Indianapolis Hits Motorists with Large Fines For Contesting Tickets

There is an interesting story out of Indianapolis, Indiana where attorney Paul K. Ogden has sued the city over the imposition of fines against any citizen who dares to challenge a traffic ticket. Ogden says that the city is charging as much as $2500 if citizens do not just fork over the dough with a ticket.

The city has allegedly made its purpose clear that it wants to raise money by charging for justice. In a press release, the city announced a deal between Indianapolis and a private firm, T2 Systems:

“Using Six Sigma process improvement strategies, it is estimated that under this program the city may collect an additional $352,000 to $520,000 in parking citation revenue over the next 12 months,” the city press release stated. “If citations are not paid prior to their scheduled hearing, the city may request a fine of up to $2500 per citation. Upon receiving a judgment for an unpaid citation, individuals responsible could be subject to collections actions or having their vehicle registration suspended.”

He represents motorists like Toshinao Ishii who received a ticket for driving 63 MPH in a 55 zone in February. The ticket was only $150 but when he lost in court, the judge ordered him to pay $550. That is a pretty steep price for seeking judicial review. It is an outrageous practice that runs against the very foundation of the rule of law: the right to seek independent review of one’s case.

For the full story, click here.

22 thoughts on “Indianapolis Hits Motorists with Large Fines For Contesting Tickets”

  1. Whoever thunk it up should be removed from office and the act rescinded. I’d like to charge these boneheads for the costs of ridding ourselves of this type of nonsense: charges for the time wasted making bad law, charges for the trouble to the public, and charges for having to remove laws from the books.

    Maybe officials wouldn’t be so stupid (I know, I’m a dreamer).

    I think we can safely say, now, that the purpose of government is to remove all the tyrannical laws and regulations our government has saddle us with.

  2. This practice in Indianapolis is useful because it demonstrates to everyday Americans that their government will perform illegitimate, illegal acts to coerce and extract property and subservience from its subjects.

    At some level these actions underscore to citizens that government is not there to protect them or pay anything more than lip service to the contract between the State and the people. It is likely that only members of the ruling class or law enforcement apparatus can actually escape these Tributes that are disguised as traffic enforcement fines and public safety initiatives. Our massive, corrupt, and increasingly abusive and dangerous government continues to raise the stakes in its parasitical existence.

    Everyday individuals are powerless to stop these thefts. It will be interesting to see how long it will take for such fundamental violations to be stopped – if they are not upheld outright and used as a precedent for even broader criminal activity by the government.

    Individuals who do not show police offers absolute deference and submission may be punished on the spot by outrageous fines, detentions, torture by beatings and electrocution, and on some occasions even summary executions. And now the courts are willing to punish further those who would dare to question the accusations of the State against them.

    If agents of government demand that you pay certain Tributes of their choosing one must comply or face even more extreme loss of your liberty and property. Our government has become the ultimate manifestation of organized crime. That this practice in Indiana would even be considered – never mind implemented – speaks volumes to the scale of freedoms we have lost.

  3. Correction:

    I don’t think anyone is seriously DISPUTING that the Indiana constitutional provision that all courts be “open” means exactly that – open to the public.

  4. Matthew,

    I don’t think anyone seriously is arguing that the Indiana constitutional provision that all courts be “open” means exactly that – open to the public. That courtrooms MUST be open to the public (with few exceptions like juvenile proceedings) is one of the most fundamental, accepted principles that everyone in law accepts as true.

    Instead what the Traffic Court people have said in the past is that, right now, because of the overcrowding problem, they have to limit courtroom space to the defendants. That might be an okay answer if this closed courtroom was a rare thing. However, the courtroom closed for years in Traffic Court. This is not a temporary or rare thing. They need to hold extra sessions if they have a space problem.

    Ironically I’ve heard claims that the closed courtroom was due to safety concerns. Too many people and they’re could be a fire hazard I was told. Here’s the problem. They physically LOCK the courtroom door…literally hundreds of people locked in a courtroom. My guess is the fire marshall will stop this practice.

    Then you have the problem where the Sheriff’s Deputy acting as bailiff tells people if they leave, even for an emergency situation or a health problem, they can’t come back into the courtroom and will get a failure to appear and a big fine. The people are locking into the courtroom sometimes for 3-4 hours. Again, this has been going on for years. Apparently they’ve never heard of the ADA

  5. BIL, Peyton,

    Oh Fuck, this is going to be a problem. In the interest of not causing a disruption on Professor Turley’s blawg I’m making a completely unrequested observation and an request:

    Observation: WAY TOO MUCH testosteron brought to beaar way too early in the dialoge. BIL you were way too serialy snippy about the gravtar in too short of a period of time- if there was an unfortunate and entirely independent choice of gavatar material Peyton did not have the chance to do anything to moderate any potential concern over it before he was insulted. PEYTON, BIL has been using that gavatar for some long time and has a propriatory attachment to it.

    Request: In that this blawg tries to be a welcoming site and we normally try keep friction and points of personal conflict to the minimum. I request that you Peyton change your gavatar for your postings here. It’s a matter of seniority in it’s use. You don’t have to.

    I’m not dealing with anything here but the probability of a similar gavatar being a bone of contention that has the potential for disrupting a pretty stable dialogue among an otherwise friendly and fun group of people. I speak for no one but my self and I have no ownership or influence regarding this blawg. It’s not mine but I enjoy coming here and I’d rather not have a relativly minor point, inadvertantly introduced, cause ripples in an otherwise normally calm pond. It’s very likely presumptious on my part to even make this kind of request. So be it, I’m a presumptious kinda’ person. I like things ugly for a reason and I don’t think there’s been reason given yet.

    Food for thought guys, a simple request for what it’s worth.
    Can’t we all just get along? And if we can’t I’m secure in the knowledge that the Professor will kick ass appropriatly since this is his house and he he does it for a living 🙂

  6. As one of those involved in the lawsuit, what I really believe is an important part of it is the closed court.

    Article I, Section 12 of the Indiana Constitution says “All courts shall be open.” Some may argue that it really means “available” and not “open”, but I disagree. Section 12 was added in 1984, so the word “available” certainly was around. Also, similar language is used to describe all meetings of the state legislator be open to the public.

    We recognize that traffic court is run poorly. However, that’s no reason to run it in an unfair fashion. In Indianapolis, police can come and go as they please, and even get called back and tracked down so they’ll be there to defend the ticket. Plaintiffs, however, have to stay in the courtroom, and can’t even leave to go to the rest room.

    We aren’t asking for special treatment. We just want a fair hearing.

  7. Safety vs. revenue: A year or two ago a Chicago alderman made the mistake of speaking truthfully. One of the GPS navigation companies had started to add a feature to their system that would warn you as you approached an intersection with a red light camera. The alderman publicly expressed his outrage at such a move – it will reduce our revenues!

  8. The city needs to be sued and the people behind this practice need to be flogged publicly.

  9. In some towns in New Jersey you can pay double or triple the price of the ticket and get less or no points on you license – and the ADA is the one making the offer!!

    Is this even legal??

  10. hope this doesn’t happen to me as i just contested a ticket. i had to pay the full fine plus $7 court fee. on the ticket the fine is just $35 but there are a few other “fees” that make it add up to $130. i’m thinking if i win i will get the fine back, but none of the other stuff.

    i moved recently and went down a one way street the wrong way because there was absolutely no indication it was a one way street. i returned to the scene of the crime and had to drive over a quarter mile to find a sign. hope i win.

  11. Soooo, traffic tickets aren’t being written as a means of protecting “public safety” but, rather, as a means of COLLECTING REVENUE!!

    …and to think I just saw one of my local officials telling us that the ONLY purpose of ticketing is to “protect the public”.

  12. It’s taxation without representation too.

    And that’s NEVER caused a problem for Americans. They like being screwed over by the government.

    Ask King George II.

    No no no, not that one.

    The actual English King – the one who peed purple and went nuts, not the Chimp-faced Poser from Crawford.

    Tea, anyone?

    Would you like some cake to go with that?

  13. This is bullshit, once the fine is paid then you have an admission of guilt. A legal conundrum, if you have paid and are found not responsible how do you get your money back as the state/city usually have no system in place to return money once a fine has been paid unless you sue them. It has happened before in numerous jurisdictions. It is not bond money that we speak of, it is the actual fine…..

  14. Washington, DC, is much more reasonable. They only double the fine on photo tickets from $50 to $100 if you fail to pay or respond within 30 days.

    They double the fine even if your failure to respond in time is entirely due to their sending the citation to the wrong address, even though your address in vehicle registration records is correct.

    Heads, government wins, tails, citizen (serf) loses.

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