What’s the difference between the state and the mob? The mob is honest about their intent while the state tries to hide behind the term “justice.” Although I’ll save you the specifics I will mention that I received a parking ticket on Sunday. First of all St. Paul needs to get their shit together because nowhere on the ticket does it state how much money they are trying to extort from me. How am I to pay them without knowing how much money they are demanding?
But this isn’t about the fine, it’s about the system. You ultimately have two options; pay the fine or fight it. If you pay the fine you are admitting guilt as stated on the ticket. If you try to fight the ticket you must use the same system that issued you the ticket to fight it. Basically you either are admitting that you’re a criminal or you have to deal with a massive conflict of interest.
In this situation I am against admitting guilt as there is no victim and thus I see no crime to admit guilt to. On the other hand if I try to fight the ticket I will have to take time off of work and possible pay a court fee (thus I will likely pay them either way which is why I use the term extortion). Either way I’m going to be out money and this is exactly how the police department wants it. The only reason all of these parking ordinances exist is to fill the coffers of the local police departments. There is no legitimate reason why my parking on a publicly owned and tax payer funded street should garner a fine of unknown amount.
Likewise there is a giant conflict of interest in having to ask an officer of the same precinct to determine a ticket as invalid. If I write you a ticket you should not have to beg me to rule it illegitimate. This is a problem right up to the Supreme Court where the legitimacy of federal laws are determined by the federal government.
Either way the system is stacked against the accused. Even if the ticket is ruled to be illegitimate I am still punished. My guilt matters not as I will receive the same punishment regardless of the outcome (an unknown monetary loss). The police have found a means of practically guaranteeing income by writing fines that are expensive to fight. I’m sure they are aware that a majority of people will pay the fine and accept the accusation made against them not because they feel themselves guilty but because it will cost them more to fight it.
Of course I have to wait at least three business days in order to fight it. I was under the belief that all these computerized systems would allow a ticket to be instantly filed with the court but alas I was incorrect. Apparently it can take up to 10 days to file a ticket with the court and you can’t fight it until it’s been filed. It’s nice to see they are held to no real schedule yet I am as if I don’t pay the fine within 21 days they assess a late fee.