Like most people, I have what I consider to be a normal driving style and speed. The speed is usually in sync with the fastest traffic. If there is no traffic, it gravitates toward a safe speed for the conditions, the vehicle, and my riding/driving abilities. It turns out that sometimes, members of the constabulary do not share my sense of calibration. Instead, they refer to something they call,…the law.

Recently, I unknowingly prompted a roadside conference with a member of said constabulary. In this case, he was clearly mistaken about the target of his radar gun, as evidenced by the fact that two of us pulled over to let him pursue his quarry. We were shocked to learn that we were the quarry. Neither of us knew why, as we were slowing to make a left onto an interstate onramp. This encounter ended well, and points out that the law, and its’ enforcement agents are fallible. However, that is not the normal outcome.

Normally, We are presented with a couple of options: One, make a sizeable contribution, as depicted on something called a summons, to the revenue of the local precinct and judiciary. Two, accept an invitation to a future event involving said officer and his friends from the judiciary, where we can meet like-minded individuals and make a delayed and possibly enhanced contribution. Frankly, neither option is very appealing, and I think a better process is in order.

First, in the event of an infraction, we should be innocent until proven guilty. Why are we handed a verdict and a sentence before trial?? Why is there a real disincentive to pleading not guilty (lost time, travel back to East Dirtpatch, etc)?? Second, the jurisdiction should be of OUR choosing. We should be able defend ourselves in a place where people know our fine upstanding character. …..Well……at least some place where they are neutral. At the scene, we are just transient scofflaws presumed to be guilty. Third, we should be entitled to a jury of our peers. I would choose some guys from the Early 911 Gruppe (ok maybe a lot from this group), a few guys from the 2002 club, a few from the RCM crew, some Airheads, a few GS Giants, and a few from the RC51 forum. These are true peers and I’m sure I could find twelve, even if I eliminate those with extensive criminal records. Last, if we prevail, we should get additional compensation for a day lost from work, time and effort preparing for trial, jury duty pay for the jury, and the officer and the court should pay the fine. Now that would be justice !

One Reply to “Adjudicating Justice”

  1. Glad yours ended well at the scene. I was the victim of predatory policing in Seaside (the officer said I blew through a stop sign on a street I was never on) with my wife and 1-year old daughter in the car. I explained that I do not bypass stop-signs, especially with my wife and infant in the car, and that I was never even on the street that he "spotted" me, but it did me no good. Twice I had to go down to Seaside to fight the ticket and was let off on a technicality as the officer didn’t show up to defend the charges. I was happy to be vindicated, but swore to myself never to return to Seaside in protest.

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