Want to Beat a Parking Ticket? You Might Not Want to Try This …

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.


2 thoughts on “Want to Beat a Parking Ticket? You Might Not Want to Try This …

  1. SOME have been known to use the public disclosure laws of their state to determine if a city even had authority to issue a parking ticket.

    For example, it, frequently, occurs the sidewalk and such in front of a business is the property of the business, and not the city. From there, records may show agencies have authority, by way of right of way, to use the sidewalk to install telephone poles, sewage lines and so on.

    A city, county or state cannot just take property, it must compensate for it. This applies to using land, but not actually transferring title to the government entity, such as with right ways. That would be extortion.

    The documents regarding a right of way detail what can be done. Too, court cases have established that including one or more things implies the exclusion of all others. As such, if a right of way agreement establishes a city’s use of the sidewalk area for power and phone, the use of the property for profit by way of parking meters can be argued to be prohibited.

    It’s been done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These are interesting possibilities for challenging a parking ticket. I was going to start with the most basic requirement (at least on PA) that a local authority needs to authorize it by ordinance. Also, angle parking in PA needs an engineering study.


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