Written by Gregory Monte.
In the six months since I started this blog, I have never discussed how to beat a parking ticket (although I did write about a Constitutional issue related to parking enforcement). The main reason for this is that people rarely choose to contest them. Do I really want to spend hours researching/finding a possible defense for a violation that no one will ever actually use in court?
Well, it turns out that I am going to spend some time next week discussing possible ways to get a parking ticket dismissed. But today I just wanted to share an interesting parking ticket story which I think anyone can relate to.
In 2004 a complaint was filed against Pittsburgh City Magistrate Moira Harrington. According to In re Harrington, 877A. 2d 570 – 2005:
“The conduct which is said to give rise to these violations consists in Respondent’s parking her motor vehicle at expired parking meters on a number of occasions over the course of a two-week period in downtown Pittsburgh and in placing on her windshield parking tickets which had been issued to others for overtime parking of other vehicles.”
Pretty ingenious idea, right? Put a fake ticket on your windshield so that the “meter maids” ignore your car.
What Harrington didn’t realize was that she was being watched by Rick Earle, an investigative reporter with WPXI-TV (Channel 11) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a WPXI-TV investigative photographer, Timothy R. Holloman.
As you might imagine, Harrington got into some hot water. The court decided to ban her from holding judicial office for five years because she had violated Rule 2A of the Rules Governing Standards of Conduct of District Justices.
What is not totally clear after reading the decision, however, is whether Harrington could have been disciplined for her actions if she were just an ordinary citizen rather than a judge. Although the court found that she had “intentionally … [disobeyed] … the law, and then … [invented] a devious strategy to avoid payment of the statutory fine,” I am not sure exactly what the charge for using fake tickets would be.
In any case, if you want to beat a parking ticket, I wouldn’t recommend using the “Harrington Method.” Instead, wait until next week when I post a blog with some possible technicalities that may actually work in court.