NMA Email Newsletter: Issue #26

Massachusetts Hits New Low

It was just recently that we discovered that Massachusetts authorities were maintaining driver license records that not only listed convictions for traffic law violations but they are also including all citations issued, including those the driver challenged in court and that were subsequently dismissed. The result is the police can target motorists who offend the “enforcers” by challenging them in court.

Not happy with just ripping off motorists to the tune of many millions of dollars in fines, fees, and surcharges, the Massachusetts’ Legislature has gone one better and passed a law levying $25 and $50 fees on anyone who attempts to defend themselves in traffic court. Even if the defendant is successful, the court keeps the fee! It is absolutely incredible that none of the sterling state legislators could recognize the potential abuse this can unleash on the citizenry.

Now the cops don’t even have to go through the pretense of observing a violation, they can just issue a ticket, not even bother showing up for court, and the system nets $25 to $75 in the 30 seconds it takes the pretend judge to say “not responsible.” That’s not a lot of money, but if the 250,000 defendants that challenged tickets last year are equaled this year that means something in the vicinity of $10 million dollars (rough numbers) just for the price of admission, regardless of innocence or guilt.

This is a recipe for profiling “trouble makers” (people who exercise their rights), abuse of authority, conflict of interest, and distorting any sense of justice that still hangs on in the Massachusetts court system. It’s being highlighted here in case your state legislators think this is a great idea that they should emulate, under the theory that the “bad people” should pay for the justice system.

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