Monday, October 11, 2010

Guilty until proven innocent

From Gotham Gazette:

A person can plead not guilty of a parking offense by mail, on the internet or in person. The problem though, is that the New York City Parking Violations Bureau and the Department of Finance require the driver or registered owner to pay the fine within 30 days. Pleading not guilty by mail or on the internet may result in a determination more than 30 days later. Paying the fine upon a finding of guilt then could entail a late penalty for the 30 days the not-guilty plea was under consideration. So someone who does not pay the fine, pleads not guilty and is found guilty must pay not only the original fine but also the penalty for late payment.

The Parking Violations Bureau adjudicated 1.27 million parking summons at in-person hearings in 2009, according to Dennis Boshnack, a Queens attorney with expertise in parking violations cases and a former Parking Violations Bureau administrative law judge or hearing officer. Writing in the New York Law Journal, Boshnack maintains that most drivers give up their fight because they are representing themselves and cannot continue litigation alone and/or pay lawyer's fees that can easily cost more than the fine itself. The small amounts of money involved in individual cases make suing the Parking Violations Bureau "unaffordable or impractical."


Anonymous said...

It's always "Guilty Until Proven Innocent".. not a surprise. Kind of ironic since USA is suppose to possess a legal system that is "Innocent until Proven Guilty". So DOT is writing their own rules.

Anonymous said...

The Gotham Gazette article is completely biased and withholding facts. If you plead not guilty online, the ticket appears as "under judgement" (or some similar phrase) until the judgement is decided.

and this:
Paying the penalty is a prerequisite for appealing a Parking Violations Bureau decision. The Rules of the City of New York read, "No appeal shall be permitted unless the fines and penalties assessed by the Hearing Examiner are paid, or the respondent shall have posted a cash or recognized surety company bond in the full amount of the final determination appealed from." In other words, payment is due before a determination is made. That might be called a presumption of guilt.

is absolutely correct and the way life in general works when it comes to guilt vs. innocence in the court systems here in the US, so I don't know what the GG's problem with this is. If you're found guilty of murder you sit in prison while you appeal if you so choose to. Appealing is not a get out of jail free card.

Queens Crapper said...

You're comparing a traffic infraction to murder? Please. Most crime convictions allow the defendant to remain free pending appeal. There isn't exactly an impartial judge in the case of parking tickets.

Anonymous said...

There hasn't been due process until you plead guilty, or at the hearing when you are found guilty. It isn't a lot to ask for the "late payment" clock to start at that point and not from the time of the violation.

And surprisingly, many defendants in murder cases are given bail prior to the trial.

Anonymous said...

It's called administrative law, where, since only a small amount of money is in controversy, one's rights are diluted equally. The reason PVB exists is because during the early 1960s, too many drivers pled not guilty and demanded that they be able to confront their accusers (police officers) in Criminal court, where the summons was returnable. Since that forced the cops off the streets, the city just changed it in a legislative stroke of the pen from "legal" to "administrative" and got it out of a court of law and into an administrative forum.

Anonymous said...

while enroute to the triboro bridge,i momentarily stopped my car at third avenue/at 80 street in Manhattan. i glanced at the sports page to see if there was a Yankee ball game at the stadium. if so i was going to turn downtown to 59 street bridge. the traffic northbound is gridlock prior to game time.
looking to my left,on the avenue side of my car, stood two traffic agents. the traffic light was green, my car engine was running, so i continued uptown.

not a word or body motion from the agents. i am not sure if he used the hand computer to scan my registration.

i will find out with the coming mail.i am not so sure that our city government meant for the agents to be so agressive with the motorists in n.y.c. there is no mercy anymore ,just pay up.btw .the sign did say no standing, so i did commit the crime for a few seconds. a possible $115.00 few second stop.

Anonymous said...

It's going to get to the point where you will need to be wired for video and sound just so you have a defense ready for summons abuse, or any encounter with NYPD or traffic for that matter.

Anonymous said...

I have a related question... since when did they start putting those giant yellow stickers on cars after one parking ticket????

I have been parking my car on my street for YEARS and YEARS and always move it for streetweeping, however, the other day, due to a family emergency, i was not able to do so in time.

Now, i was fully expecting a ticket, and would have had no problem paying. However, what made me IRATE was the giant sticker they plastered on my side window. How is this necessary, and how is it allowed that they are able to risk damage to personal property just to prove a point??? For a repeat offender, or a car that been abandoned, fine, but in this case, i find it a bit extreme and punitive, in the fact that i now had to go buy a chemical residue remover to get the thing off.

I am sending the remaining fragments of the sticker along in the envelope with my payment.

Anonymous said...

I am sending the remaining fragments of the sticker along in the envelope with my payment.

Wow! That'll show 'em, you tough guy! (Is that you, Blabs?)

Joe said...

""will need to be wired for video and sound""

No shit !
When I go to Willets Point I now hide a USB camera in the visor and a laptop in the back seat.
Bloomberg and that crooked senile wretch have the cops harassing the Willets Point customers.
After checking my reg and inspection stickers some 20 something YO prick tried to bust me for parking on a sidewalk when there was no sidewalk !
They confiscated my PBA card too !!

The cops also block acess and obstruct private commerce when the Mets are playing

Anonymous said...

i will find out with the coming mail.i am not so sure that our city government meant for the agents to be so agressive with the motorists in n.y.c. there is no mercy anymore ,just pay up.btw .the sign did say no standing, so i did commit the crime for a few seconds. a possible $115.00 few second stop.
Committing a traffic violation "for a few seconds" constitutes commiting the offense. If you go through a red light and then stop and back up to the other side of the crosswalk when you see a cop car, you still went through a red light. I have no love for traffic agents, but in this case I would classify thei actions as innovative and clever, not aggressive.

Anonymous said...

Our judicial system here in NYC is corrupt. They are told to abuse us by Bloomberg in exchange for free parking, high salaries and luxury condos in New Rochelle. Heaven forbid these public servants actually LIVED here and rode the subways to work.

This city is scum, run by scum and destroyed by scum. Everyone else just doesn't count.


Anonymous said...

you are comparing apples with oranges.....
standing at a "no standing" sign is not a moving violation.

your driving through a "red light" analogy is absurd. the punishment is "points on your license" and a moving violation fine. your insurance will also increase.

how can you resent traffic agents and also condone their no tolerance actions at motorists ,when a considerate action should have occurred instead?
have you or your bureaucrats no decency towards your fellow man?

Anonymous said...

With the right person in charge of PVB adjudications, the system would run right. As one former PVB Administrative Law Judge stated in a letter published in the New York Law Journal on September 9, 2010”:
“New York County Lawyers Association] reported that its subcommittee on administrative law judge reform had ‘spoken to a number of ALJs employed by the City at agencies other than OATH, all of whom feel that they are subject to an irreconcilable conflict: the requirement to be loyal to the agency and the duty to adjudicate disputes independently and in a fair and impartial manner’....
“That conflict is understandable in the Parking Violations Bureau. Though often working full time at the bureau, most of the administrative law judges are not employees of the city (Matter of Scheurer v. New York City Employees' Retirement Sys., 223 AD2d 379 [1st Dept. 1996]; VTL 236 [2] [d]). The bureau gives them no rights to their jobs or to redress of their grievances.
“The Parking Violations Bureau makes it easy for its law judges to be "loyal to the agency." The public does not have access to the bureau's hearings, and while a record must be made of the hearing on a plea of not guilty (VTL 240 [2][g]), the tape recorders used seldom allow a reliable hearing transcript. Administrative law judges at the bureau's commercial adjudications unit write no decisions, even when requested to do so by the motorist upon a conviction.
“The appeals board, under VTL 243(3), does not review the record of the hearing below. When affirming a conviction, the board uses a form decision, which, (despite the requirements for a decision set forth in Matter of Montauk Improvement v. Proccacino, 41 NY2d 913 [1977]), states only, "Upon review of the entire record before us, we find no error of fact or law. The Judge's decision is upheld."
“That, as Mr. Boshnack reports, "PVB issues typically evade court review," contributes to the problem with Parking Violations Bureau adjudications. So does the fact that the bureau is part of the Department of Finance, whose overarching mission is to collect revenue for the city.
“After NYCLA released its report, the city adopted rules of conduct for its administrative law judges, but those rules have had little effect at the Parking Violations Bureau, where leadership continued to conduct
business as usual. If that leadership would encourage administrative law judge independence and impartiality, and inform the law judges on the few recurring bureau adjudication issues that an average motorist sitting as an administrative law judge cannot be expected to resolve adequat~ly with a copy of the New York City Traffic Rules, the bureau's administrative law judges can and will do a very good job.”