Law Enforcement Is Not About Generating Revenue: Speed Trap And Booking Fee Edition

from the petty-cash-for-petty-people dept

People "ruining" speed traps by warning oncoming drivers usually results in some sort of interdiction by law enforcement. In most cases, what the citizen is doing isn't actually illegal, but that usually doesn't stop the person for being charged with something. A federal court ruled that warning other drivers of hidden cop cars (in this case by flashing your lights) is protected speech. Holding a sign saying "police ahead" is basically the same thing.

The Frisco traffic officer was camped in an unmarked Chevy, trying to catch drivers going above the speed limit, when he noticed something suspicious. Some of the motorists could see him. They waved. He had a feeling that a man named Ron Martin might have had something to do with it. Also aiding his suspicions:

Another officer had given him a heads-up via radio that he'd seen Martin out that day.

Martin is well known among the Frisco traffic cops. He has a history of "holding signs in the center median of traffic," as officer Thomas Mrozinski explained in a police report. His signs carry a simple message: "Police Ahead."

Mrozinski drove eastbound down Eldorado Parkway, Frisco's main artery. Sure enough there was Martin, standing in the median of the busy road. He hoisted a "Police Ahead" sign above his shoulder. "The sign appeared to be self-constructed with a yellow background and lettering in black attached to a wooden stick," Mrozinski writes in his police report.
Because Ron Martin wasn't doing anything necessarily wrong, Officer Mrozinski has to dig deep to find a criminal charge to use against Martin. He fell back on "violating a city ordinance." Martin's sign was confiscated and he was booked on misdemeanor charges.
In Martin's case, the officers charged him with violating Frisco's human sign ordinance, a Class C misdemeanor. The police report doesn't explain how he violated that specific law, and it doesn't seem to apply in this case. Frisco's city code defines human signs as humans who are in costume or otherwise holding or wearing signs for advertising purposes. And though he is a professional sign painter, Martin maintains that he wasn't advertising anything that day in the Eldorado median, just protesting.
Martin claims he was just trying to make the road "safer." Arguably, he was. Drivers were slowing down after reading his sign (and waving to the cop in the unmarked SUV). In that way, his ends were no different than the cop's: discourage speeding. But the cop arresting Martin felt the sign "interfered with enforcement duties." But unless Mrozinski had a quota to fill -- something that has been ruled illegal nearly everywhere -- the lack of speeders meant there was nothing to enforce.

The other argument used to justify hassling people who point out speed traps is that the person's actions prevent the department from collecting needed funds. Ticket revenue may fund police departments to a certain extent, but that's not the reason tickets exist. A police officer's purpose isn't to generate revenue. It's to enforce laws. With tickets, the two coincide, but if police departments rely heavily on tickets and fines for revenue, it becomes a perverse incentive. Police departments may not like seeing a source of revenue drying up thanks to someone holding up a warning sign, but there's little they can do about it. Generating revenue should never be the purpose for any law enforcement action.

Unless, of course, a very dubious circuit court decision declares generating revenue to be a legitimate part of "police business."

In this case, the court found that charging an arrested person a $30 booking fee was perfectly legal, as the PD had every right to earn money. So, anyone being arrested has to pay, whether or not the charges stick. No refunds.
Under Title 5 of its Village Code, the Village of Woodridge charges every arrestee in its custody a $30 booking fee. Indeed, after Woodridge police arrested the plaintiff-appellant for retail theft on January 8, 2011, the Village collected its $30 booking fee from him, without any opportunity to contest that collection either before or after the fee was taken. Mr. Markadonatos is not alone—Woodridge has taken the same $30 fee from each of the large number of people arrested and booked in its vicinity.
According to this decision, it's perfectly fine for the Village of Woodridge to generate revenue this way, either to simply "make ends meet" or turn a profit.
Woodridge’s booking fee clearly passes the rational basis test. In imposing the fee, Woodridge hopes to offset the cost of booking arrestees, or at the very least to collect revenue, either of which is a legitimate goal.
Scott Greenfield (along with the dissenting judge) tears that argument apart:
This is sheer insanity.

In dissent, Judge Hamilton writes what any person whose vision isn’t obscured by his rectum walls already knows:

"This should be a simple case. The village’s 'booking fee' ordinance is unconstitutional on its face. It takes property from all arrestees—the guilty and the innocent alike—without due process of law. The deprivation occurs at the time of arrest, immediately and finally. It occurs based on only the say-so and perhaps even the whim of one arresting officer. By no stretch of the imagination can that be due process of law."

This $30 booking fee, imposed immediately upon arrest because, well, a cop decided to arrest someone (and the donuts are ready, but that’s too snarky to say), is as facially, flagrantly, offensively unconstitutional as it gets. This isn’t a tough call.
This sort of decision will encourage those -- officers and supervisors -- who honestly believe police departments exist to generate revenue. Seeing as anyone being booked is charged $30, the incentive shifts from enforcing the law to booking as many people as possible. The actual charges aren't important as the fee is mandatory and backed by law. Routine infractions become trips "downtown," rather than warnings or tickets.

The same goes for stretching an advertising ordinance to fit some guy warning other drivers about a speed trap. Both people involved have ostensibly the same goal -- a reduction in speeding. Only one of them believes slower drivers means police business has been interfered with. And those defending this officer will often point to the loss of revenue, as if that were the point.

Even a majority of the commenters at Police One News, a law enforcement-oriented site, side with the guy holding the sign. Basically: he's doing our job and he's doing it for free. An empty marked police car will have the same effect as a guy holding a sign on the median. People slow down. But somehow, Officer Mrozinski managed to view it as an illegal act, one that prevented him and his unmarked vehicle from pouncing on speeders and making them pay. Someone took the fun out of his job and that someone needs to learn that you don't screw with cops, even if all he managed to throw at him was a misdemeanor based on an obscure advertising ordinance.



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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 5:58am

    so, did the guy get his money back and the charge(s) against him dropped?

     

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    Ryan Jentzsch (profile), Feb 4th, 2014 @ 6:31am

    Pay for Stay

    This goes hand in hand with the for profit prison system. When I was arrested (failure to appear for a nonmoving violation of not having my car registered but out on the street) I was charged $12 each day for the privilege of being incarcerated. Regardless of if I were convicted or not.
    It's all about money. Make no mistake. Police are there to protect and serve, not fill the city's coffers with money. Oh, wait this is Amerika. I forgot...

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 6:33am

    Re:

    No way, the fee is non-refundable, and besides, his actions interfered with "law enforcement" (read: making $$$).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 6:33am

    when are people going to admit to themselves that while there might be some good cops, the reality is that the personality types that go into this line of work are those that tend to be predatory in nature, not altruistic in nature. That is to say, the average cop isn't a cop because he honestly thinks in his heart that he is doing good, he's a cop because he likes the power. Yeah yeah, they all say the right things when interviewed, but their actions, bad ones, of which there are a lot, speak volumes to their real motives.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 6:35am

    Re: Pay for Stay

    That's messed up man. Fining people or restricting their freedom are legitimate tools of law enforcement. Charging people for being incarcerated is just adding insult to injury. Aren't our taxes supposed to support the police?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 6:42am

    Well, here it works like this: Police announce that they will set up a speedtrap on the internet. While the speedtrap is active, drivers will blink with their headlights as a warning for the oncoming traffic right after passing the trap.

    We had this discussion in the 1990s. One of the most convincing arguments was that some people were buying equipment able to find the traps and warn the driver so it was completely impossible to keep it a complete secret. Since the equipment had several legal uses and was too hard to single out, it was deemed impossible to stop.
    To avoid an advantage in owning and using this type of equipment, the police started informing about their speedtraps.

     

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    ChrisB (profile), Feb 4th, 2014 @ 7:24am

    Stunting

    In Alberta (Canada), the police ticket people who hold up signs or flash their high beams, warning of speed traps, with "stunting" (section 115.2.e).

    "perform or engage in any stunt or other activity that is
    likely to distract, startle or interfere with users of the
    highway;"

    The idea is that doing this may make someone change their driving, like slamming on the brakes, which may lead to an accident.

     

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    RyanNerd (profile), Feb 4th, 2014 @ 7:27am

    So what is the difference between...

    Someone holding up a sign warning of a speed trap, or a person who has purchased a radar detector?
    Shouldn't both go to jail? Or perhaps the people selling the radar detector should go to jail? Heck, let's throw all parties into jail for the sake of $$$$

     

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  9.  
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    RyanNerd (profile), Feb 4th, 2014 @ 7:30am

    Re: Re: Pay for Stay

    You're so cute in thinking that in Amerika your tax dollars are used for legitimate purposes.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 7:35am

    "Ticket revenue may fund police departments to a certain extent, but that's not the reason tickets exist."

    Bullshit. That's the MAIN reason they exist. It may not be the reason used to justify them. But make no mistake it is the primary reason that many police departments have entire divisions dedicated just to writing traffic tickets.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 7:55am

    Re: Pay for Stay

    First, municipal jails are not the same as for profit prisons. For profit prisons make money from contracts with the state or federal government so that the state and federal governments don't have to build and manage them themselves. They don't make their money directly off of the inmates. The two main problems with for profit prisons are that 1. the perverse incentive to have them filled exists in order to create a demand for new contracts to build and manage additional ones and 2. the incentive exists to try to cut corners in order to maximize profits at the expense of inhumane treatment of inmates. Neither of these situations exist with municipal jails and police departments enforcing petty misdemeanors such as traffic violations.

    Also, in many states there when someone is held in custody for a misdemeanor such as a traffic violation, there is a mandated amount per day that the court has to give the defendant in CREDIT that is often used to offset the fines that were accessed for the charge. So when you spend time in jail for a traffic ticket, they technically pay you instead of the other way around.

     

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    [redated], Feb 4th, 2014 @ 7:57am

    "Fee"? That's what thug said robbing me last week of $10.

    Just because village idiot imposes a "fee", it does not make it legal.

    I smell a nice lawsuit here. And, as usual, Mr Mrozinski will be running away like a cockroach upon being served with summons.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 7:57am

    Re:

    Actually, tickets are minor punitive measures designed to discourage speeding and other types of reckless driving without having to haul the average Joe who's late for a meeting downtown. It just so happens they are also a decent source of revenue. Police departments should NOT be turning speeding tickets into a business, though.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 7:58am

    Blogging about ongoing police "traps" can also get you thrown in jail:

    http://threatened.globalvoicesonline.org/blogger/elisha-strom

    "A 34-YEAR-OLD woman, the mother of a 12-year-old girl, has been locked up in a Virginia jail for three weeks. Her crime? Blogging about the police. Elisha Strom, who appears unable to make the $750 bail, was arrested outside Charlottesville on July 16 when police raided her house, confiscating notebooks, computers and camera equipment. Although the Charlottesville police chief, Timothy J. Longo Sr., had previously written to Ms. Strom warning her that her blog posts were interfering with the work of a local drug enforcement task force ... "

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 8:01am

    Wrong reason, but right result

    From the concurring opinion:

    ... it is undisputed that Markadonatos was lawfully arrested and charged with retail theft, entered a guilty plea, and was sentenced to a 12-month term of supervision and ordered to pay various court costs and criminal-justice fees.

    The guy's claim deserved to be rejected. But the court should have just stopped there, and told him that since his arrest was lawful he did not have standing to challenge the fee. It should be challenged by someone who was booked but either acquitted or never charged.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 8:08am

    Re: Wrong reason, but right result

    I made a mistake there. It's not because his "arrest was lawful". It's because he actually entered a guilty plea.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 8:09am

    Re: Re:

    Spend one day or evening observing the traffic court of a a large municipality where the dockets are WAY over-booked such that there aren't enough seats for everyone and the defendants are herded through like cattle being lead one by one to slaughter as cases are not so much heard as they are processed yet each hour's scheduled docket starts late because the previous one ran over schedule. Then remind yourself that all of these cases are the one's that didn't just say "Fuck it" and pay it ahead of time so they wouldn't have to deal with the hassle. Then realize that in this building they have 10 or so Make no mistake, it's handled as a high volume revenue generating machine. It's much less about getting people to drive in a safer manner.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 8:11am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Also realize that in same building with the particular court that you choose to observe, there are no less then 6-10 other courts with the exact same situation happening at exactly the same time.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Feb 4th, 2014 @ 8:22am

    Imagine if he held a sign with the sayings "FBI Surveillance Van ahead"? Guantanamo for terrorism attempt.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 8:26am

    Re: Stunting

    ChrisB (profile), Feb 4th, 2014 @ 7:24am

    Stunting
    In Alberta (Canada), the police ticket people who hold up signs or flash their high beams, warning of speed traps, with "stunting" (section 115.2.e).

    "perform or engage in any stunt or other activity that is
    likely to distract, startle or interfere with users of the
    highway;"

    The idea is that doing this may make someone change their driving, like slamming on the brakes, which may lead to an accident.


    Activity that is likely to distract... or interfere...

    So... if I use my blinker to 'distract' the attention of the other drivers to switch lanes I am technically afowl of this law.

    Brilliant! Another side effect of unintended consequences. So it is technically ILLEGAL to drive in (Alberta)Canada because you cannot do so without breaking a law.

     

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  21.  
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    austin, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 8:36am

    Using unmarked cars for minor enforcement is illegal in many states. Mrozinski is an imbecile by bragging on Facebook about using his suv to scam people.

    BTW, is driving with tinted like that windows legal in Frisco?

     

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  22.  
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    beltorak (profile), Feb 4th, 2014 @ 8:43am

    Re:

    Virginia? jesus fucking christ why does that not surprise me?

    From the same state that passed a bill imposing a mandatory fine of 3500 dollars for traffic violations which only in-state residents had to pay. I didn't believe it when I heard this, but right in the bill it said "this exists to generate revenue".

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 8:49am

    some states clamping down on ticket revenue

    There have been efforts in several states over the years to rein in the type of overzealous traffic cops that cities often rely on for revenue.

    http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=25006

    20 years ago when Texas law capped the amount that cities could keep (the remainder of fine revenue had to be given up to state coffers) the number of traffic tickets dropped remarkably. (who'd have ever guessed?)

    Yes, it's a racket. But then so is "civil forfeiture" - perhaps the greatest police abuse of all.

     

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  24.  
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    New Mexico Mark, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 9:01am

    Devil's advocate

    While I'm definitely on the sign-guy's side in this matter, mostly because of the lame charges and bogus fees, I understand police frustration with his actions. (This is with the HUGE caveat that this was a legitimate law enforcement attempt to make long-term changes to driver behavior in a high-risk area. Now wipe your nose and clean up the milk on the table.)

    Anticipatory warnings (like "police ahead" signs or even empty police cars) to aggressive, habitual speeders will only have the effect of very temporary behavior modification to avoid getting caught. Getting tickets/fines/points tends to make a difference for a longer time. I speak from experience as someone who hasn't had a ticket in decades, but who made significant "contributions" to law enforcement funding in my youth.

    I seriously doubt Mr. Signman (Martin) is truly altruistic in his motivations. After all, if his goal were simply to help drivers slow down, he would maximize his efforts by holding up "slow down" signs where there are no police cars.

    If this was truly just a speed trap having little or nothing to do with safety, I'm on the cheerleading squad for anything done legally to "interfere with police business". If it was a legitimate safety effort, he may be technically in the right, but really doing more harm than good, which will ultimately result in more stupid laws on the books. Who wants that?

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 9:37am

    Re: some states clamping down on ticket revenue

    Exactly. I remember that. But it didn't really affect the big municipalities that much because they had so much other income from property taxes that it didn't come close to meeting the percentage threshold of the total city budget. What it really hit were the small towns that ran speed traps that constituted 90% of the town's annual budget. Part of that law also required all of them to pay a certain flat rate to the state for every amount collected regardless of how small which was supposed to mean that they couldn't keep all of what they collected. Instead of course what really happened was that they just tacked that amount on as an increase to the fee or additional court cost.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 9:44am

    Florida state court (circuit) judges are not "federal."

    "A federal court ruled that warning other drivers of hidden cop cars (in this case by flashing your lights) is protected speech. Holding a sign saying "police ahead" is basically the same thing."

     

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  27.  
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    ottermaton (profile), Feb 4th, 2014 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: Pay for Stay

    Neither of these situations exist with municipal jails and police departments enforcing petty misdemeanors such as traffic violations.

    You couldn't be more wrong. County/municipal jails are funded by the Federal government which determines the amount of funding by ... guess what? ... number of inmates!

    Also, most of these jails don't run their own food services. They contract it out. Guess what that means? Cutting rations to increase profits!!! Woohoo!

    So when you spend time in jail for a traffic ticket, they technically pay you instead of the other way around.

    That is the most distorted view of what's happening there that I have ever heard. Hell no they're not "paying" you to be in jail, they are just giving you credit against your fines for time served. That's a lot different than "paying" you.

    But the big point is this: those "credits" for time served go ONLY against fines and do NOTHING to reduce those charges that are assessed against an inmate for each day incarcerated. Those STILL have to be paid.

    Where the hell did you come up with this nonsense?

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 9:53am

    Re: Devil's advocate

    Ok how about a better more effective plan. What if the police went out in pairs and parked marked cars along the side of the road and periodically moving them around the city to different places as if they were running a speed trap but rather leaving them there unattended for a few hours at a time at each location. When people see the car, not knowing that it is unattended, they will slow down. Mission accomplished. Note that while these don't generate income for the city, these cars will not need to be fine tuned, high performance pursuit machines capable of chasing down a fleeing suspect. They also will not have to be outfitted with expensive high tech radar gadgetry or even working flashing lights. They can be bare bones transportation simply painted to resemble an normal patrol car saving quite a bit on the cost of this endeavor. Furthermore, these cars can be left at their locations by employees that don't require a full officer's training as they will never actually interact with citizens or suspects. That would then free up all the other trained officers to actually work on cases where there are actual violent crimes. You cut the cost meanwhile maintaining the effectiveness of the actions to achieve the goal. Oh wait, I forgot. They don't make the money that way. Nevermind.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 9:59am

    "An empty marked police car will have the same effect"

    They used to do this along a busy expressway on my way to work. Needless to say, the presence of this empty car caused people to slow down resulting in a traffic jam at this particular point every day during the rush hours. It was there every day for more than a week. One morning there were three Dunkin Donuts boxes sitting on the hood of the car. Hilarious to say the least. The next day the car was gone and in-coincidentally, so were the traffic jams.

     

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    David Muir (profile), Feb 4th, 2014 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: Devil's advocate

    Actually, plenty of police agencies do this already and find it effective to some extent. But it has to be paired with actual enforcement obviously.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 10:11am

    Compare to WV rafting links

    Search "New River" + rafting = speed traps

    I guess WV can arrest a lot of websites for their speed trap warnings also.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 10:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Pay for Stay

    The issues of federal or state prisons which are built and run by private companies (which is what people are referring to when they say "for profit prisons") is A LOT different than the situation with municipal jails. Sure they may receive some federal funding based on the number of inmates and may contract some stuff out like meals, but that's not anywhere near the stuff that you hear about in the privately run prisons that have mostly long term inmates.

    As for the comment about them crediting you against your fine. If you didn't have a fine against you, you wouldn't be there in the first place. Crediting you for time served has exactly the same result as paying you for the served, but withholding it to offset the fine so in that situation there it's a matter of semantics. Charging you a per day fee, just means they have less to withhold so what else is the real difference? I've never seen that before but it wouldn't surprise me if some places do that.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 10:14am

    Re: Re: some states clamping down on ticket revenue

    Also "threat of property taxes" taxes -- like the city of Houston threatening to annex refineries built on unincorporated county land far outside city limits, but agreeing to leave them alone as long as a big cash *tribute* is paid each year.

    Basically legalized ransom. It's not just the Mafia that operates "protection" rackets.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Re: some states clamping down on ticket revenue

    Hadn't heard of that one in particular but it's not surprising. They've been doing the hostile annex thing for quite sometime.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 10:35am

    This is what happens when profits are prioritized above safety.

     

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    kog999, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 10:45am

    New policy Police departments keep $0 of the money collected from tickets. Problem Solved! They can still enforce for safety reasons but have no revenue incentives.

     

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  37.  
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    PRMan, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 10:59am

    Re:

    As someone who has worked with cops extensively, I can assure you that 90% of them ARE there because the altruistically want to make a positive difference in the world.

    Some go in because of the power and some are corrupted by it once they get there, but that number is around 10%.

     

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    Sheogorath (profile), Feb 4th, 2014 @ 11:00am

    What interference?

    But the cop arresting Martin felt the sign "interfered with enforcement duties".
    If anything, the sign aided law enforcement duties by getting drivers to stay within the speed limit. Or are the police saying that's not what speed traps are designed to do?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 11:01am

    Re:

    The problem is that technically all that money gets dumped into the big nebulous city fund with property taxes and everything else and what they receive back is paid back out of the same fund in the city budget. So technically the police department doesn't keep it. They give it to the city and then the city pays them.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re:

    So you are saying that the integrity of our police force is being decimated by corruption?

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 11:07am

    Re: Stunting

    And what, exactly, about the HUGE distraction of a loud siren and flashing lights for traffic that otherwise would not have wound up in an extremely dangerous situation of drivers suddenly stopping and/or merging out of lanes?

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 11:09am

    Re:

    Exactly. If you want to penalize an offender don't send the money to the enforcers. Instead send that cash to a neutral purpose, like paying in to the general tax fund or towards the deficit.

     

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  43.  
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    fluffy bunny, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Pay for Stay

    Woah Diablo, good point, although a tad ambiguous in spots, but simmer down on the vile.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: some states clamping down on ticket revenue

    That's a big reason why Disney -- ever legally shrewd -- got the Florida government to set up a special administrative district in which to build Disney World. They foresaw the issue of hostile annexation decades before it became common practice.

    I don't know the details, but I very much suspect that the reason Detroit went bankrupt was because the city was totally "boxed in" and unable to annex any of the surrounding *affluent* industrial and commercial areas that ring Detroit.

    That's how decaying cities survive -- by sucking the blood out of suburban communities.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: some states clamping down on ticket revenue

    To a certain extent, it makes sense though. When they are moderate in size they have a decent tax base, but as those neighborhoods decay from age and shiny new suburbs get built, the tax base moves outwards, and they chase it.

     

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  46.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Feb 4th, 2014 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re:

    ... 90% of them ARE there because the altruistically want to make a positive difference in the world.

    If that's so, then they can start by weeding out the '10%' that are making the rest of them, and 'law enforcement' as a whole, look bad by abusing their power and authority. When they do that, then I'll believe that 90% of them are actually good and looking to make a positive difference.

     

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  47.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Feb 4th, 2014 @ 12:08pm

    Re: So what is the difference between...

    Someone holding up a sign warning of a speed trap, or a person who has purchased a radar detector?

    Radar Detectors are legal in most states (Washington DC and Vermont being the two exceptions.) Radar Jammers are illegal federally and Laser Jammers in quite a few states.

    If your radar detector only receives signals and alerts you, it is perfectly safe to have except in those two places. The problem is that some of the devices out there called radar detectors do some sort of jamming, where they send signals back to the radar device that attempt to confuse it.

     

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  48.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Feb 4th, 2014 @ 12:28pm

    Re:

    BTW, is driving with tinted like that windows legal in Frisco?

    I am not that familiar with Texas motor vehicle laws, but I suspect like other states, it is only illegal for commoners. Police officers, commercial vehicle operators (taxi/private transportation,) and government officials are likely exempt either by the law or by professional courtesy.

     

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  49.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Feb 4th, 2014 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Devil's advocate

    Actually, plenty of police agencies do this already and find it effective to some extent. But it has to be paired with actual enforcement obviously.

    In So. Cal., PDs use speed carts and electronic speed radar signs to do the same thing with varying success. People still speed by them, but most people do slow down. Supposedly the carts in our city have cameras, but they aren't actually used for enforcement, but to protect the carts. A couple new carts actually have flashing blue and red lights which blink when the car goes too fast by the cart, but I noticed that they removed them after a couple times I saw them, probably because of the distraction and/or the legal issues surrounding red lights on vehicles not complying with the CVC.

     

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  50.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 4th, 2014 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Devil's advocate

    Getting tickets/fines/points tends to make a difference for a longer time.


    Is this actually true? I'm not saying that it isn't, but the habitual speeders I know certainly aren't deterred from speeding by tickets/fines/points. The get mad about them, but their behavior doesn't change.

    Where it could make a difference is with people who are speeding due to carelessness -- but those people would be just as "deterred" by the guy holding the sign warning of speed traps.

    Or, equally, by those "Your speed is..." radar signs.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 1:49pm

    Mrozinski' tinted windows

    "and government officials are likely exempt either by the law or by professional courtesy."

    I would suspect that in this very case is not. Since the victim (Mr Ron Martin) has to spend his time on case anyway, he should pull Mr Mrozinski's home address from public records and issue him personal citation on his own. And not only for that, but two dozen other violations he did in the process (false report/official misconduct etc). And keep building 42 USC 1983 ironclad case. After all, Mr Mrozinski decided to go against the traffic on a two-way legal street.

     

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  52.  
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    Bill Hedrick, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 1:54pm

    encouraging people to obey the law

    Really confusing here, the police are objecting to folks encouraging, by noting that the law is being enforced, drivers to drive within the speed limit? Not sure what we're seeing here.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 1:57pm

    Majority

    You know, another thing I'm curious about here is how a particular opinion is determined to be the "majority" when there are 3 judges and each one issues his own opinion. Why was that decision considered to be the majority, and not the concurring opinion?

     

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  54.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), Feb 4th, 2014 @ 5:39pm

    Re: Pay for Stay

    Can confirm. I received an OWI conviction that included 4 days in jail. I paid $75 US a day for my incarceration.

    Added bonus: one guy I was locked up with was in for meth production. Of the entire 96 hours, every waking moment I spent I watched this guy pace and listened to him talk about how to make meth. My probation officer asked me how I liked my "experience". I told her "it wasn't a total loss, I learned how to make meth".

    She was apoplectic. I couldn't understand why.

     

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  55.  
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    btrussell (profile), Feb 5th, 2014 @ 6:19pm

    Re: Re: Devil's advocate

    Well if you lose your license and are driving illegally, you are likely to be one of the best drivers on the road, obeying every rule of the road to avoid being pulled over and getting caught driving illegally.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
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    ottermaton (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 4:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Pay for Stay

    This is a little late so you may not even see it, but allow me to correct you again.

    Crediting you for time served has exactly the same result as paying you for the served, but withholding it to offset the fine so in that situation there it's a matter of semantics.

    It's more than "semantics" by a long shot. As I can illustrate with this very simple example: Suppose you have a fine of $11 and you get a per day "credit" of $10. In order to satisfy the fine you must be held 2 days minimum. Do you actually think they're going to give you the $9 change when you walk out the door? Or, even more absurdly, prorate the time so that you serve 26.4 hours? Hell no. And that's why it's not like being paid and why it's not just semantics.

    Charging you a per day fee, just means they have less to withhold so what else is the real difference?

    The per day fee is something completely outside the fines and something a person is still responsible for after leaving incarceration. I don't know how you figure this is "less to withhold" and a "difference" (both implying subtraction) when it's actually adding to the costs. Imagine a situation where the per day charge is higher than the per day credit (and in most counties the per day charge increases with each subsequent visit, so this is entirely possible); that would mean you would never get out. Absurd.

    I've never seen that before but it wouldn't surprise me if some places do that.

    That's pretty clear. So instead of trying to argue with me you should just listen instead.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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