I thought I would write about an experience with my speeding ticket in the great state of Massachusetts.
A state trooper in the town of Hingham issued me a citation for driving 49 in a 35. The officer wrote me the citation right in front of a 45mph sign, literally right in front of. I of course decided to fight this, as I firmly believed that I was not guilty of the infraction. Along came the meeting with the magistrate, and well, we all know how those go. So, the next step was the trial, although the magistrate did offer to reduce my donation by 50%, but seeing how I could not write it off, I passed.
I went to trial. I asked for a delay, because I had not received any paperwork from either the state division of highways or the State Police that I had asked for. The State Police objected based on costs and wanted me to pay for the trooper's time, to the tune of $150.00. The judge asked if there were other cases for the trooper that day and the response was yes, so the extra charge was waived. I then received my requested paperwork from the division of highways a few days later. I studied it, and consulted with other parties in regards to procedures and policies for defense. I used a lot of stuff from the NMA and utilized the advice accordingly.
When it was time for my appearance before the revenue generator, I felt fairly well prepared. I was able to ask the trooper questions and even showed her inability to properly identify the correct vehicle for the infraction. Then it was my turn on the stand. I took all my paperwork and started to introduce photos and studies as evidence. The judge then stopped me and asked if the trooper objected to anything. Duh, she objected to just about everything. It turns out that the last speed study done for that stretch of highway to Nantasket beach was back in 1953. The study showed that where I was stopped and cited is actually a 45 mph zone, not a 35 mph zone, as the officer would have you believe. The officer objected based on the age of the study and the inability to authenticate the information. I offered the letter from the Director of the Mass. Division of Highways. The judge simply stated that the letter is hearsay and could not be admitted, yet this is the same information that she granted me a delay for. The judge then advised that she would mail me her decision in a few days. It took whole three days for the decision to arrive.. RESPONSIBLE. I immediately filed an appeal along with my donation of $100.00 for the processings.
I received my notice from the appeals court of what I would need to appeal on and when I was scheduled. I had help from a really nice person who took time to guide me through the process of the appeal. He assisted me in writing it and he critiqued it every step of the way. He too is an NMA member with a vast knowledge of cases and where to look for information. I want to say 'thank you' to this person now, you know who you are. I would say you name, but, I do not want you to get in trouble. If you won't get in trouble, please insert you name after the thank you.
I went before the appeal panel in Brockton, and that in itself was a weird feeling. The trooper that cited me was also there on her day off, bless her heart. We went before the judges; there were 3 sitting and 2 off to the side, just in case one of them had to remove himself. They called me first and asked what happened and I gave my explanation with the traffic studies and photos. They asked two questions regarding the studies and that was it for me. They then called the trooper forward and asked her side. She proceeded to state things that were not brought up at the original trial. They informed her that I had supplied them with the audio copies of the trial and only evidence offered at the original trial could be presented there. She went stating that she felt I didn't need any of the information I requested and the study I presented I got off the Internet and so forth. The panel then asked her about the special speed study done in 1953, and she stated she had no idea what that was about. They then asked her where the speed limit starts according to the law, and she answered "at the sign." The panel then stated that they would notify us of their decision by mail.
The decision came about 3 weeks later by mail. I was shaking like a leaf opening it up, thinking next stop will be the Supreme Court...
"Not Responsible, by prejudicial error." And that's all it said.