A Parking Ticket Victory in Legal-land

On March 16 of this year, I received a parking ticket while parked on Winter Street. After looking at the ticket, I realized that the ticket was written before the meter was supposed to have expired. I had parked at 1:00pm and put enough money in the meter to cover the next 1 hour and 6 minutes. The ticket was written at 2:05:57. A few days later, I went to the Police Department stating that I would like to challenge the ticket. A Pre-Trial Conference (PTC) was set, and I motioned to waive the PTC. A Hearing was then scheduled for June 12 at 9:00am.

I arrived at the District Court at approximately 8:40am and at 8:50 was called by the Clerk to go into the “small room” near the lobby. I can only guess that Judge Burke did not want everyone in the main court room to see the trial.

The only witness against me was Jane McDermott, the Parking Enforcer who issued the ticket. During cross-examination I asked how, since the meters aren’t calibrated, she knew the meters kept accurate time, she stating that she doesn’t know, but if the batteries are bad, they replace them. I attempted to make a statement and was told that I would have to testify in order to introduce any “evidence,” so after the “City” rested it’s case, I was sworn in. I stated that on the date in question, I had parked at 1:00pm and put enough money in the meter to cover the next 1 hour and 6 minutes, which meant the meter should not have expired until at least 2:06 (and some seconds). Since the ticket was written at 2:05:57, I was shorted some amount of time that I was owed.

Judge Burke then said “Since the burden of proof is on the City to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, I am marking a finding of not guilty.”

Here’s the trial video, which starts late due to the cameraman arriving on time, but the court deciding to start early:

7 Comments

    • im giving burke credit…i think he was fair

    • the informalness of the trial in; that room…is informative

  1. Are Keene parking meters subject to weights and measures laws like gasoline and red light cameras?

    If the meters aren’t calibrated properly, a class action civil injunction request should be filed to stop meter operations until calibration tests are performed. Calibration tests on these meters should be performed every 6 months.

  2. And this is why we should always challenge tickets.

  3. Municipal/traffic/city courts are unconstitutional and all tickets, code violations and/or/other accusations should be challenged for lack of jurisdiction. The only legal courts are Article 3 courts. All others are in violation of the Constitution. Keene has tons of activists and I am surprised at how none, (to my knowledge), challenge the cities jurisdiction.

    Cities are CORPORATIONS, just like McDonalds is a CORPORATION. Unless one is employed by a CORPORATION, one does not have to abide by a CORPORATIONS rules. Further, most court hearings in a city, (CORPORATION), court are CIVIL actions, (i.e. a lawsuit is being dealt with). A lawsuit requires two or more people to be in contract with one another and an accusation by one that the other(s) violated said contract. Once the accused, (the DEFENDANT), agrees to have the matter heard in the cities court, then the accused is admitting that a contract exists and there is grounds for a dispute as to rather the accused violated said contract or not.
    Were the CORPORATION doing business as, (D.B.A.) the city charging a criminal offense, there would have to be an injured party and evidence of an injured party. If one were to drive over a parking meter negligently or intentionally, then the city would have proof, (evidence), that an actual crime was committed. However, if a meter runs out of time, no actual injury was caused in the criminal sense. It then becomes a civil matter and the city is, in effect, suing for lost income from that meter. It can be argued, (rightfully so in my opinion), that once a man or woman parks in a metered spot, that man or woman has agreed to a contract with the city. HOWEVER, that, being a civil action, it can only be heard in a court, (ARTICLE 3), that is unbiased and acknowledged by the Constitution: A court funded by the CORPORATION D.B.A. the city, who is acting as the PLAINTIFF, and employs the Judge, Prosecutor and witnesses against the accused, is not an unbiased court and is therefore null and void in all of its actions against the accused.
    You all might want to look into that.

    • Everything you say is true (for your jurisdiction, so a note of caution to do your homework for your particular state, county, city, etc. For example, in Washington state the evidence standard is “preponderance of evidence” which is translated by the money grubbing courts as “it’s true because the officer says so and as an officer he/she has more credibility than you do.”) The biggest battle is those in the system (judges, attorneys, police officers) don’t know this information because the system has been bastardized for so long. It’s going to take millions of us educating ourselves and standing up for our freedom. Fortunately, the numbers are on our side. Thanks for doing your part–keep it up.

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