Friday, July 10, 2009

Compare and Contrast

United (Most) States of America: Innocent until proven guilty.

Massachusetts: Guilty until you pay up.

Jeffrey McCob went to Gardner District Court this week with a $100 ticket hanging over his head. A month earlier, he had been pulled over on Route 2 for obstructing an emergency vehicle.

After making his case to Clerk Magistrate Whitney J. Brown, the Leominster resident was found not responsible and the ticket was dismissed. By challenging the ticket, Mr. McCob lost a couple of hours in travel and court time. It was certainly preferable, however, to paying the $100 and related insurance surcharges.

“If these types of tickets only came with a fine, maybe I'd have let it go,” Mr. McCob said. “But you're paying a lot more than the fine.”

Armed with the knowledge that more than 250,000 tickets for civil motor vehicle infractions were challenged in the state last fiscal year, legislators have voted to charge drivers $25 for such hearings.

Take a day of from work to fight a $100 speeding ticket, and if the court finds you were wrongly cited and clears you of any wrongdoing, the State will now be charging you $25 for the "privilege" of being found innocent.

And, now from the "Why I Originally Named This Blog 'mAss Backwards'" file:

State Sen. Stephen M. Brewer, D-Barre, was a member of the conference committee that discussed attaching a cost to clerk hearings. Legislators estimate the change will yield $5 million this fiscal year in revenue, all of which will be returned to the court system's budget.


With trial courts collectively taking an $18 million hit this year, Mr. Brewer said, “This provides a measure of restoration.”

What say you get police departments in the Commonwealth to, oh...I don't know...stop writing a QUARTER-MILLION BULLSHIT TICKETS A YEAR!?!?!? Yeah, like that'll happen. It's nowhere near as "progressive" a concept as flat-out extortion.

Remind me again which party "stands for the working man".

“Is it fun? Is it something I'm happy about? Heck no,” Mr. Brewer said. “But there's a mountain of things we're not happy about because of the hand we were dealt.”

Excuse me? The hand you were dealt???

You're the State, Senator Brewer.

You are the ones dealing the damn cards!

And, yet, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow morning, the voters of Massachusetts will bend over and take this. Sure, they'll bitch and moan about it for a half-hour or so. Maybe they'll even post some angry comments on their local papers' websites.

But, come election day, without fail, they'll re-elect the same authoritarian overlords, as if none of this ever happened.




Michael Graham aptly described this state of mind on his radio show today.

"Battered Voter Syndrome"