I spent the afternoon today in traffic court in Louisville, CO, and have once again lost respect for our justice system. It’s been 10 years since my last ticket. Apparently I was due.
As the trial started, the policeman went to great lengths to describe how he was staked out in his favorite hiding place, inside a carwash, near the the intersection of Main Street and Pine Street in Louisville. Through a series of well orchestrated questions between the DA and the cop, they spent the better part of a half hour explaining how I had come to the intersection on a night when there was absolutely no traffic on the road, and rather than coming to a complete stop, I rolled through the intersection. Few infractions have ever been this vicious.
The reality was that I did stop. But in the end, it was my word against his, and the judge sided with the cop.
Losing in court is always irritating. Especially when you know you’re right. But this is much less about winning or losing, and much more about a system that wastes huge amounts of time – this one consumed roughly 10 manhours – and produces no results. Cities that issue frivolous tickets end up scaring away business, and the money they derive from the tickets end up sucking many times that amount out of the local economy. The perfect win-lose arrangement.
More cops just mean more criminals. And they waste our time to justify their existence. All this for a fine of $85.