Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Day In Court

You all probably don't know what led up to this so here goes my story.

Last summer, a feud developed between 2 neighbors at the other end of my block about sidewalks. It seems that the trouble maker neighbor called the city and demanded that the sidewalks be repaired, knowing that this would cost the other neighbor.

So the city worker walked down one side of the block and out of 8 homes he picked 4 of us that he determined should have some of their sidewalk replaced, to appease the trouble maker (TB neighbor).

This is the worst of mine. Not quite double the size of the nickel to the right of the Pepsi can.

I being hurt at work and un-employed at the time called the City inspector and invited him out to look at my sidewalk in question. He arrived within 30 minutes and took pictures. I alluded to him that I was un-employed at the time and would not be returning to work for at least 6 weeks. His answer was that he would let the City Manager look at the pictures and if I didn't hear from him it was ok not to do anything. Well a month goes by and he drives up and tells Wilma we have to replace the sidewalk.

I then proceeded to call him again, reminding him of my un-employment and that the sidewalk was not broken, just raised a half inch on one side by tree roots. And to prevent anyone from tripping, I applied concrete patch to the raised sides completely eliminating any tripping hazard.

The wet cement "ramp" I applied eliminating the tripping hazard.

Within a month I received a notice to appear in District Court! Great! I guess the city is almost bankrupt if they start going after citizens with shifted sidewalks for funds!

So this afternoon, Wilma and I appeared in court. At first check in the officer of the court could not find my paper work. I was told to wait in the hall. After a half hour I was called into a meeting room with a dozen other people all pleading their cases separately. Complete chaos! There was the inspector with his "city appointed attorney", a young guy looking like he just got out of high school.

The inspector explained to the attorney that he would wave the charges for 120 days, as it is winter and cement cannot be poured, but I would have to plead guilty.

I felt I was being set up as I wasn't given any choices other than a guilty plea. After signing the "agreement to guilty" paper we were led back into the court room, where the officer of the court THEN gave me "my rights" with explanations of the different pleas I could give.

See...I should of been given that paper first with the explanations of different pleas, then the agreement paper!

So I know now that it's true! All those Cop shows, detective shows on TV are true how they trap and bend the laws for their benefit.

After hearing what sentence the Judge gave me, (paying a fine of $150.00) I knew that pleading guilty gave her, the Judge, the right to fine me! Even after I was given the chance to explain to the Judge how I was planning on replacing the sidewalk, but I couldn't do it in the time frame the city wanted because of financial responsibilities. No mercy was given me by either the city or the Judge.

Nice system, don't you think? What a damn rip off. Like I told Wilma, walking out of the courtroom, that this whole fiasco was nothing but an organized robbery by the city, backed by our law enforcement. They win, I loose.

So the moral of the story.....don't fight city hall! YOU WILL LOOSE! No matter how silly or incidental it might be. I guess I learned my lesson, but it's a hard pill to swallow.

Oh yes I forgot to mention; the maximum sentence for "my offense"......$500.00 fine and 90 days in jail! What a hoot! Can you just see me sitting in jail for not replacing a perfectly good sidewalk!!! I'm sure the newspapers would love to get a story like that.

Another adventure in our lives shared with you. Until next time, be safe and God Bless. And remember.....Don't fight City Hall ! ! ! !

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