Thursday, January 07, 2010

Rachel-2, The Man-0
Or, Rachel Beats a Traffic Ticket

Some of you may have heard about my school zone speeding ticket, (26 in a 20 zone!!!). I was pretty annoyed about it so I fought it in court today. My argument was that the lights that alert drivers of a school zone were obscured by a tree. This is a courtroom artist's rendition of my hearing:

(Just kidding it is a picture I drew after the trial, note my cute "going to court pants".) I was a little nervous because the police man had a lawyer, and I didn't. The two of them seemed to be friends and I heard one of them scoff, "Oh, this should be hard" as they were going over the case together. I had three secret weapons though:

1. Over 14 hours of "Perry Mason" viewing
2. Mock-trial experience in 8th grade
3. Photo evidence

Exhibit A
Exhibit B:
Turns out that the first two weapons are really only useful for murder cases, which I have not been convicted of lately, so I mostly relied on my third secret weapon in this case.

First I had to wait in the courtroom for a long time. Then they brought in three inmates. (One of them was wearing a black and white striped jumper thing, JUST LIKE ON SPONGEBOB!) Then the judge came in and everybody stood up, then we all sat down and they called my name.

The policeman, in full police garb, took the stand, and the lawyer asked him several questions about his training and the maintenance of his radar-gun. (I did a Google search on "how to fight a speeding ticket" and this was something they suggest that you attack, in case the police man was ever remiss in his equipment checks.) Google would have been foiled in this court because officer The Man had impeccable radar habits. He did not have impeccable foiling Rachel's plan habits though, because he gave his account, of the afternoon he gave me my ticket, by saying, "I don't really remember much about it, I gave out a lot of tickets that day. I think she said she saw the lights."

The judge asked me if I had any questions for the witness. I actually had a few, but it didn't seem useful to ask them after he just said he couldn't really remember anything besides that I was speeding.

Then it was my turn. I stood at a tiny little podium and told the judge that the lights were obscured by trees and the only way that I would see them is if I had been really really looking for them. I also said that's probably why the officer gave so many tickets that day. Then I showed the prosecution lawyer my pictures and gave them to the clerk to show to the judge.

Next came closing remarks. The prosecution lawyer made a closing statement saying I should be found guilty anyway because I had never denied speeding. I know it's just his job, but I was kind of offended that he would say something like that when I just showed him my pictures, wasn't he paying attention???

For my closing remarks I said that I didn't have any reason to think there were any special traffic rules being enforced at that time, and that it is not fair to expect drivers to hunt for lights in trees instead of being aware of pedestrians on the sidewalk as you are normally instructed to do.

The judge said "Even though Ms. McEwen did not deny speeding I know reasonable doubt when I see it and it is here, she did not have proper notification, case dismissed."

I said "Thank you, your Honor" because that's what Perry says. Then I left the court-room and told the metal detector guy that I won, (since he is the only city employee person at the courthouse who didn't treat me like some kind of menace to society.)


M. McEwen said...

AWESOME!!!! This calls for a celebration!

Haley! said...

Victory!!! This story makes me glad! Mean popo...

Sara said...

Yay! Congratulations! Sounds like you should join mom's club!

Tara said...

Look at you!! I think you are ready for the next step!! Peoples Court!!! ;)
Awesome. Take that THE MAN!!!

Vaylene & Jordan said...

You crack me up!!! I love your drawings and I love checking your blog!! I am so glad you won. It was hard to see those lights! way to go!

Reecie! said...

Woo hoo! Good job!

Melanie said...

Go you! I'm actually impressed the cop even showed up. Around here (Houston) cops never show up, you can pretty much get out of any speeding ticket if you take it to court because they're too lazy to go. Except I didn't let my husband contest his recent $250 ticket because he was driving like a maniac and he deserved it.