(Janine Hansen) – Last week, I was in Elko “Justice” Court for a “speeding” ticket I received back in January 2011. The trial had been postponed. It was an eye opening experience that brought clearly to mind the collusion that exists between the Cops, the Courts, and the Legislature in their scheme to raise more revenue.
I was ticketed by the highway patrol for speeding in a “Construction Zone,” although there were no orange warning signs indicating that it was a construction zone, no cones, no barrels, no workers–just out of the blue there was a black and white reduce speed sign and in rapid succession a 65 and a 55 mile an hour speed signs. These were placed too close together to safely slow down. It was a speed trap.
The highway patrol had a plane overhead and cops were pulling people over as fast as they could. The airplane cop testified in court that on his first page there were 22 people ticketed (I was number 14) but that he hadn’t brought the second page which contained many more. I received a $302 ticket. I was so astonished at the manner in which the signs had been placed that I drove to town turned around and drove 10 miles back to check it out. In all my years of driving I have never witnessed anything like it.
Before the trial, my husband and I researched the law and found that the temporary speed signs were in violation of federal and state law, because there were no warning signs as required, and the signs were NOT placed with the required distances between them. These federal and state laws are mirrors of each other and are based on safety standards. The signs were placed in clear violation of the federal law and state law.
I made the case in my trial that this “construction zone” was in violation of the law and therefore I was wrongly charged. However, we found out according to the deputy district attorney that – the state can change the speed limits in the state at any time for any reason – and, I might add, without regard to federal or state law or safety requirements. Copies of the federal laws were not allowed to be placed in evidence. The engineer from the Nevada Dept. of Transportation was not allowed to give testimony regarding these facts, because the D.A. objected and the Judge backed him up. The D.A. said I was not ticketed for speeding in a construction zone, although that contradicted the testimony of the cop who gave me the ticket, but that I was just speeding.
The final outcome, after three and a half hours in court, was that the law, federal and state, has no place in the court room. The Judge simply repeated the D.A.’s arrogant absurdities in making her final decision. The implications of this are far reaching, if you consider what that really means is that the state does not have to obey the law and that cops and the courts are a law unto themselves. That is shocking!
I told the Judge that the entire proceedings were fraudulent. That justice was not to be had as the law was not allowed in her courtroom. I was bold in telling the truth. I had nothing to lose. I’d already paid the $302 fine. Apparently, chagrinned by the entire fiasco, the judge reduced my fine to $100, but as the law requires, charged me an additional $92 “administrative assessment”, more appropriately identified as a “ticket tax”.
Administrative assessments or the “ticket taxes” are simply a sneaky way the Legislature has found to revenue their citizens without adding new “taxes”, and they have an advantage of avoiding protests because they pick us off one at a time. The Legislature, the Courts and the Cops get away with their “ticket tax” because almost nobody takes the time to fight their tickets. Because my trial lasted three and a half hours with at least seven government employees required to be there, I cost the government money rather than allowing them to make money on me. If everyone went to court and fought their tickets, the government would soon realize that the “ticket tax” is an unprofitable revenue scheme. Unfortunately, we’re all too busy trying to pay our other taxes to take the time to fight the “ticket tax.”
In NRS 176.059-176.0613, the Legislature identifies the special uses of the administrative assessments, the “ticket tax” revenues. Everyone is on the take because ultimately the money ends up in City, County and the State General Funds. However, the lion’s share of money goes to the COURTS, from the municipal courts to the Supreme Court. It is used for every conceivable project including: court administration, facilities, continuing education, services of retired justices, debt service, juvenile justice system etc, etc, etc. And then there’s money going to the Cops through the Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Commission. Even the Dept. of Transportation, the ones responsible for the regulations regarding Construction Zone signs and safety, receives money for a “computerized interoperative system for information related to law enforcement.”
Of course, these exorbitant administrative assessments don’t only apply to tickets, but to all misdemeanors and in NRS176.062, they also apply to gross misdemeanors and felonies. What a racket for under the radar revenuing by the Legislature!
I wonder if they ever considered that because the cops and the courts financially benefit from the “ticket tax,” justice might be directly impaired. An independent judiciary is one of the bulwarks of a free society. But, if the judges and the courts are directly benefiting from the revenue raised from tickets or other misdemeanors, impartiality and indeed the whole justice system is called into question by the ticket tax.
This entire experience made clear to me the corrupt collusion between the Cops, the Courts, and the Legislature. All three branches of government, and those working for them, are directly benefiting from “ticket tax” which means more tickets, more ticket taxes, and unfortunately, less justice.
Challenge your ticket in Court and cost the government money instead of allowing them to make money from you. Make it unprofitable to raise revenue and fund their programs through “administrative assessments.” Just Say No to the Ticket Tax!