Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Massachusetts: Felon Factory

I'm all in favor of police and prosecutors enforcing the law, cracking down on lawbreakers, and seeing them brought to justice, but this seems a tad excessive.

He lives in one of Wellesley's most exclusive neighborhoods, owns a $1.8 million Nantucket vacation home, and has a small fleet of luxury cars at his disposal. But when Gerald Hamelburg drives downtown, he doesn't like to pay his way, according to investigators with the state inspector general's office.

The Boston lawyer, they say, uses his deceased mother's handicapped placard to park his Mercedes convertible, free of charge, at meters near the High Street firm that bears his name.

"It's a particularly obnoxious example of abuse. You use a fake placard to park in any space you want anytime you want to? It's absurd. It's horrible," said Inspector General Gregory Sullivan, whose office pursued Hamelburg for nearly two years as part of an investigation into the misuse of the placards.


After state officials vowed to crack down on the abuse, the Registry began cross-checking with Social Security to ensure that placards are taken out of circulation when a driver dies. The Patrick administration also filed a bill making it a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, to use a counterfeit or altered placard. That bill was given initial approval Thursday by the House.

They're having a hard enough time putting dangerous, violent criminals in prison in Massachusetts for any appreciable stretch of time. Does anyone think they're going to start locking up people for misusing handicapped parking placards?

On second thought, don't answer that.

"What are you in for?"

"Got three years for raping a kid. You?"

(link via Eric the Viking)