I'd like to reflect (in a level headed fashion) about the events recently surrounding my license suspension. I'm not going to rant. I'm not going to rave or foam at the mouth. I'm just going to list some of the moments that I will remember. And I'm starting with the court appearance.
1. The prosecutor called numbers 1-40 to discuss their cases before the judge showed up. I was number 66.
2. The court was unaware that my number was 66 even though they read my name and I entered a Not Guilty plea when they said "Number 66?"
3. When they finally realized that I was number 66, the nice police officer told me that the prosecutor was willing to demand only the initial ticket fee of $100 and ignore the late fees. When we objected on the grounds that other tickets were being reduced and that the entire case was prejudiced against us by not having been dealt with 2 years ago, the...um...tension increased slightly and we were all asked to leave the court room.
4. The heated exchange with the police officer continued with his cautioning us not to claim that the ticket had never been given or issued in error. He also said that it might be the case that we received the ticket and simply chose to ignore it.
5. We explained that we had received no notice until 2 years after the fact. He said "oh" and went back into the court. He returned and said that we were mailed a reminder in March of 2011. We said that we weren't. We showed him the notices we had received. He said "oh" and went back inside.
6. The prosecutor came out thinking that court was over and saw us sitting there. The cop had disappeared. Poof. No cop.
7. She went over material with us and told us that we probably frequently break parking laws and we are annoyed that we got caught. She also informed us that snow emergency parking restrictions are not for aesthetic reasons. We informed her that I am neurotic and tend to move my car off the street if the weatherman has dandruff. She didn't believe us. Julie invoked the American flag and "teach your children" and produced a tear or two. I reminded her that we had contacted the court twice for a court date and had been rebuffed. She ultimately decided to dismiss the whole durned thing.
8. The judge couldn't figure any of this out and couldn't believe that we got neither the ticket (which the prosecutor admitted could have happened) nor the first "reminder". I told him that I had responded to the other reminders but the computer didn't give me a court date so maybe computers aren't so perfect. He shrugged his shoulders and told the clerk to give me a paper indicating that the whole things was dismissed.
9. To restore a license (even one suspended in error) can be done online for $100, and it take 7-10 days. Julie sid that she would drive me to the DMV in Lodi instead. We went, and I explained that there was a mistake and my license shouldn't have been suspended. "Oh" the woman said, in that case, I need to go to the DMV in Wayne, not Lodi.
10. At Wayne, I was told that I needed a letter from the court explaining the mistake in order to ignore the restoration fee. I told the woman I never got a letter, just a paper indicating that he whole thing had been dismissed. "Oh" she said. Then she said that I needed a letter from the court explaining the mistake in order to ignore the restoration fee. "Oh," I said.
11. Taking another day to go back to court, trying to explain to the cop, prosecutor and judge that I was cleared completely and that they made the mistake (three people who believe that I am innocent until proven guilty except that I'm guilty already, and a liar and a scofflaw) and put it on paper wasn't going to happen. If it did, I would have to take another day to go back to Wayne.
12. I gave her my credit card and smiled as I signed. My license was restored. I let Julie drive me back to work because I didn't want to risk the Irony Police.
So a lesson for all you kids out there: The judicial system is messed up, the DMV system is messed up, the computers are messed up, the people are messed up. Institutionalized bullying and extortion are the norm and why can't I get a decent 4G signal in Wayne?