never shows up anyway. This guy sounds like he had a lot of friends in high places and had some kind of point to prove.

    It’s not that I don’t respect police officers, or believe in the justice system, but even at the lowest levels, power corrupts. I think way too many cops, lawyers, and judges let the power they have over the rest of us get to their heads.

    I had a bad experience with parking ticket a couple of years ago. The building where I live only grants us one parking space in the garage and my husband uses it. I rent a space in a municipal lot behind my building.

    Periodically my lot requires maintenance. Three days before the scheduled maintenance, the town posts signs that it is illegal to park there on the scheduled maintenance.

    Two years ago I went on my annual summer vacation to VA and left on Sunday. On Wednesday they posted that everyone had to vacate the parking lot on Friday. I was several states away and had no idea that I had to move my car on Friday. They didn’t warn me early enough.

    I was on my way to the beach on Friday when I got a call from my building super. The cops had been banging on my door trying to get me to move my car. They finally went to the super, who called me. I explained to him that I was on vacation and there was nothing I could do about my car. The cop got on the phone. I explained to him what was happening. The cop was actually pretty decent about it. He said he was sorry, but he had no choice other than to tow me (the parking lot needed to be cleared regardless) and that the ticket would be dismissed.

    So I drove home the next day at 5AM so I could get to the impound place early enough to avoid paying for extra days. Tons of fun I tell ya!

    Well, despite the cops reassurance, the ticket was NOT dismissed. The judge seemed to think it was my fault I left my car there, even though I was not told I would have to move it AFTER I left for vacation.

    The parking system in my town is brutal. I’ve seen kids smoking pot on the main drag in my town and the cops are too busy handing out parking tickets to notice.

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  13. I’ve been on a grand jury where the police perjury was so obvious we tried to bring him up on perjury charges before throughing the indictment out.

    No possible way for an officer standing outside the car on the passanger side between the front seat and the passenger can see a pistol sticking out from under the rear of the driver’s seat.

    When we called him back and called him on it (via the DA) he claimed he misspoke and was behind the driver, it was his partner on the other side. The written description (PO notebooks) went with the original story. It was turned over to the NYPD and the DA told us there had been a suspension.

    There was no evidence, which included a total lack of finger prints, that the pistol belonged to anyone. We figured it was a drop gun.

    Sounds like you did well.

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  14. Cathy, I really admire your persistence. It has to feel good that it finally paid off. I’ve never been involved in any sorts of legal battles, but my parents were involved in one for several years when I was growing up. And, it was complete hell for everyone. Unfortunately, the attorneys, judges, etc, typically just expected them to give it up since they were the “regular” people involved.

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  15. Jules 15

    Congratulations on the reversal!

    I didn’t end up in court, but I was waiting to turn left one day and I knew that the oncoming right turn lane had a yield sign. I had the opportunity to make my turn in front of a police officer who was turning right. I turned and he pulled me over. I willingly did so, and he approached my car. He asked me something about my turn and I responded, very politely mind you, “What about the yield sign back there sir?” His response “What yield sign?”. Yeah, right. Needless to say, I was not ticketed, as I had not been in the wrong. So, I don’t think I really fought the law, but I did stand up for myself.

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  16. Greg 16

    Congratulations! I have often told the story of the great Covell injustice. Now I can recount the bittersweet ending to the ordeal. Sorry it took so long but I’m glad you prevailed. Woo!

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  17. melissa 17

    I am glad you stood up for yourself. Even if only because wild boar pushed you. I am a big pansy whimp. I don’t like judges.

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  18. dawn 18

    Amazing. I had my first cup of coffee while reading this. It was a great story (I mean well written, kept me glued to the computer screen), but I cannot believe you had to go thru all that. Someone or some kind of karma was on your side. All those years for what? Well, at least it got reversed. I hate to be a party pooper, but can you make sure it actually did get reversed? Get the papers or whatever is needed to make sure; you never know after all that you’ve been through, you know what I mean?
    Nope never been to court or anything, never had a speeding ticket as I drive too slow.

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  19. Corinne 19

    oh wow!
    I am in awe of your persistance. Most people would have given up at one of the many road blocks that you encountered.
    Congratulations!

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  20. That story was nuts!

    I got a speeding ticket around 7 years ago. I was going around 5 to 8 mph over the posted 65 mph speed limit on a highway. The officer who pulled me over asked how fast I was going and I said 70 to 73″. He said “Try 75 to 80. I clocked you.” He refused to show me the clocked speed limit and launched into a speech about how I was “driving recklessly” (I was in the left hand lane and not moving back and forth) and how I had a “responsibility as a mother” (my daughter was with me) to “drive more carefully.” Then he added “I don’t want to come back here and have to clean two sets of brains up off the highway.” That’s when I started crying. I was humiliated that he pulled me over, but more upset that he accused me of being a bad mother and driving like a maniac with my daughter in the car.

    The fine was $150, which is not too much, but I went to traffic court to fight it. Like you, my husband and I were very dressed up while everyone else looked horrible. I was nervous as well, but the officer didn’t bother to show up. I told the judge what he said to me and how he refused to show me my clocked speed. The judge listened and said he would knock the fine down to $75 bucks. That was enough for me in the end. He said I could request the officer be there and do this again, but I declined and paid the fine right there.

    So I know how you feel and I’m glad you won. That is awesome!

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  21. Well… I have WANTED to fight the law, but never have. I have issues with “the law” for a member of my family who is not a member of the family anymore because he left another member of the family for another woman… left her with a 5 month old baby and left her to sell the house and do all the work. Just left and felt it was her “job”.

    I am too familiar with “the law” and his colleagues, and their moral code outside of “service”… and within service. I have a bit of an “insiders” scoop. I hate to say that this particular type-of people leave a very sour taste in my mouth. I know there are exceptions, but I have very little respect for police officers. As a whole, I don’t trust them personally nor professionally. I appreciate that they’ll come to my house if I her strange noises, but I don’t feel safe because of them.

    Oh, I have stories, but…

    I am so sorry, Cathy. I know that must have been an incredibly intense time. Congrats on the reversal, but my goodness – you certainly endured lots of crap.

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  22. Misty 22

    Sheesh Cathy….I am proud of you for following through with it. Far too many people just give in & let THEM win. I took in a ticket & fought it once & won but just that one time. I would never do it again because it is nerve racking! Good for you. You are clear!

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  23. flyfishergal 23

    Now that’s a story! I’m stunned it’s true. Thank God it’s over – in your favor!

    You have the perfect “recipe” for some sort of screenplay or drama: a storyline so many can relate to, the evil protagonist, intense plot, antagonizing characters and of course, a strong, well-versed heroine! There might be something there, Cathy….If you have the energy to go there.
    In the meantime, I think we could all use a new cocktail recipe from you or another fantastic wine recommendation!
    We need to toast to your perseverance!
    Cheers!

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  24. OMG–the frustration you must have felt!! What a freakshow that court room was! I’m SO glad you finally won. Justice was served, as they say.

    I remember once when we were living in Boston, I got a ticket for “excessive use of the horn.” LOL

    Apparently I had been honking at a policeman in an unmarked car. Oops! But he wasn’t moving!

    So I did the court thing (I had never been before) and all I remember is the judge saying “Charged with excessive use of the horn. Guilty or not guilty?”

    I was at the microphone and, after a long pause, I said “Guilty?”

    Then the whole coutroom errupted in laughter!

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  25. Julena Jo 25

    What a nightmare! But I have to laugh at your repeated attempts to convince us, your faithful readers, that you are just about dying when you get into these little confrontations. I’m laughing aloud, actually. :) YOU are the one who turns and tells a boorish woman in a restaurant “Enough, already!” YOU are the one to confront the T-ball Team Trophy Lady. YOU ARE THE ONE! I love you! You do all these brave, gutsy, self-righteous things while protesting, “I could have DIED!” It’s cute as hell! That being said, the traffic court fiasco really made me squirm. The system definitely needs an overhaul, doesn’t it? I’d have presented the ticket itself–with its CHANGED SPEED LIMIT, 61 not 60–to the court. HOW could the officer cite you going precisely 61 mph–and without a radar? Impossible.

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  26. Candy 26

    Oh my god I’m infuriated for you. At LEAST you were vindicated in the end but I cannot believe the injustices you faced.

    We had a situation with someone fixing our car, who actually ended up breaking it worse to the point that it was no longer drivable. We refused to pay him and he took sued us. I knew that was coming, but I had such overwhelming evidence against him that I was looking forward to sitting in the small claims court and telling the judge what he had done. Except I didn’t anticipate that the man would sit there and bald-faced lie to the judge, making us look like the real criminals. He won the judgment, which has basically ruined our credit, and has caused us no end of grief.

    Every time I drive past his shop I want to throw a Malitov cocktail in there. I hate that man.

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  27. Now frame that bitch all fancy-like and send it to the cop who wrote you that ticket.
    Maybe send a copy to the judge too.
    I’m just saying…

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  28. Bridgett 28

    What a great ending though! Now you should ask for an explanation as to why they take so damn long!
    If you’ve had your faith in the judicial system rocked a bit, try having a stalker and working your way through a restraining order. I was told he could continue charge at me with his car, call, come to my work, threaten my family, etc and they won’t come help until he has literally hit me with the car, knifed me while slashing the tires or harmed my family. And this is all with him having a restraining order.

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  29. Max 29

    CONGRATULATIONS! Persistence beats resistance!

    I had a situation many years ago in TX. The week of finals in college, I went with a friend to go fishing; we left in the wee hours, I was sleeping. We got into a huge wreck right @ sunrise. Some pranksters had moved a detour sign; we plowed into a HUGE pile of debris and rolled the car. I was trapped in the car; the driver was able to get out. Paramedics had to remove me w/ jaws of life prior to a sheriff just getting off duty showing up on the scene (I think this pissed him off ~ he probably was planning on going fishing as well and now his morning was shot!). I was sitting on the side of the road humming “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood”. Officer did not like that; he wanted my license. I told him he could have anything of mine he could find in the upside down smashed car. He also tried to convince me I was driving! Officer dismissed the paramedics. Officer arrested my friend and myself ~ me for public intoxication. I was as sober as a rock (so was friend); it was finals week and I had been pouring over the books, etc. I was planning on drinking when we were fishing! Arrested me anyhow; I had never been in trouble with the law! We get to the jail so I can be booked (I am bleeding from various parts of my body) and I explained to booking lady that I was denied medical treatment; she looked @ officer; he looked stupefied that I had the audacity to want medical attention. They immediately take me to the hospital where I bellowed I want a blood test, NOW! The officer came in my room and tried to apologize, “your behavior was just odd”. “I was just removed from a vehicle by the jaws of life ~ what is proper etiquette for such a situation??? I was in shock you moron!” I replied. I knew I was in the right as there was absolutely nothing in my system! Worse part was I was in the midst of a divorce and custody battle (child was w/father during finals week). I told officer he made a big mistake (did I mention I was in law school @ the time?). I refused to speak to officer any more. I had to go back to jail and was given a prison jumpsuit and put in a cell. I was scared!, to death!

    I get out after about 7 hours in the jail. Humiliated and mortified, but more importantly, PISSED! I called the court for said county (Podunk, TX ~ the absolute middle of nowhere!) every day to get a court date. I also contacted the media, specifically Marvin Zindler (R.I.P.). I was outraged. My court date finally arrives and I am there loaded for bear! I rattled off all the evidence and told the judge I wanted a public apology from the officer. Not only did the judge grant my wish, he also reprimanded the officer, in front of God and everyone! I was pleased! It was dismissed from my record and did not adversely affect my divorce proceedings.

    I reiterate, persistence beats resistance!

    WTG! Cathy! I agree with the framing of your document!

    Reply
  30. Oh no!! I’m so glad that’s resolved!! So, how do you get those 10-days without a license back??

    The only time I’ve been pulled over (yet. Knock on wood.) was my senior year in college. The state patrol officer actually knocked my real speed down a point so that it wouldn’t affect my insurance or go on my permanent record!! (But I still got to pay a ticket. In this particular Midwestern State, points are only taken off your license above a certain point…)

    I was driving a car we’d purchased from my uncle. I sped in that car all the time. I was young and carefree and only did it when there was no traffic…we lived in a rural area…no cars. It wasn’t until after I got the ticket that my uncle told us that the speedometer was 10 mph OFF. The day I didn’t think I was speeding was the day I was actually going 10mph faster than I thought! Which means all those times I knew I was speeding, I was REALLY speeding!! I was really careful after that. :)

    Everyone wondered how I got places much quicker than I was supposed to. 😉

    Reply
  31. Teri 31

    That was the most amazing story. My husband would have just made me pay the ticket. Who knew what can of worms that would have opened by defending yourself! Sounds like Mayberry RFD or something. So sorry you ever had to go through that humiliation of losing your license… that is horrible! I can’t believe that ticket meant that much to them to waste that much time in court! ALL THAT and then they finally decide to clear you!?? Nuts! Sad life for that cop that he was so obsessed with defending this ticket!!! Oh well, glad it ended well for you! Congrats!

    Reply
  32. Holy shit, Cathy, what a disappointing narrative on our judicial system. I found so many parts of this disappointing, but at the top of the list is how difficult the court made each step for those acting without representation. To me, that’s used as a pricey detourant to keep the accused from exercising their right to a fair and speedy trial. In other words, most people would just pay a $300 ticket, rightful or not, rather than hire an attorney for a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand bucks to fight it. Sadly, most people don’t have the legal knowledge that you and your husband do, so it’s a system set up to keep that from happening.
    As I read this, it made me realize how lucky my community is to have the two judges it does. I’ve had some associated with the local legal system, i.e., assistant district attorneys, complain that this clutters up our court system because they are so fair and, moreover, many clearly guilty people get a walk because these two are so vigilante about the due process of the law. In fact, I had a ticket I disagreed with once. I went to city court and the judge offered to drop it down a to a smaller speeding ticket as a compromise. Of course, he told me he welcomed me going further if I wanted to. I just took the lesser ticket and went home. It’s hard for me to speak solidly about a hypothetical situation, but it is really hard for me to imagine either of our judges not throwing that shit out as soon as he offered false evidence.
    Sorry you had to go through this. God bless you and the Wild Boar for this one. Maybe the next time this police officer is bumping up a ticket for these reasons, he will think about the possibility of being embarrassed by fact.

    Reply
  33. Wowzas! What a process! I can’t believe you won.

    Reply
  34. misty 34

    this is amazing.
    I am with you. I have a friend who is a police officer and he is wonderful. But generally- not a lot of trust for cops going on… None of this surprises me, except that it worked in your favor- though at what cost?

    Reply
  35. Wowie, wow, wow! This happened practically in my backyard??? Yikes! Thanks for sharing ALL OF THE STORY. Despite the fact that we have a zinger of a day to tackle, my husband sat riveted as I read EVERY WORD (he had an icky run-in with the law many, many years ago AND HE NEVER FORGOT IT). Justice prevailed because you fought for it — sad in some respects, yet a real warning to us/The People to stand and be counted.

    I recently fought a developer and the city regarding a through road right through my property. It was surreal but we won. Was it worth it? OH YEAH! Do I want to do it again? NEEEVEEER!!!
    Thanks again for restoring the faith. You’re as refreshing as a shower each morning (no wait, you’re not quite that good and I need to get off this box and into one). ~~Bye~~

    p.s.
    My husband laughs every time I read “The Wild Boar.” : )

    Reply
  36. So, there are lots of good cops out there, even if I wish they were out protecting kids and helping old ladies rather than fining people for petty stuff. Having said that, your story infuriates me. Unfortunately, it happens a lot, and police officers should not be given a golden pass based strictly on their job.

    Reply
  37. ALF 37

    My husband is a lawyer yet I have very little faith in “the process”. Also, I hate cops.

    Reply
  38. I competely would have been tempted to give up. I have never fought the law, it just seems too difficult for the average joe to win anything. This could get started on a whole rant about everything that’s wrong with the system, and government in general, so I won’t. Glad you finally beat them!!

    Reply
  39. HOLY CRAP. I was getting so ticked reading your story. I am glad it was resolved in your favor.

    Reply
  40. Rayrena 40

    Good for you that you stood up for yourself. It’s a shame that the process (especially for appeals) is so difficult to navigate.

    It sounds like you had to deal with a couple of creeps. I’ve been lucky to have been pulled over by nicer cops. I’ve been pulled over 4 times and only received a ticket once (and I earned it). Luckily, the cop wrote my speed down as slower than I was going so I wouldn’t be considered “driving recklessly”.

    Unofrtunately, I didn’t get a notice in the mail to pay the bill (however, it was still my responsibility to call the court for further instructions) and my hearing date passed so I got a notice in the mail that I had a bench warrant for failure to show plus an additional fine. Yikes. I ended up having to go to court (3 hours away, I got the ticket while out on the road) and they dropped most of the extra fine.

    Reply
  41. That is quite a story. I got worked up just reading it. I’m just thinking they were PISSED that you actually showed up and had the audacity to suggest they were LIARS. Heh. My brother is a muckety with the CHP and the stories I could tell. Jeez. My favorite is that they don’t even have to show up at court for their own tickets. They can get someone else to testify with the reports they write after the incident. Give me a freaking break. The only ticket I’ve had took me to pay a fine, and after I’d waiting in a gigantic line, the clerk said the ticket was for having an expired license and not speeding. Feh. They should just put a wheel on those things so they can spin to let us know what the infraction is. What a racket. And my favorite part of the story? That your appeal had to be on recycled paper. Give. Me. A. Break.

    Reply
  42. Deborah 42

    I lost all confidence in the legal system long ago. This just confirms it for me!

    Reply
  43. sassy 43

    It was a cold, rainy night, i was going 45 in a 35, when a young handsome cop pulled me over.

    I was 47, had a spotless driving record.

    I asked, are you really going to give me my first speeding ticket? Does`nt good behavior count for something?

    No Mam, he replied.

    He ticketed me and i left it at that, after all, i was speeding, and really had no argument. It was a cold, rainy night was`nt going to fly.

    I have heard from others who have been screwed by the courts like you were, so i try and stay clear of them.

    I am very glad your ticket was reversed! You go girl!

    Reply
  44. Debbie 44

    Holy Cow, what a story. Good for you have the gumption to fight for what you believed in and YEA!!!! you won.

    Hope you scored a 100 on that test.

    Reply
  45. sharon 45

    Whoa, I am angry for you! I’m not sure having a Judge Judy court behind me would freak me out or empower me! :) Good for you for sticking up for yourself…I cannot believe they tried to screw you over.

    Reply
  46. NO WAY! I love that you defended yourself that way and that you ultimately prevailed.

    This makes me wonder: if these types of blunders and lies are allowed in traffic court, what happens in a criminal case?

    I’ve very much lost my faith in the justice system (I know that makes me sound cynical). I know it’s the only system we’ve got, but still, judges, attorneys, DAs, etc. are still just a bunch of people who aren’t perfect.

    Reply
  47. Kyddryn 47

    I never fought the few tickets I had in the past – I WAS speeding, after all – but they weren’t exaggerated and I’d earned them.

    I’ve been in a courtroom four times, and only once did I feel comfortable and in control – and that once was because I was the “judge”, watching Mum’s ATLA team prepare for a competition and critiquing their performance. We were in a real courtroom and I actually sat at the bench, so that was cool.

    The other three times, I was a witness and I found the whole experience bizarre, discomfiting, and entirely unpleasant, and if I never have to go through it again, I won’t. I even told the people involved in the first case (where I had to appear on two different occasions) that next time they would have to consider me a hostile witness and pay my ass to go back.

    The second case was to get a restraining order against someone who was abusing a friend of mine and making threats against my family since she frequently took shelter in our home. Of course, HE had a high-priced lawyer, a Rabbi, and his parents to speak for him – all I had was the record of the 911 calls I’d made and…oh, wait, what’s this? Are these tape recordings of the calls? Oh, dear…I guess you just LIED ON THE STAND when you said you never called my home, didn’t you, you abusive, drug pushing ass!

    I got the restraining order, but I didn’t get the satisfaction of seeing him busted for the lies – the judge, it turns out, was a friend of his family and decided it wasn’t really perjury, just a lapse in memory. Whatever.

    Court systems are rife with miscarriages of justice, corruption, and outright lies, and they continually set free the guilty and punish the innocent…but they’re still better than the alternative. Now, doesn’t that just suck??

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K

    Reply
  48. You just got my blood boiling. I have had only one ticket in my adult life. It was recently and it was in YOUR TOWN. I try hard not to go there because it is filled with so many flippin ridiculous laws that are not on the books anywhere else. But alas I have family there and had to go. I got a ticket for making a right on red. This is completely legal, after stopping everywhere else in California. I got the ticket in the mail and yes I was caught by 5 different camera’s–no joke. 5 pictures plus a note indicating that they also had me on video. I was ticked it was a $400 ticket. Last week I schlepped into court with my kids and sat alongside crack heads waiting for my turn at the stupid microphone. I thought I would get some sympathy from the court because it is located in a neighboring town which holds very opposite views (one very liberal one very conservative). But NO, the judge was from YOUR TOWN and had no sympathy. I admitted my “guilt”, but thought he could at least lower the fine like he had done for the other convicts. One lady had her reckless driving ticket reduced to $120 because she was in jail for robbery and somehow that’s enough. Meanwhile, I make a right turn on red after stopping and its $400. I LOST my case. Spent three hours with my 4 and 5 year old boys in a horrible place with communist laws.

    ARGH. so ticked. Im glad you fought and WON! jerks.

    Reply
  49. Erin 49

    Oh my gosh! I could feel my blood pressure going up as I read this! I am so proud of you for winning your case. What a ridiculous picture of a corrupt system! Yeesh!

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  50. magpie 50

    Awesome. You rock, lady.

    My husband always fights his tickets – his stand by is to ask for a “supporting deposition” – to date (and 4-5 tickets later), not one cop has actually done the supporting deposition.

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  51. Feliz 51

    Whoa! Your story was riveting. I can’t believe that they reversed it after you had to go through all of that corruption! Yea!

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  52. Leah Q 52

    Holy Tamale Batgirl!

    Im super happy you won, but at what expense, several years for them to realize their mistakes cost you time, effort? and can I say suffering….

    If I had balls, I would sue for slander and suffering, and some extra for emotinal wear and tear this put you through! oh meow!

    Reply
  53. Laura 53

    In my experience, when people in power abuse that power, the only way to fight it is to persist. However, it is certainly hard to feel like it is worth it. On behalf of those of us who rarely fight it (although I make an exception for health insurance companies–that’s my nemesis), thank you for sticking it out. And FWIW I bet the superior judge was ticked it ever came before him/her. I bet it was reversed pretty darn fast. Just a hunch. :)

    Reply
  54. Andie 54

    Hallalejuh! Geeeezzzz! That is one helluva sad note, but unfortunately I am not surprised. Not anymore.

    Glad that ordeal is over for you.

    For real.

    Reply
  55. I adore this post. I read with such anticipation (and a knot in my stomach), hoping for your vindication.

    It shouldn’t surprise me that the judge was on the cop’s side, but it does.

    Reply
  56. You fought the law and the Noble Pig won! Hooray! What a horrible expierence!

    My Dad fought the IRS and won. Twice. I have no idea how.

    This might help explain the GLUG–the orginal tale.

    link to aduckinherpond.blogspot.com

    Reply
  57. This is just unbalievable! I’m glad it all turned out well, even if it took all those years… I’ve never went to court, and hope I never have to go…

    Reply
  58. WOW! That’s an amazing story! I’m so happy you won. I would have been furious… did you ever find out why the DA was representing the officer in the first case?? I’ve never gotten a ticket before and I cetainly don’t want one after reading your story!!

    Reply
  59. Becky 59

    Thank you for sharing this story – I am so impressed that you fought for the ‘right’ side of things. I also have police officer friends who are truly amazing human beings, but just a couple of rotten apples spoil the bunch!

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  60. Flea 60

    Oh. My. Word. Cathy, I can’t believe it. I was in tears reading this.

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  61. Mike 61

    All I can say is holy crap! And good on you for fighting it. I got a speeding ticket (one of many) from a damn AIRPLANE a while back (me and about 10 other cars all at once), and I knew it was a joke, but I was worried my experience would be similar, so I (regretfully) didn’t fight it. I have very little faith in the localish cops and regard most of their “enforcement” as a money shakedown (seeing how its been established that some of the speeding ticket proceeds go towards their pension, for instance). Congratulations on the eventual justice!

    Reply
  62. Ye Gods.

    I have nothing to say except that TOTALLY SUCKS that you had to go through that, and probably feel a hollow victory.

    Every time I’ve had issues with the law in the past, they’ve been, er, well, completely my fault. I am just grateful to the notion of youthful stupidity that prompted the judicial system to create the idea of a record being “sealed.”

    Reply
  63. Egghead 63

    Well this brings up my blood pressure a bit. Yep we fought the law and won a few years ago. When my daughter was a senior in high school we were all driving in to town…my husband and I in our car and our daughter in hers but following behind us. There were two cars ahead of us and we were all driving the speed limit (45) through kind of a speed trap when we noticed a county trooper clocking us. Next thing we know he stopped our daughter (last car in the line) and we went on not knowing why he stopped her. Turned out he said she was speeding at 59. Impossible since she was directly behind us and we were traveling at 45. We hired a lawyer and he had warned us that cops usually always win. The judge will take cops side almost always. The thing we had working for us was that the cop had no idea that my daughter had witnesses (us). He was spitting mad that our lawyer brought in witnesses and asked for a re-schedule of the court date. That meant that of course we had to go to court again and when we were questioned on the stand of course he tried all kinds of tactics to make us look like fools. However, we won the case….very unusual. But I don’t think the judge really had a choice…and we would have continued to fight even if we had lost. Just the principle of the matter. The cop was really ticked off though.

    I suspect since he changed the speed in which he said you were going….that was a huge mistake. Obviously you could tell so I think they would have eventually had to let it go. Good for you!

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  64. I’m so glad that good has prevailed in this situation. None of this situation would have happened if the police officer did his job properly in the first place. So much time wasted. But I’m glad you stuck it out and no longer have to worry about a big red mark on your record.

    Reply
  65. dlyn 65

    Unreal Cathy! I actually have gotten pretty lenient outcomes from traffic court, so I can’t complain too much. Glad yours was finally reversed. What do they do now? Keep your lisence valid for 10 days after you are dead?

    Reply
  66. Marjie 66

    One of my sons took 3 years of masonry class in high school. One of his assignments was to help build a fishpond or some such for the principal in a HS courtyard. The teacher told him to take his supplies outside the school and around to another door, and enter the courtyard that way. He did, yanked the door hard ot open it, and they had the nerve to tell him he bent a STEEL door and BROKE the safety glass out of it. When the asst principal called ME to chew me out and tell me we had to pay, I pointed out that the door must have been defective for a 17-yr-old kid to BEND it. He yelled, I yelled back, my kid turned 18 3 weeks later, sued the school for making him pay, and the school board had to hire an attorney and sent 6 people including the asst.principal to defend against my kid. He lost, of course, because the judge was all chummy with all of the school people, but at least he tried, and I’m proud. Good for you that justice has prevailed, but sad that it took years for the system to work. Great story.

    Reply
  67. What a story! I can’t believe it went on for years…
    I won a case where my dad bought a truck out of state and got sent to a 6 week training afterwards. I was using the truck (with his knowledge) for my college commute. I got pulled over by a state patrol who said the license had to be changed within 7 days of entering the state. My dad told me to set a court date and we went to court when he came back from his training. The state patrolman brought a lawyer. (DA?) He testified that I was crying (upset yes, crying no). My dad said he had never heard of the 7 day rule as we certainly hadn’t changed our car licenses within 7 days when we moved down from Alaska. The judge asked the officer and his rep to produce the law requiring the 7 day change. They couldn’t and the after 15 minutes, the judge threw the case our, ordering the officer to pay the court costs.
    I did get a speeding ticket last fall. I was not going as fast as the guy in front of me who the officer was clocking. He wrote me up for a lesser amount at 10 over but noted in the margin that I was actually doing 81. I wasn’t. I swallowed my pride and requested deferred prosecution. I paid $100 in court costs and the ticket doesn’t go on my record. If after a year, I haven’t had any other tickets, this one goes away completely. After I sent my check, I get a letter from the state saying my license was going to be suspended because I hadn’t paid the ticket. I got on the phone with the county I got the ticket it and they admitted they had my check and just hadn’t adjudicated the deferrment yet. I was a little upset, but they called me back the next day and gave me the case number for the adjudication they’d done that morning. The state reinstated my license! I only have two months left on my deferrment and then I can breathe easy (joke!)

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  68. heather 68

    that is flat-out awful. at least it was finally overturned. good for you for sticking with it, and wild boar for encouraging you. even if you never did get justice, you should at least make noise about it.

    the only ticket i’ve ever gotten (thank God and knock on wood) was following my dad on a massachusetts country road. the speed limit was 40, and i was the last in a line of about 5 cars behind someone driving 40 (the most the speedometer ever crept up to was 45). we’d been behind them for ages, so i’d given up looking at the speedometer. a cop drove past us and i thought nothing of it, cuz i couldn’t have been speeding if i wanted to. a few minutes later he comes up behind me and pulls me over. my dad pulled over ahead of me to wait. i forget the exact speed now, but i think it was around 55, for a $120 fine. we contested it, mostly thanks to my dad, and it took 2 years to get to court (i was out of state for school, so we had to re-schedule a couple times). the cop didn’t show up, but they had a general cop-spokesman guy there. i was about as nervous as you described, but i told the judge about the line of cars, and that if i was speeding, so was everyone in front of me, so by rights he ought to have fined them too, starting with my dad who was pulled over ahead of me. my dad spoke for me too, verifying my account. the cop guy of course couldn’t say anything since he wasn’t there. and the judge ruled i was not responsible, and it was taken off my record. so it was a good ending, we figured the cop must have singled me out because i was 18-19 at the time. the only thing that still irks me is that the ticket still shows up on car insurance searches. oh, it says not responsible but it still shows up. somehow i thought “wiped off your record” meant it disappeared. guess not.

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  69. Brillig 69

    Ho. Ly. Crap. I can’t BELIEVE this! What a hideous thing to go through. I’m glad it’s over now, but for crap’s sake! How dare they put you through such INSANITY!!??

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  70. Vicki 70

    Oh my gosh what a story! It kind of reminds me of Kafka’s The Castle, except with a happy ending.

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  71. Oh my god, Cathy! I can’t begin to imagine what a horrible ordeal that was – I’m so relieved for you that it finally got sorted out, but I’m sure to everyone around you the fact that it had to be escalated so high was just plain ridiculous.

    Reply
  72. Suzette 72

    OMG. What an incredible story! I’ve always heard that when you fight a traffic ticket you always win, because the cop never shows up. I won’t buy that song and dance anymore!

    I got a ticket about a year ago. I was doing 38 in a 30. The officer told me that they had been under a lot of pressure from the area merchants to stop more speeders, and that’s basically why she stopped me. She said she was going to put down on the ticket that I was doing 35, because “they always dismiss tickets for five miles over the speed limit.” I didn’t believe her, but didn’t pay the ticket and later showed up at court. Sure ’nuff. They didn’t even ask for details. Just crossed out the info on the printout and wrote “dismissed.” So, I guess my story is pretty much the opposite of yours. Just as weird – but in a different kind of way.

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  73. Tanya 73

    Sadly, I can completely believe this entire story. I am actually surprised they eventually reversed the decision. What a terrible experience you had to go through!

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  74. ELRA 74

    Cathy,
    I couldn’t believe what I’ve just read. I got ticket on the way to pick up my son from school for, according to Police man was going over a “Red Light”, I was definitely sure that, it was yellow. I didn’t want to argue with him, because I heard story like yours from my friend. So, he gave me ticket and send me to a traffic school. I couldn’t imagine if I had to go through like you. Just couldn’t imagine!

    Reply
  75. Good for you! We’ve fought a neighbor who used a city ordinance to bully us for years. She signed several complaints against our dogs (who were NOT barking damn it!) which gives you a ticket, but you have the right to fight it.

    That’s all it takes in this town, a signed complaint from some stranger that your dog is barking or out of the fence. If you aren’t smart enough to fight it then you pay a $120 ticket. We fought it, the city DA dismissed it a couple of times and then they pushed us to go to mediation.

    I still hate that woman. I know, it’s not good to hold a grudge. But she made our lives miserable for years. She’s the main reason we moved to the country.

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  76. unmuse 76

    i wrote about it on my blog, but the short version is: 3 years ago I was arrested for driving on a suspended license. i got out, took care of all of my tickets and got my license reinstated. then this past June, I received a knock at my door and was informed by a police officer that I was being arrested for a warrant for driving on a suspended license from 2005. (When I originally went to jail.) I went to jail and then promptly cash bonded out. The next day I hired an attorney. There had been issues because of married vs maiden name and apparently when I had gone to the clerk to pay all of my charges, they didn’t realize that i was the same person with the same address, birthdate and social security number because during the ticket, arrest and booking process, i was referred to as married name, maiden name and maiden-married name. Plus, they had violated my constitutional right of a speedy trial by re-issuing a warrant 2 years later and then arresting me a year later, at my home, on that warrant. My entire case was dismissed before my first court date.

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  77. whew,…

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  78. Erin 78

    Wow! I feel so bad for you. I’m glad you followed through and were vindicated.

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  79. Cassie 79

    OMG! I was sweating reading that! Bastards! LOL! I’m sooooo glad you fought the law and won! WOOOHOOO!!!!

    Reply
  80. As a judicial law clerk for two more weeks I can say with authority that some Judges (especially in the municipal and traffic court level) are just assholes. It’s usually because they don’t have much power.
    That story, is just ridiculous. And I’ve gone to court to fight parking tickets on a somewhat regular basis, just ridiculous. Good for you on getting your suspension removed and the case reversed. Also, make a friend with an attorney. They’re good to have around if only to help you negotiate the legal system. (Also we’re not all bad! Swear!) If it were closer in time to the original hearing I would urge you to file a formal complaint against the Judge. But I will leave you with the advice that if you ever end up in a similar situation, (1)always try to charm the cop and (2) if you end up in Court again on a traffic violation talk to the D.A. and try to make a deal.

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  81. I won’t go into the details of my issues with the judicial system, but the “highlights” included a weekend in prison, public humiliation by a DA with an agenda who leaked information to the newspaper and had me splashed across the front page for a week (above the fold) condemning me for a crime that I didn’t commit and threatening to seize my home. The DA then managed to delay the case over and over in order to extend my humiliation. A trial date was set for a month after the elections and he wasn’t reelected (after 17 years in office, an intelligent candidate finally ran against him and won). My lawyer postponed until the new DA took office and my record was cleared, but a lot of damage was done.

    Remember that judges and district attorneys are elected officials. Your vote matters, don’t be afraid to go to the local bar association and ask questions about candidates.

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  82. Dragon 82

    Such a saga! I’m glad your record is now clear. You deserve it after everything that has happened to you.

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  83. bunny 83

    Well it sounds to me like the cop knew he had “done you wrong” by adjusting the speed on the ticket that’s why the DA was there. Isn’t it nice that the BIG BLUE Wall ( isn’t that what they call it when cops don’t give up cops?) has help from the judicial system and lawyers. Nice …real nice. The DA knew you had them by the family jewels when you figured out the map, i’m glad it all worked out for you, it took a long time but you won! you were lucky and prepared. good for you!

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  84. HoneyB 84

    WOW, well considering I live in timbuktoo, I never heard of such a thing (estimating someone’s speed??!!) Good Lord, I would have just wanted to paid the ticket too. That is too much to go thru!

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  85. Alicia 85

    This so ticks me off that a cop can LIE and you are the one they say is lying, just because of who he is. The injustice of those that have the power pisses me off!!
    Oh what the cops, attorneys and judges do that would land us in the slammer!!urgh!!! so frustrating.

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  86. Cheryl 86

    In awe of you (and Wild Boar) and so incredibly happy for your “justice at last is served” reprieve! So much of your tale is disturbing, but particularly the intentional submission of incorrect evidence…and then it was brushed under the courtroom carpet?!?! UGH!

    To answer your concluding question, I never truly fought the law, and actually enjoy jury duty, but when I was nursing my then 2 month old twins I was called for jury duty and took great delight in composing my request for dismissal consideration. After what must have been a shockingly graphic letter written by a sleep-deprived hormonal new mama I was summarily released from my civic duty. 😉

    CONGRATS on the long-overdue legal clearing.

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  87. omg, what a long fight! I am glad you didn’t give up … the red tape sucks, and obviously, the guys are playing below the belt … You have a lot of courage standing up to the court, you go girl!

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  88. Kate 88

    Worth the read, and I was surprised at the end when you got the letter and your case had been reversed. Excellent! And what a surprise. I’ve been to traffic court to fight a ticket I received for failing to go through a stop sign. Yes, I went through it. Everyone does where that stop sign is, but unfortunately, a cop saw me and pulled me over. I gladly paid the fine, but wanted the points removed. So I went to traffic court and pointed out my good driving record and got the points removed. I know how you felt (somewhat) standing there and having everyone watch you. I cannnot believe how long you were on the stand. Well, not really a stand. And still am gagging over the audacity of that asshole cop. Good for you!!!!!

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  89. I wanted to be a cop until my father got stabbed during a holdup by a teen. They weren’t going to charge him because he was a minor, but my father’s determination of having his aggresor behind bars prevailed. He got ten years firm. I changed the way I saw many things! It’s good that you fought back and even better that you’ve won! Good for you!

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  90. WOW! That is an amazing story. I am so glad the WB made you fight it.

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  91. Emily 91

    OHMYHOLYGOSHEDDARNEDWORD!! I’ve about never heard such a story. I am SO VERY glad that someone came to their ever-lovin’ senses and reversed that dumb decision. Nobody should have to endure that kind of rediculosity. I, too, got a ticket (as I’m sure many people have) driving thru campus on my way to class many years ago. I had just dropped my sick baby off at the babysitters because I could not miss class one more time and was feeling stricken by that awful mother’s guilt…just wasn’t paying attention was all, and I got a ticket for going 30 in a 25. I was driving an ancient Volvo station wagon filled up with carseats…a real threat out there on the road for sure. Now I’m just a little glad I didn’t go to traffic court and fight it. I’m proud of YOU though…you stuck to your guns and WON!!!!

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  92. NIna 92

    Cathy, I am horrified at this. I live in Africa and our judicial system is in a terrible state, with bribery, neglect and chaos being the norm. I was hoping that a 1st world country would have a better system. I had a huge fight with our insurance the other day…in the end they agree to pay out, but then kindly reminded me that I have an excess amount to pay…and guess what? The excess was more than the actual quote. ARGGGHHHHHH!!!!

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  93. Dee 93

    Makes me mad when this happens.
    Where I live it goes like this. Cop pulls Driver over. He hitches his pants and says that Driver has been speeding. Then he flips through his notebook and reminds Driver that there is a such and such fine. He pauses for effect. Without looking at Driver, he asks Driver what she’d like to do about it. Get where this story is heading?

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  94. kim 94

    What an awful, but at the same time, educational experience! I’ve had a few offensive experiences with the law. Glad you came out on top with this one….eventually!

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  95. I think I love you.
    hey wow this is so crazy. Talk about the dukes of hazard Boss Hog etc…
    Yeah I have fought a traffic ticket…you are right how the judge has compassion for all the losers and trash who put their kids in danger etc…but for the upright citizen they treat you like a piece of crap for trying to defend your own rights. It is maddening.
    Kudos for you!!!!!!! You did what was right!!!!!!
    I am so happy for you to have that unnecessary bitterness swept away by justice!

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  96. Clearly this post resonated with a lot of us.

    You fought the law and YOU won! Wowza!

    I, too, was made an example. AFTER a young guy with three prior offenses was given a lenient sentence (no fine, either) after being caught speeding around a school bus. He was doing 60 in a 25. I was doing 50 in a 35. I paid a full fine. I had NO record. At all.

    My blood boils just thinking about it.

    Good for you for sticking with it!!!

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  97. Paula 97

    Oh. My. Lord! My heart is still pounding after reading this post! You must have felt like you were in the twilight zone! Good for you for going the distance. What a great lesson you’ve given your kids. I love it when right wins over might!

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  98. KathyB. 98

    I could not believe you would touch on a subject that has caused our entire family so much heartbreak and jeopardized the well being of our precious granddaughters and still has us all in legal limbo hell !And this has all occurred in your state, California..Until the past 2 years, EVERYONE in our family would always respect police and the law. As of our sons’ return from Iraq after his 2nd tour of duty there as a Tank commander…we now have NO dang respect for the police force and we firmly vow to not offer support if any of us are ever questioned by them.Isn’t that sad ? I mean, through what we believe is a “self-supporting , who cares about justice, lets just get what we can and ruin who we can so we can profit” system. I cannot go into details, but lets just say a cop gave a very, very wrong citation to a Marine,(legally proven). The cop LIED, the courts and the DMV backed up the cop..and some lives have been harmed and are still in danger as the CA legal system makes a bundle.So….our entire family of law abiding Christians has NO faith in JUSTICE on earth, no Faith in TRUTH here on earth…and we really do not care for California! And I was born there.

    Doesn’t that just suck ? (sorry )Our son said in the area he is in the cops routinely pull Marines over, cite them falsely (I know, sometimes the cops are right) and ruin careers knowing the Marines are shipping out and too poor or time wise cannot fight charges.

    But really, we absolutely know we cannot trust law enforcement any more, and that hurts me very much…but not as much as they have hurt our family. Wow, you hit a nerve here. KathyB. p.s. the son that is still living this legal hell in CA was the son who loved this country so much, and could think of no better way to support us than to serve in the USMC. He was active in politics here in our state, had ideals,and talked about maybe running for local political offices here.He has had a huge punch in the face, thanks to CA’s ‘upstanding law enforcement’….

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  99. KathyB. 99

    I am not sure what happened to the comment I just submitted, but this posting hit a nerve with us. Thanks to CA’s High Desert local Police, our family…a very large family of very law abiding, Christians…has NO RESPECT for law enforcement. And you know, it all started in with a cop who was determined to give a bad traffic ticket, then defend himself..then the courts helping him out..

    They (cops) have a family in legal limbo hell and 4 little girls in danger. I do not overstate this. I cannot go into details , but the worst part is we will never trust cops again…have no trust in our legal system. And some vulnerable little girls are victims of abuse of power and indifference. ( by the way,the original ticket was legally proven invalid, but the CA DMV is a power unto itself.) You Californians should be very scared of the power your DMV holds over your jobs, status,credit, etc.,KathyB.

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  100. Tipper 100

    Thats what happens when bureaucracy takes over!

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  101. I think I read most of that post with my jaw hanging open.

    I don’t know if I would have had the tenacity to do all the research and preparation you did. What an amazing story. I feel like throwing you a party. Congratulations!

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  102. RBK 102

    What an incredible story and good for you for not giving up! I am glad I found your amazing blog and plan to check it regularly.

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  103. jules 103

    If you believe it fight it!

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  104. I cannot imagine what the judge and the cop thought when you pulled out your homework. They had probably never seen anyone so prepared. Good on you for following through. I don’t know many who would have had the conviction and persistence to do it.

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  105. Holy crap! I can’t imagine even being able to enter the court with as much grace and dignity as you showed– I would’ve babbled and lost my license AS WELL AS done some jail time. That whole situation would’ve made my blood boil. Well done, and YEAH for the good guys!

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  106. Cathy, GREAT story. And while I am really happy for you, I now have that song stuck in my head…”I fought the law and the law won”…but not in this case!

    You go!!

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  107. I applaud your tenacity as well as your sense of right and wrong. The word “Justice” is commonly defined as:”The constant and perpetual disposition to render every man his due”.

    It is obvious to me that ,in your case, you eventually received what was due you. Justice would have been much better served if the cop, DA, and the judge, also received what was due them – a public inquiry into why they were criminally conspiring together to deny you your right to be treated fairly and impartially as the law requires.

    The “law” and its processes should be founded and grounded upon reason, logic and common sense rather than the arbitrary and capricious acts of “so called” public servants.

    Traffic courts in reality are nothing more than the pay windows for the insurance companies. These corporate behemoths have lobbied to have laws passed that will remove their liability from the highways. Traffic cops are acting in the capacity of a private police force on behalf of the insurance companies – to remove the liability that you pay premiums for them to assume.

    “They” know that the majority of the sheeple will simply pay the fine because that is the path of least resistance.

    Traffic fines in honest legal contemplation are just one of the many illegal taxes that are forced upon Americans and backed up by the threat of a gun barrel and the power of the state.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and for taking the time to stand up for what is right.

    In the battle for Liberty,
    THE JAILHOUSE LAWYER
    link to angelfire.com

    “Few will have the greatness to bend history; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation … It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is thus shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” ~ Robert F. Kennedy

    “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!” – Mario Savio

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  108. Sean 108

    Welcome to Amerika’s Kangaroo Court System. They are not interested in giving you justice. All they want is your money.

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  109. jodycakes 109

    Congrats on your win…so happy for ya!!!

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  110. What the–?! I don’t understand re the picking-on-you!

    I actually have a court date for a ticket dispute… in Feb 2009.

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  111. Raina 111

    Glad to hear persistence paid off…No one said life would be easy right, they just said it would be worth it…Thanks for sharing.

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  112. Tigger 112

    HI NOBLE PIG ITS ME!!!!!!!WOOOO BABY YOU GO GIRL!!! YOU GIVE THAT COP A REAL SMACK DOWN!! WOO WOOT!*GIVES YOU 10 POINTS* I’M ROOTIN FOR YOU GIRL!! YOUR THE BOMB!!!

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  113. Alisa 113

    Good for you! I know it was a pain in your rear, but if people don’t fight for our rights, the system “man” will just keep covering for each other. I give you my humble thanks for following through when it would have just been easier to pay the fine.

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  114. Cokehead 114

    It’s so fortunate that not all police are like that. Even though I’m just 18, and haven’t really been pulled over many times, I’ve had a relatively positive experience. I was pulled over for using my brights one night; it was because the dims were broken. :)

    The real reason I’m posting, though, isn’t because the police officer above was nice (or the one above that one not nice at all) – it’s because they still do their job, and occasionally it does save lives. I’m fortunate enough that police officers in my town got to my house during a domestic ‘dispute’ just in time. Essentially, had they come 5 minutes later, I’d likely be dead, with my mother. Alcohol is lovely, isn’t it?

    Fortunately, they didn’t. They arrived, saved my life, and hopefully all had a cheery drink about it later. Still, though, there will always be officers like the one you dealt with, and the best thing to do is to actually deal with it. Principle is occasionally more important than logic, especially when it’s a problem for you for the benefit of 30 others.

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  115. Tony 115

    wow! First, congrats on beating the system! That sounded like one huge fiasco. I got my first ticket because I didn’t come to a complete stop at a stop sign. I knew I did something wrong, I didn’t think it merited an $80 ticket!! It was ridiculous, I slowed down to 5mph and drove 2 seconds before the sirens jumped out from nowhere to give me my very first ticket. That’s my (not so exciting) police story.
    I’m so glad you won after all that!!

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  116. Alisa 116

    Traffic court is not a lawful/legal court anyway. It does not operate under the U.S. Constitution or any state Constitution. You get whatever the judge wants to regurgitate… which is vomit most of the time.

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  117. Shirley 117

    I have been to traffic court before for my son and myself and have seen ridiculously inconsistent, unfair judgments. It’s like a total crap shoot. I am glad your situation is finally behind you. How stressful … especially over such a drawn out period of time.

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  118. Nana 118

    Unfrikin’believable! I am amazed by your tenacity, GOOD FOR YOU! The unfairness/underhandedness of it all makes me ill. I am thrilled that “right” won in the end. Sorry you had to wait so long.

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  119. Puglady 119

    I am someone who has been the “nasty” D.A., forced by her boss who is elected by the public, to prosecute traffic cases. If we dismissed every case, every accident would be on our office’s shoulders. Trust me, no one goes to law school with the dream of hashing it out with a non-lawyer over a speeding ticket. However, we are sworn to seek justice. Does it sound like justice was done here? No. But can I see how this happened, easily. D.A.’s, and most cops, have thankless jobs. We are routinely told we are incompetent liars high on power. Most traffic cases are prosecuted by new attorneys who have no clue what they are doing. Add all that to being in a trial that no one on earth wants to engage in and you do have a recipe for disaster. Take heart. Hubby who is also a D.A. got a ticket from a cop who then asked him how his case was fairing! If your appeal was denied, you could have asked for an expungement. I’m sorry your experience was so negative.

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  120. Oh my gosh. So much for “the police are our friends”. What a racket.

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  121. Reading this, I got so angry I was literally shaking. Honestly, the judicial system is so rediculously convoluted, I can’t understand how anything ever gets done! Do you know I went for almost a year, thinking I was divorced, when in fact, my ex never signed the paperwork???? No one ever told me he could do that!

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  122. Lara 122

    What a crazy story! But – go you!

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  123. Katie 123

    Reminds me of the time that I was followed by an unmarked police car and caught speeding. He followed me for 5 minutes cause “I looked like a speeder”. He even said that in court and the Judge actually looked me up and down. I was livid but there was nothing I could do but pay the mind numbing 270 dollars.

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  124. Irwin 124

    great!
    In my practice of UPL (unauthorized Practice of Law) – I help friends and never charge, I went through a similar experience – In the case that I filed a notice of appeal for, the court lost the tape of the hearing for 4 months since the judge acted improperly.
    Based on the failure to have a record, the court reversed the decision.
    However, there were errors in fact, errors in law, and just plain corruption. It was not a court, but a star chamber used to collect money(extort money).
    When are system gets to a point where a police officer has a quota to make, and that is the basis of giving tickets, then we, the people, have to go after elected officials who appoint judges or hearing officers.

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  125. Christy 125

    WHEW!!! I was on the edge of my seat until the end! I am so glad this ended like it did!

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  126. Mary 126

    Brava! What an ordeal, and good for you for not giving up! I’ve written a couple of checks to speed traps (one police station was right next to a store called Hoods; I had to bite my tongue to keep from making the obvious ironic comparison). I did have one ticket dismissed from pure sympathy. It was getting late and I asked a man in a suit if he could find out how long it would be, as I had to teach junior high in the morning. He was the prosecutor, and he threw out the ticket. I guess he thought teaching jr. high was enough punishment.

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  127. OMG!!! Awesome.

    My mom is an attorney, thus, it begs being shared with her. She’ll love this.

    I love how you stood your ground. I think, to date (and again, so glad you posted your favourites from ’08!), this has to be my fav…well close to the three things WB has not forgiven you for.

    Writing all of this out had to be cathartic on some level too! The next time I hear someone talk about not bothering to stand up for themselves I’m going to show them this post.

    Reply

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