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Thread: Be courteous to the judge

  1. #1

    Default Be courteous to the judge

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    I want to start by saying that this is in no way meant to bash police officers in any way. I have the utmost respect for those who are on the front lines every day keeping our streets safer. However in my area there is one officer who spends his days pulling over speeders and violators. Lord knows we need that. But this particular officer did not allow me to tell my side of the story and instead imposed his judgement. In this case I chose to stay in my lane as I went past the officer feeling it was safer than pulling over in front of people passing me like I was sitting still.

    Here's how it went:

    Back in June I was making my way home in heavy traffic on a Friday afternoon after a full rich day of baking in the sun inches from traffic on a highway while watching paving. Nothing unusual about it really. I had snapped a few photos to show in a safety meeting how close we are to motorists at times. Literally inches between us and passenger side mirrors as cars (or trucks) whiz past at 55+ mph.

    In my state they have a pull over law where you are supposed to move over a lane when troopers are on the shoulder. That fateful day in heavy traffic with cars passing me like I'm a picket fence post I did not pull over when going past a trooper. Suddenly Johnnie Law is passing cars, weaving back and forth like he just heard his house was on fire. Thinking nothing of it I pulled over to let him pass by.... but he didn't. He fell in behind me so I stopped thinking "hmmmm, tail light out? What?"

    "Show me your drivers license" he says in a gruff voice. I enquired why he had pulled me. He replied I had jeopordized his life while he was sitting in his patrol car writing notes. I appologized to which he answered "why, because you saw 50 people get away with it?" I responded that I thought it safer to stay in my lane. He replied "you had time to get over!!" He hands me a summons and I asked if I could just pay the fine. His reply was "see you in court"....

    Today was court day. The honorable Mr. Lanier was filling in. Super nice man whose photo is probably next to the definition of worlds greatest grandpa in the encylopedia (assuming that existed).

    I pled no contest. The judge looked at my record and asked the officer "why did you give this man a ticket?" He responded he felt I had jeopordized his life that day. The judge looked at me and smiled asking if I wanted to change my plea. I responded "no sir, the officer has a very dangerous job".

    So the judge says "do you want to pay the minimum fine or go to driving school" to which I replied "last time I went to driving school was driver ed in 1983, so how about I do that?" The courtroom audience laughed. The judge smiled and says "maybe you should teach the class"....

    The court room was filled with knuckle heads who looked like something the cat dragged in, ladies dressed like hookers, and drunkard rich men wearing suits. Case after case the judge tossed people in jail, imposed heavy fines and just went about passing sentences to people who obviously hadn't learned a damn thing about respecting the courts.

    Knowing if you show the judge all the respect he deserves in a quiet non assuming manner he or she will impose the lightest sentence possible. Even though I had admitted guilt my respect for the judge was rewarded with a compliment from the judge.

    I knew the court would side with a highly decorated officer of the law. No need to go for the peerick victory there. When the judge invited me to change my plea I looked at the policeman, raised my eyebrows as if to say "you hear that?"... and kept on in the uber respectful manner I began with.

    I also know that at my work part of my role is to assign police officers the hours they get paid at an overtime salary to sit in my work zones. And sooner or later I will encounter that officer on my terms, not his. I'm confident I will be fair minded about his hours, yet figure he'll remember my face and know that while he sits safely in his patrol car I'm walking inches from traffic and could've told that to the judge that day. I will explain to the officer that I know how to drive, I know the law and a couple of my work zones (and others in the past) resulted in the pull over law in my state. I've even spoken to my local legislator about expanding it for tow truck drivers and stranded motorists (to which the state congress did in 2016)... but I wasn't going to waste the judges time with that.

    Nope. I'll just sign up for driving school, pay my court cost and move on and maybe pass along a flashlight in the process. Perhaps someday that officer will cut somebody who had a bad day (like I had that day) a break. Perhaps not. But today I had my say in court and I thank my lucky stars it was in America, not Iran or Venezualla.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 08-25-2017 at 10:23 AM.
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  2. #2
    peter yetman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    I always say "Never argue with Policemen or Lunatics". Mostly it works out for the best.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    I'm so glad Norwegian police officers go through at least 3 years of training after completing college, and hold at least a bachelor degree (compared to 19 weeks on average for the US). It tends to have a positive effect on things like this. That said, I imagine you could find bad apples just about anywhere.

    Well handled, although I have to admit I'm curious what would've happened if you'd have changed your plea. Happy it worked out pretty well though. :-)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    I think you have demonstrated the difference between wisdom and knowledge!

    For the most part, cops are a reflection of the society they serve, so you're bound to come across a few with 'different' points of view. Glad you got the Judge who was right for your case...

  5. #5

    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    My wife said after "you shoulda changed your plea to not guilty". I sang the lyrics to a Kenny Rogers tune as we walked out of the building.... "you gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run...

    Yeah that officers beat is chocked full of folks going 93 in a 65 with expired licenses, unsafe tires and all kinds of dangerous driving.
    Me? I'm that guy who stays in the right lane, moves over at on ramps letting motorists merge and generally drives the speed limit. That day in June it was my turn to be pulled over. It happens. Heavy traffic, anxious police officer, bad day at work... it was the perfect storm and the eye was over me that day.

    One guy pled not guilty to going 88 in a 65. When the just asked his side he said "I was driving the same speed as everyone else"... the judge quipped "if they drove off a bridge would you drive off with them? I wouldn't" lol.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 08-25-2017 at 09:46 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    You're right, you couldn't win that case. The officer was technically correct -- and in the government, technically correct is the best kind of correct. Inviting you to change your plea was a test of your character, nothing more. You passed.

    As for the guy who got ticketed driving 88 in a 65 zone: That couldn't have been the only thing he was doing wrong. If he had actually been driving the same speed as everyone else, in an orderly manner, he would've been too inconspicuous for the police to notice him specifically. The judge's rationale is flawed, though, because insisting on sticking to the speed limit when everyone else is speeding just causes traffic to churn around you, and that increases the likelihood of a crash. I have said in court before that I was driving within a couple MPH of the people surrounding me so as to avoid being a traffic hazard as people rushed to pass me, and I just happened to be slightly faster than everyone else at the moment we drove into the radar zone. That got my fine reduced to the minimum. Twice.
    Last edited by fyrstormer; 08-26-2017 at 02:00 AM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    The court room was filled with knuckle heads who looked like something the cat dragged in, ladies dressed like hookers, and drunkard rich men wearing suits.
    ...heroin addicts with visible track marks, angry punks with spiky red mohawks giving the judge the middle finger, 90's era urban youths nodding to oversized headphones, an eastern european woman holding a screaming baby, fighting with her husband. Also, every hooker was chewing gum and rolling their eyes because they're bored.

    It's your classic Law & Order courtroom, where everyone's seemingly brought in for their first court appearance just minutes after committing their offense.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    >> he officer was technically correct

    Not sure about that.

    In most States the law says: Change lanes IF it is safe to do so. Otherwise slow down and proceed with caution. (or some variation of this)

    It is NOT always safe, or possible to move over a lane. It all depends on traffic conditions.
    Bill
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    In tx it's either get over or slow down 20mph below posted speed limit.

    Usually doesn't cause too much drama here.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    Quote Originally Posted by wjv View Post
    >> he officer was technically correct

    Not sure about that.

    In most States the law says: Change lanes IF it is safe to do so. Otherwise slow down and proceed with caution. (or some variation of this)

    It is NOT always safe, or possible to move over a lane. It all depends on traffic conditions.
    I don't think you understand what the word "technically" means.

    Unless you happen to be passing a stopped police car within the field-of-view of a traffic camera, there is no photographic evidence to substantiate your claim that it was unsafe to slow down and move over, so the officer's assessment of the situation will always win in court.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* RedLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    When I was in my twenties, and even now, I go to traffic court and am able to get the Judge, (After I ask him if his parents are pissed he is the traffic judge in Indio, CA, and INDIO is a DUMP, after all the law review courses at Harvard)! I get them so confused the clerk has to call another two or three judges, and the whole thing melts down , and they just dismiss the ticket, with the dumbfounded CHP cop saying something, and the judge tells him to be quiet. Then I get the cop in the hall, I tease the cop. Been doing this since the late 70's.

    You see in California, you can dismiss the judge for any reason, but only once. And that causes a complete break down. That is not always my trick, however you can use it.

    FIGHT YOUR TICKETS!!! They are revenue raisers!

    PS?..I have in the 80 s confused them with mathmatics only Einstein could conceive as wrong, but as no one else knows, I win...sometimes. Not every time, but traffic court is fun.

    Besides, the CHP shot at myself and my friends all 12 years old for riding Honda Mini trails. This was in Los Angeles County.

    My Dad, our attorney, my Mom, Garndmother went into that station and almost tore it apart. My dad gave me $1,000.00 to buy a faster bike, love the seventies. I think those fool got fired.

    Oh, and my family owned that thousands of acres we were riding on!
    Last edited by RedLED; 09-23-2017 at 08:03 PM.
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    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    They SHOT at you?? With guns? What the hell were they thinking???

  13. #13

    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    I wouldn't get too emotionally involved over a post that CHP shot at a bunch of 12 year olds on Mini Trails.

    ~ Chance
    Last edited by Chauncey Gardiner; 09-23-2017 at 08:10 PM.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    Nah it's time to get emotional.

    Let's get ​dramatic!
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    Flashaholic* RedLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    Well, they did, and it was scary, but they could not catch us, we just climbed up,on hills and, as boy's do flipped them off, yelled at them, the usual.

    One day day though one of them got out of his car and popped off a few, two or three to scare us. Then we all moved on to bigger bikes and they would never ever catch us, and that went on for quite a while...until...the helicopter arrived to help catch us, and it did. Case closed! Wait then case re-opened we owned the land they could no longer go out there by order of a judge. All of the parents were furious, just pissed...at THEM! I think the dude was just trying to scare us, and we told our parents, nothing ever became of it. Except I think the one guy may have been fired or suspended, this is almost 43 years ago. I still keep in touch with all those guy's I'll have to ask them the results from that incident. Still scary.

    We only lived in that area a short time due to some land deals my dad had in the 70's. Now it is all junky tract homes, and yogurt stores, dollar stores, and nail salons.

    Of of course now I doubt they would pull a stunt Like that as everyone has a phone, and they have bikes to go after people riding on mostly worthless land. Nothing is fun any more, things were better then.

    the last time I went to traffic court was because the Cop said: I'm citing you for no proof of insurance. And I replied, Dude you are holding my insurance card in your hand, and he just went Ahhhh, oh well!
    Last edited by RedLED; 09-23-2017 at 09:03 PM.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    Quote Originally Posted by leon2245 View Post
    Nah it's time to get emotional.

    Let's get ​dramatic!
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    I don't mean to be out of turn, and please forgive me if I'm wrong, but I was curious about something.

    Whatever happened to folks being accountable for their actions, and handling the consequences? I've had a few tickets over the years, and never got one that I didn't deserve.

    I never went to court on them, rather I accepted that I broke the law, and the right thing to do was settle the bill with the courts.

    On one ticket, I did talk to the prosecutor and he agreed to amend the speed if I paid the fine and didn't go to court.

    Respectfully, I don't see a lot of point in trying to upset the judge (who can make things fairly easy or tough on you, based on your actions).

    To me, it seems that fighting a ticket should be reserved for the times if you got a ticket and are factually innocent of the charges against you.

    Barring that, it's best to pay your fine and drive on, since you got caught. For the one time a person gets a ticket, how many times did they do something similar and not get caught?

    Being an adult means accepting responsibility for our actions, even if there are consequences.

    If I'm out of my lane, I apologize.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* RedLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    No, your not of line, I just like to confuse them, test them plus everyone else all the toughies, gang bangers are in there are so humble, head down, yes sir, no, sir. I have had some tickets I did deserve, but most I didn't, and I hate radar, lasers, cameras. So I just read the vehicle code, which the judges know three or four sections of, I have had tickets removed by simply reading.

    Also, I only do this in CA, the other states, I don't know what they may do? Like, PA.

    Give you an example, CHP again here, a couple of years back, I got pulled over for no reason moving my wife's office furniture, and since the truck, we have several, was for some reason in her name she got a ticket and we could not even figure it out. She just paid it, but I wanted to complain and she just said let it go,, she does not like that stuff like I do.

    I have friends on the local Departments here who tell me do this do that, traffic court makes them sick sometimes, too. It's all about raising money, keep your money. So many times the Cop does not show up, and I've just walked out. Remember these are not $25 dollar fines, they are hundreds and hundreds of dollars, plus fees, court costs, whatever that is, so just look after yourself.

    Oh, and remember what your insurance company will do to you! Just fight them., and read your States vehicle code. That is how you can twist things in your favor. My friends that are lawyers think it is very funny.

    One of of my oldest friends here in the desert, became a Cop, we were in the CDF (Now Cal-Fire), together in the late 70', arrested a Superior Court Judge for drunk driving three houses down from the judges house. They sent every official from his department, including the Sheriff, himself of, Riverside County, a 120 mile round trip in the middle of the night, for the Sheriff, who was pissed that my friend would not let the judge go, (Buddies, of course),but he would not budge. He said he cuffed the judge and threw him hard in the car like any other criminal.

    This was like 1987, and he never promoted, I always thought because of that night, but that made me respect him so much, that he did not let the judge who decides drunk driving cases off the hook. One heck, of a good cop my friend! He just retired. That took guts to do something like that!
    Last edited by RedLED; 09-23-2017 at 09:32 PM.
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    hahah keep it going. Every post is perpuitive
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  20. #20
    Johnnyh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    I have been in traffic court maybe 5 times in about 50 years of driving. Deserved it every time. Not bragging...I just have a weird compulsion to obey the law...
    I only fear that if something happens to me, my wife will sell all my stuff for what I told her I paid for it.

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* P_A_S_1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    Quote Originally Posted by leon2245 View Post
    ... an eastern european woman holding a screaming baby, fighting with her husband....

    .

    Was it Melanie and Donald?

  22. #22

    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    Quote Originally Posted by P_A_S_1 View Post
    Was it Melanie and Donald?
    I'm pretty sure they both have a chauffeur/bodyguard, so you wouldn't find either of them in traffic court.

    ~ Chance
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  23. #23

    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    Who's Malanie and Donald?

    I thought Donald married Daisey? Mickey said so anyway, but what does he know he's a mouse....
    John 3:16

  24. #24

    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    Well, I went to the court ordered Defensive Driving class yesterday. There's a flashlight moral in the story.

    The website said 9:00. It started at 8. I arrived at 8:30. The class was full of the same type of people who'd been in the courtroom that day in August. Again I thought I was inside a real life episode of the Jerry Springer show. They were pissed off that I only had to be there 7-1/2 hours and they had to stay for 8. I looked at the most vocal young punk with a glare and said "what!?!"... he calmed down quickly. Maybe it was the Elzetta t-shirt with a gray American flag on the sleeve and the Punisher ball cap?

    Anyway, one person stood out. This lady who was drunk from the night before, wearing a sling for her arm and announced she has pnuemonia so she may cough a lot, but "was not contagious"... The crowd was not pleased to hear that and made it known. The lady had parked in a handicap spot with no credentials and was asked to move her vehicle. After about 15 minutes someone asked what happened to the sick lady. Another said "she's outside laying on the ground"... about that time an ambulance arrived and rescue folks attended to her. Soon after that she came back inside with 2 head wounds bleeding. The crowd was really upset now as she coughed constantly....
    The instructor gave her a "completion certificate" and got her outta there pronto. He was given a standing ovation as the lady left.

    The instructor did his best to make the crowd understand that driving safely is a good thing. He kept hearing smart alick youngsters retort about how seatbelts are stupid, driving the speed limit is boring and the cops are out to get them for bonus money in their paychecks.

    The instructor on a number of occasions mentioned bright lights in rain, or fog is a bad idea and why. At one point he said "if you don't believe me try it with a flashlight sometime" and whips out his 'as seen on tv' number. He said "next time it's raining take your flashlight outside and turn it on high, then low and see which setting allows you to see better"....
    I smiled inside thinking "this non flashaholic gets it, now if only flashlight makers these days knew that".
    Last edited by bykfixer; 10-15-2017 at 09:30 AM.
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    I have gone on 'ride-alongs' with suburban LEOs a few times, usually swing shift - _very_ educational rides. All of the LEOs are now safely retired. The local squad was a Crown Vic with the usual assortment of tools.


    One of the stories was that the LEO I was riding with was returning from a Phoenix trip in his relatively new pickup on a Sunday morning. He set the cruise control to about ~5 MPH above the speed limit on I-40 (GPS measured). All was fine until he crossed into Texas and was pulled over by a Texas State Patrol officer, speeding was the offense. very few vehicles were visible on the Interstate. My acquaintance had all the info requested, but evidently he sounded different to the S.P.officer. I do not recall what my LEO acquaintance said was the question asked by the Texas S.P. officer, but my LEO acquaintance commented that he had better things to do on a Sunday morning than to pull over speeders barely above the speed limit. The Texas S.P. officer gave him a long look. My LEO: 'Yes, I am a police officer', and displayed his badge which up to that point was not known. the S.P. officer hesitated, then commented that they were looking for some cross-border trucks and this truck sort of fit a description. The ticket was downgraded to a warning. Evidently NCIC info does not indicate if a vehicle owner is also a LEO.

    Moral of the story: answer the questions asked and say nothing else until you better understand the situation.
    Last edited by moldyoldy; 10-15-2017 at 01:29 PM.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    ^^ the instructor must've said 50 times that cruise control is probably the best way to avoid a speeding ticket. Set slightly above the speed limit he showed a chart where running 80mph saved like 4 minutes over 63 at a given distance that takes about an hour.

    But sometimes you get pulled for other reasons like you said. Be cool to the policeman and there's a 50/50 chance you get a warning. If not be cool to the judge and they'll lean as far in your favor as the law allows.

    Your story makes me think I may have been pulled because I was in a newer construction truck with top light and all (and at 5:30pm on a Friday) a good chance I'd begun celebrating the weekend with some 12oz adult beverages. I hadn't considered the profiling thing.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 10-15-2017 at 03:09 PM.
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  27. #27
    *Flashaholic* gadget_lover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    I've had a few dozen tickets over the last 50 years. Several every year was the norm, but I drove a lot and thought it was the law of averages. That and the fact that I was a long haired biker, so I figured that I was being profiled and persecuted.

    I deserved all but two of them.

    Amazingly, I stopped getting tickets 25 years ago. It's not a coincidence that it was about the same time that I realized that I was only saving a few minutes a day by driving faster than I should. I also realized that I was spending an awful lot of time earning money to pay the fines and the huge insurance bills. I was also wasting time going to court and traffic school.

    So 25 years ago I simply stopped speeding. I set the cruise control and stay out of the fast lane. I slow down when I approach a speed limit sign instead of waiting to the last moment. The time I used to spend scanning the road for cops is now spent enjoying the ride.

    But back on subject... It really does pay to be nice to the judge. My son turned a bad day into a good one when he respectfully explained to the judge the things that had changed since his infraction, and how those changes should help him avoid doing it again. The judge reduced the fine to the minimum and removed the penalties and interest that had been assessed. Turned out to be a really nice judge.

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  28. #28

    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    Hi there,

    I never argue with police officers. Just try to make it a habit, for my own sake. But it often turns out that law representatives are better than we thought. And most driving instructors are supporting the idea to know your rights when stopped by police - https://www.aclu.org/know-your-right...ped-by-police/. A friend of mine once contacted American Civil Liberties Union to protect his rights and they found him a good lawyer.
    However, it's never too late to improve your driving skills as well. I'm planning to take a refresher driving test - looking for the driving schools in Corpus Christi, TX - just found Drivers Ed Courses on https://drivingschoolnear.me but I'm not sure, maybe I could find something nearer. Any experience with any local driving school?

  29. #29
    Flashaholic* DUQ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    First time I've ever read someone use "pyrrhic victory" other than myself
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  30. #30

    Default Re: Be courteous to the judge

    like many said, do not argue, do not even respond, you do not have to by law, they are often trying to escalate situation on purpose.

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