Tuesday, November 18, 2008


HOORAY, HOORAY, HOORAY!   Several weeks ago I was pulled over with overdue registration.  It was two motorcycle cops who looked like twins.  Big bald guys.  The one stood in behind the car cleaning out his ears with Q-tips (true) while the other growled at me (not completely true .. but you get the idea).  The fine was $407 ... and it didn't matter to him a single bit that I promised I would get the car registered on Friday ... he just continued to growl.  Well, I could either pay the fine before November 18th or go to court and hope for a lenient judge.  At noon today I appeared in traffic court for the 2nd time in my life.  It was short and sweet.  For your entertainment I will reconstruct the event:
Judge:  Is this your legal name?
Me: yes.
Judge:  How do you plead?
Me: guilty.
Judge:  Is your car registered now?
Me: yes.
Judge: Please give the baliff your registration
(I give to baliff, baliff gives to judge, judge looks at it.)
Judge:  I will suspend the fine.
Me:  Thank you.
Then I fairly danced out of the courtroom to my car and giddily called Brad to share the good news.
Ok ... that may not have been very entertaining.  So to make up for it, I'll share my other experience in traffic court.  But before I do, let me just tell you that I have a completely clean record.  When I was 16 I did back a pick up truck into the missionaries' car - but no citation then.  And once when I was driving back to Philly from Utah for Christmas I got pulled over (my brother insisted I drive as fast as he was driving - it was his fault!) but the cop was kind; then my only real ticket was in tiny Sitka when I was pulled over for speeding in a school zone.  I deserved that one.  BUT now my record is clean - that was a long time ago.  So anyway, while in Sitka (remember, this is a town of only 9,000 people) I was at the middle school one evening for a meeting of basketball coaches.  (Just wanted to brag about that a bit ... I'm sure Sitka's the ONLY place that would have me for a coach)  Anyway, I came out to see Kyle Ferguson .... oops ... I mean, OFFICER Ferguson, sticking a ticket on my windshield.  Technically it was my sister's windshield ... but  ........  Anyway, there was no yellow curb, no "no parking" sign, no indication that I couldn't park there.  As we had previously visited with each other (hehehe) I wasn't afraid to debate this with him.  After 15 minutes I realized we were at an impass.  I did tell him that it would be easier for him to rip up the ticket than to come to court on his day off.  But he was stubborn.  So 6 weeks later I did see him in court.  In preparation I took pictures from all angles.  The majistrate happened to be Judge Horton (I had interviewed him for our TV show a few weeks earlier - but even if it were the other judge, I knew him too) who I knew to be wise and fair.  Officer Ferguson presented his side, then I spoke - and quite eloquently, I might add!  I presented the pictures, the circumstance, everything.  After some deliberation, some research into a couple of HUGE books, the judge dismissed the case.  What a thrill of triumph that was!  Way more dramatic than today's traffic court.  But although today was short and sweet, I am way more grateful.  


Tasha said...

yeah for traffic court. I got a ticket once for an over due registration, i don't claim it though. I never paid attention to that stuff so it was Earl's ticket. (now i pay attention to that stuff) My only other one speeding while test driving a car. I wasn't even paying attention to my speed, I was too busy checking out the car. oops.
I spent one very long night in traffic school (2 hours i will never get back) but i didn't have to pay the $75.

Trevor, Caci, and Jace said...

WAY TO GO! That song, "You gotta fight... for your rights... you gotta FIGHT for your RIGHTS!!!!!!" Was playing through my head the whole time I was reading that blog. My own personal theme song for your entry-- that's how moving it was.

lizschroeder said...

Wow Denalee, why don't you try your hand at being a lawyer. I've been in "debates" with you and it's hard to overturn your strong convictions. . . .:)

Denalee said...

No way LIzzy! You can always beat me in a debate! But I do give you a good run for your money :) Actually though, ever since I served on a jury the first time, I've wanted to go into law ... but then again, when I had my appendectomy I wanted to become a doctor ... then when I had my babies I wanted to be a midwife - sheesh! I need 5 or 6 lifetimes.