A day in traffic court

Posted: Thursday, May 04, 2000

Here's a short story of a day in traffic-court or why it's probably infinitely better to just go ahead and pay your citation directly to the CBJ treasury. Illegally parking anywhere near your home in downtown Juneau is a crime punishable by a $20 fee or worse - if you try to ignore it - but I didn't.

I exercised my democratic rights as a citizen and went before the bench. The putt-putt brigade had once more hung papers on the jeep and in the process passed up two other equally deserving offenders right in front of it. What good fortune to be passed over, I thought. But why? I wondered and I still do.

Calling the police department and talking to the chief's assistant wasn't at all enlightening. Nor was a returned call from the police public relations officer who simply suggested that I ``take it up with the assembly where these laws are thunk up in the first place.'' Hmmm, excellent public relations.

Now, traffic court is always on a Wednesday at 9 a.m. After a whole slug of teenybopper defendants were heard and while I had fidgeted and mulled over my iron-clad alibi, it suddenly was my turn. ``How do you plead?'' said his honor. ``Guilty your Honor,'' I forthrightly said, ``But under rather extenuating circumstances.''

The kindly judge indulged me and I guess everyone else waiting sufferingly behind me. I then presented my seemingly impregnable case. Much to my shock it was all over in a matter of, say, nanoseconds? The judge had been thinking too. The honor, if I may paraphrase, said thanks but no thanks - it's out of my hands. Indeed, and into the hands of the CBJ treasury.

At this point, I shakily told the arbiter that I would immediately pay the going price that very morning. With that assurance, I was summarily excused. Next.

Alan R. Munro Juneau

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