The scene: a residential neighborhood, a school bus route, freshly fallen snow on the ground
- a handsome, young-at-heart editor, regularly cited as an exemplary driver by the state and his insurance company, eager to get to work but mindful of local traffic laws and, more important, the safety of young children waiting for their bus
- a malicious, power-hungry police officer desperate to fill a traffic violation quota
OK. That was petty. I admire the police, and the police I know are good people charged with a good task. I quote Joe Friday from Dragnet: Just the facts.
I'm accused of rolling through a stop sign. The same officer accused me of the same violation in the recent past, only one block away from the current crime scene. I don't think I rolled through the stop sign, nor did I think I rolled through the other one. But I paid that ticket to avoid the hassle of a court appearance. If I pay this one, I'm afraid, my insurance will go up. To paraphrase Peter MacNichol from 24, this situation has gone from being an irritant to being an obstacle.
It seems to me that what constitutes a full stop is largely a judgment call, and in my judgment I did come to a complete stop both times; in the judgment of the officer, I did not. It struck me as acidly funny that while he was running my plates and writing my ticket, nearly ten cars rolled through the stop sign right in front of us.
I've never contested a ticket, and I'm a little scared to, because I'm not a terribly compelling person. But I don't want my insurance to go up. I think I have a case, but I don't know for sure, and I need help articulating the case. Any takers?