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:

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