Ticket Fixing Links
1. “In Praise of Traffic Tickets” by Tom Vanderbilt (8/28/09)
Vanderbilt points out the “social usefulness” of traffic tickets by citing notorious criminals that have been captured through traffic stops and showing that tickets truly do keep roadways safer.
2. “The Traffic Ticket System” by James J. Baxter, NMA President
Baxter argues that financial profit is the sole goal of the traffic ticket system and that it does virtually nothing to improve traffic safety.
3. “Traffic Law Violation: A Folk Crime” by H. Laurence Ross (1960-61)
Ross describes the unique nature of traffic crimes, focusing on their extremely high frequency (relative to other crimes), the fact that roads are social settings where people are interacting, and the public’s general acceptance that traffic crimes are a part of life.
4. “Broken Windows” by George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson (March 1982)
Here is the 1982 article advocating the fixing of “small” problems to prevent large problems.
5. “The Rico Act” Wikipedia.org
This link takes you to the Wikipedia page for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
6. “The Hobbs Act” Answers.com
Here you can find information on the Hobbs Act, which prohibits robbery or extortion that affects interstate commerce.
7. “Number of Dallas Police Who Issued Tickets for ‘Not Speaking English’ Grows” by Mark Memmott (10/27/09)
This article addresses the increased tendency for police officers in Dallas to issue tickets for not being able to speak English.
8. “Largo Police Chief Suspended Over Ticket Fixing Discipline” by Lorri Helfand, St. Petersburg Times (6/19/09)
A police chief in Florida is suspended for being too lenient on an officer who fixed a ticket.
9. “Sheriff: Deputy Offers to Fix Ticket for Sexual Favors” KFOX 14 El Paso (9/25/09)
A police sergeant was arrested on a charge of official oppression after he allegedly offered to fix a woman’s traffic ticket in return for “sexual favors.”
10. “Alleged ‘Ticket Fixer’ Facing 20 Years” by Timothy Bolger, Long Island Press (9/8/09)
A former Nassau County Traffic and Parking Violations (New York) employee has been charged with 10 counts of tampering with public records, 10 counts of falsifying business records, and 10 counts of official misconduct. This alleged ticket fixing cost the county up to $25K in lost revenue.
11. “Benzie County Prosecutor Faces Hearing” by Art Bukowski (10/27/08)
A Michigan prosecutor faces a hearing after ordering the dismissal of a speeding ticket issued to his stepson.
12. “2 More Judges Reprimanded in Ticket-fixing Cases” by Rochelle Olson, Star Tribune (8/23/07)
This article concerns two judges in Dakota County, Minnesota that were accused of settling cases for their acquaintances without telling a prosecutor.
13. “Long Island Officer Accused of Fixing Ticket” Yahoo News (11/1/08)
Here, a veteran police officer in Long Island is arrested and accused of fixing a traffic ticket in exchange for thousands of dollars worth of construction work on his home.
14. “U.S. Car Accident Cost: $164.2 Billion” by Catherine Clifford, CNNMoney.com (3/5/08)
A study by AAA concludes that traffic accidents cost $164.2 Billion a year. AAA considered medical costs, emergency and police services, property damage, lost productivity and quality of life in reaching this figure. It was also noted that this figure far exceeds the annual cost of traffic congestion.
15. “Click It or Ticket Insanity; 10% of Texans Have Arrest Warrants” Howestreet.com (6/3/09)
This article describes the high rate of traffic tickets doled out by police officers in Texas and around the country. According to the article, this stems from cities, states, and municipalities seeking to raise revenue instead of cutting expenses.
16. “Bayonne Parking Authority Fires Interim Admin Peter Cresci, Citing His Lawsuit” By Paul Takahashi, NJ.com (8/5/09)
This article concerns the firing of a New Jersey parking authority’s attorney and interim administrator. Issues in this complicated case include wrongful termination, conflict of interest, and a salary dispute.
17. “CJP Charges Stockton Judge With Ticket Fixing, Improper Influence” by a MetNews Staff Writer (9/6/01)
A San Joaquin Superior Court Judge was charged with fixing tickets for a friend, having improper ex parte communications with a highway patrol officer, and entering the court through the side door during a case involving people he knew (conveying that he was in a position to influence the outcome).
18. Letter to the Mayor of the District of Columbia from the Inspector General (12/13/05)
This letter informs the Mayor of ticket fixing by a former employee of the D.C. Office of Finance and Treasury assigned to the DMV. This person manipulated DMV records to clear unpaid fines in exchange for money. As a result, the D.C. government lost between $200K and $400K in revenue.
19. “Evidence Suggests Others Involved in Ticket Fixing” NewsChannel 5 (Nashville)
This article tells about a defense attorney that assumed the role of a county court judge when the real judge could not make it to work. The attorney dismissed 30-50 traffic tickets a day in the judge’s absence, many of which were not even scheduled to be heard in that particular court. The article also points out that this is not the only incidence of an attorney serving as a judge.
20. “Georgia Traffic Lawyer’s Weblog”
This blog features articles and entries concerning traffic laws and news (primarily in Georgia).
21. “Names Revealed in Ticket Fixing Operation” Las Vegas Now I-Team Exclusive
Here, a judge tells the public that her former clerk possessed a file of approximately 150 unpaid traffic citations. The clerk was holding these citations without informing the judge to help friends and family avoid paying them.
22. “Former Officer Indicted for Ticket Fixing” by Stephanie Scurlock, News Channel 3 Memphis (4/1/09)
According to indictments, a former Memphis police officer fabricated evidence to fix a ticket for somebody that he knew. Apparently he openly acknowledged his guilt in court and now faces 3 to 6 years in prison.
23. James J. Lightner v. City of Wilmington, NC (2008)
The plaintiff (Lightner) claimed that he was discriminated against (under Title VII) when he was suspended from the Wilmington Police Department. He was suspended for “pressuring” officers into dismissing individuals’ traffic tickets, which he denies. Throughout the proceedings, it came to light that the real reason for Lightner’s suspension was to cover up department wrongdoing (failure to report traffic incidents, etc.)
24. “Jury Awards Fired Seattle Court Worker $460k” by Bob Young, Seattle Times (3/24/09)
A jury in Seattle decided that a court worker did not get a fair hearing before being fired by the presiding judge, and should thus receive $460,000. The employee contends that he was fired because he did not want to follow his superiors’ orders to conceal information concerning the city’s Finance Department.
25. “Managers and HR may be Personally Liable for CEPA Mistakes” Business Management Daily (1/28/08)
This website describes an instance in New Jersey where a police officer sues the mayor and others for being denied a promotion that he was in line for. He believes that he was denied the promotion because he expressed to the mayor that “ticket fixing is illegal” after the mayor pushed for a ticket’s dismissal (a ticket given to the girlfriend of a City Council member).
26. NCJRS Abstract (1978)
The National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) cites a study concerning police officers’ definitions and understandings of “police corruption.”
27. “New Jersey: Grand Jury Indicts Judge for Ticket Fixing” (7/15/08)
Two New Jersey judges face jail time of up to 10 years and fines of up to $150K after dismissing a combined total of 223 parking tickets issued to either them, their relatives, or their friends.
28. “Pennies Won’t Pay Your Parking Ticket” by Josh Smith (12/17/08)
Smith presents this humorous article in which he describes situations where disgruntled recipients of parking tickets find interesting ways to pay their fines – from a wheelbarrow full of unrolled pennies to other unconventional methods (one of which sent a court employee to the hospital in Austin, Texas).
29. “A Culture of Ticket Fixing is Hard to Uproot in Western Pa.” By Torsten Ove, Pittsburgh Post Gazette (3/12/06)
This poignant article sheds light on the history of ticket fixing in Pittsburgh and across the nation. It also addresses the current state of ticket fixing and is chock full of examples that help paint an accurate picture of ticket fixing of the past and present.
30. “Report: Lax Oversight Made DeKalb Court Vulnerable to Scam” by Ty Tagami, Atlanta Journal-Constitution (9/8/09)
A Georgia court fell victim to a ticket fixing scam where court workers lied to judges, saying that the police officers who had issued the citations had authorized their downgrade from fines to warnings. This was a ploy to divert the fine money. The court now faces criticism that it has not taken the necessary steps to avoid another scam.
31. “News Room: From [Senator Eliot Shapleigh’s] Desk…” (7/19/07)
On his website, Senator Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso cites the high number of outstanding arrest warrants in El Paso and Austin, the majority of which are from moving violations. He says that they result from the state’s need for money and that the state unnecessarily uses the threat of prison to urge violators to pay.
32. “TA Report: Reckless Driving Casualties Rising as NYPD Enforcement Lags” by Brad Aaron (7/14/09)
A study shows that while traffic deaths are up in New York, traffic citations are down. The study presents some troubling stats concerning the issuance of traffic citations and also suggests certain remedies.
33. “Ticket Me, Goddamnit!” by Stephan Kinsella (10/23/89)
Kinsella tells a personal story where an officer “gave him a break” after he was speeding and driving without updated papers. Kinsella was disappointed that he was let go without a ticket on that officer’s “whims.” He goes on to criticize the arbitrary nature of tickets and ticket fixing.
34. “Trooper Accused of Fixing Traffic Ticket for Sex” AP (2010)
Here is a recent incidence of ticket fixing in return for sexual favors in Florida.