Source:
http://www.americasvoices.org/archives2004/YoungD/YoungD_062504.htm

The Fleecing Of America -- I: The Prostitution Of The Courts & Justice
System
David A. Young

[email protected]

Most parents, psychologists and sociologists know that respect is a quality
that is learned at a very early age. Respect for parents, teachers and
persons of authority grows and is transferred to others and to institutions
as we grow older. The same applies to disrespect. Both are learned and
taught by others.

I have observed over the years a growing disrespect for our courts, the
justice system and law enforcement. Each has been prostituted in the
interest of their own self-interests. As such, each has amassed power,
control and financial resources to perpetuate their existence without the
voters and taxpayers approval.

A recent example occurred in the Village of New Rome, Ohio. A police chief
and a small police force literally held the village in captivity while
illegally arresting thousands of motorists passing through a two block
stretch of highway (U.S. Route 40) and issuing citations requiring an
appearance in a bogus Mayor's Court which assessed exorbitant "traffic"
fines. Vehicles were often impounded for tail light malfunctions and other
common "equipment failures". Fines were compounded to include towing,
storage, and points on drivers' records. They got by with it because the
police and their terrorist-like behavior produced over 90% of the income for
the village and for the police department. The 60 residents were happy as
clams not to have to pay any taxes. They were also afraid of personal
repercussions if they spoke out.

The outrageous, and now determined to be illegal, conduct of the New Rome
police force resulted in legislation enacted by the Ohio State Legislature
dissolving villages of less than 60 and the disbandment of the New Rome
Police Department. The Franklin County Prosecutor is now working to dismiss
the charges and expunge the Department of Motor Vehicle records of all
motorist's whose cases have not been heard; but the poor souls (over 3,100)
who already have already paid their fines and had their records besmirched
and insurance rates increased as a result are S.O.L. The New Rome Police
Chief has not been charged, nor have any legal actions been brought against
the persons who perpetrated this illegal and un-American disgrace.

New Rome is not alone, nor is it an anomaly. Perhaps New Rome was more
blatant, but similar police, court and prosecutorial behavior continues
every day right in the City of Columbus (the largest city in Ohio and tenth
largest in the U.S.) and Franklin County, Ohio. I have had occasion to
observe it recently first hand during six visits to the Franklin County
Municipal Courts, initially as a subpoenaed witness in a motor vehicle
accident case and subsequently as a friend accompanying my friend whose
appearance was required for a minor traffic "misdemeanor".

The inefficient, discourteous manner of court employees and surly behavior
of police officers and the apparent illusion of pious status by judges and
magistrates is obvious. Nearly everything is done to inconvenience the
taxpayer, defendants, witnesses and others going to the Franklin County Hall
of Justice and Courts. County bureaucrats, judges, police officers and
court employees have reserved for themselves parking, while all others are
forced to pay exorbitant parking fees as high as $12.50 for three hours or
any part thereof. Parking meters only accept quarters for 12 minutes and
have a one-hour limit. Navigating the distance from the meters to the Hall
of Justice, the traffic, and the gauntlet of surly overweight security
personnel may itself take an hour to accomplish, not to mention an
additional hour or two for the judge or other court personnel to make their
regal appearance. Meter maids constantly walk the area like flies, issuing
exorbitant parking tickets exceeding $70 or more. The police of course, in
their private vehicles, park without concern. Metal detectors manned by as
many as eight paid employees at each entrance scan everyone entering the
Hall of Justice, while beggars panhandle at the doors just outside the
entrances.

The Ohio State Legislature in its infinite wisdom has now elevated traffic
misdemeanors to a level similar to that of criminal and felony procedures.
Defendants are required to appear in court before a magistrate for an
"arraignment" to plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. A not guilty plea
requires a defendant to make a second appearance at a date within 30 days to
"stand trial". Court costs are assessed at $69 for the initial appearance.
Defendants are intimidated by the magistrate and prosecutor telling them
they could be assessed a $150 fine for their infraction, plus additional
court costs. A second appearance (parking fees again) is conducted by a
judge also hearing trials in the same courtroom as defendants in Franklin
County Jail jumpsuits charged with drug, robbery or violent crimes. All
this can be avoided of course by agreeing to "cop a plea" of guilty at the
initial hearing, and pay a reduced fine and court costs for a taillight or
muffler violation!

I recently accompanied a good friend through this disgraceful maze of
self-perpetuating bureaucracy, and I am irate, ashamed and determined to
make these concerns known to the taxpayers and voters. Hopefully they will
see the real danger of encroaching, self-perpetuating, inefficient and
dishonest government. It is a threat to our Constitutional freedoms at the
lowest levels of government.

My friend, an immigrant permanent resident, a business owner and taxpayer
was cited more than three months ago for some indecipherable traffic
infraction while he was driving from one business location to another. The
alleged violation occurred during a weekend of high police presence because
of a Black Heritage Festival and many roads and highways were blocked or
restricted by the police. Because of these traffic routings, my friend was
shunted away from the highway onto which he wanted to travel and shortly
thereafter pulled over and accused of driving under the influence of
alcohol. His denial was ignored and the officer insisted of making him look
at his finger while he studied the pupils of his eyes. Then determining
that my friend had indeed not been drinking issued him an indecipherable
illegible ticket charging "Marked Lanes" as the offense. A charge that the
prosecutor's office still is unable to explain.

My friend's first arraignment appearance was not only expensive because of
the court costs and parking fees, but also because he was forced to take a
half-day away from his business. The courtroom was a literal zoo, with
everyone from every walk of life, their families, friends, significant
others, crying babies, dressed in drag, gang attire, do-rags, etc.
Defendants were called before the magistrate in groups of 15 to 20 at a time
and intimidated with the threat of maximum fines, court costs, etc., etc.
Nearly all pleaded guilty. They simply wanted to pay their fines, get the
court proceedings completed and get back out on the street. My friend was
adamant and insisted on pleading Not Guilty, a plea that set another set of
wheels in motion. His court date was set before a judge 30 days hence.

His second appearance a month later was no different than the first, except
that it was in the imperial courtroom on the 13th floor. Criminals, felons,
prostitutes, drug dealers, all sharing the same court room as my poor friend
contesting a yet to be deciphered misdemeanor traffic violation. His only
crime was trying to get from one of his stores to another (a daily routine),
receiving a minor 2nd degree misdemeanor traffic violation issued
vindictively in hindsight and having the impertinence to plead not guilty.
After two hours of waiting and witnessing the theater in the courtroom my
friend's case was called and he was again asked how he pleaded. He again
stated Not Guilty, and he asked to present a witnessed affidavit of his
account of the traffic stop. He was told that because he spoke Chinese he
would have to return again, a third time, to allow the court to secure a
Chinese-American translator -- all for a minor traffic misdemeanor. Our
government tax monies at work!

On the third visit, another month later, he was forced to wait outside a
locked courtroom, nearly 30 minutes after the assigned time. Then, after
entering the courtroom, he was forced to witness the less than professional
behavior of court employees and police officers as they made snide remarks,
joked among themselves and discussed their personal lives. An hour and a
half after the scheduled time, my friend's name was called. He and his
interpreter were called aside by the assistant prosecutor and arresting
police officer and offered a plea bargain -- if you agree to plead guilty we
will change the charge to an equipment violation, such as muffler or tail
light, and recommend there be no fine, just the court costs. If you decide
to continue to plead not guilty you risk the chance of having to pay a $150
fine, additional court costs and having points assessed to your driver's
license. The police officer and prosecutor said that it was the police
officer's word against my friend's and that the judge would believe the
police officer. My friend agreed to plead guilty of a muffler violation and
was assessed only a $71 court cost fee.

So, who was the winner here? The police officer was forced to use two days
of his personal time to dress up in his uniform, guns, handcuffs, and mace,
to attend the last two court hearings. Franklin County was forced to pay a
Chinese-American translator. An overweight, surly and arrogant clerk was
forced to sip coffee in the courtroom and shuffle papers on persons she
appeared to feel were inferior to her. An assistant prosecutor and support
staff was required to shuffle files, papers and reports and make data
entries on the case. A local businessman, taxpayer and property owner is
very disillusioned and angry by the experience. He has taken three days
away from his business, rescheduled his out of town travel, paid $71 in
court costs, and $37.50 in parking fees. The Franklin County assistant
prosecutor and judge and the Columbus police officer were all complicit in
urging my friend to commit perjury -- to plead guilty to a muffler
violation. An outright lie since my friend had a new muffler and exhaust
system installed on his car just 4 months ago.

I asked my friend, who is an immigrant from a totalitarian communist
country, how this would have been handled in his country. His reply was
"Same-same. It is no different here than at home, except if you are guilty
there they shoot you." So, how long now will we allow this to go on before
they begin shooting us?