Illegal Stop Signs – Legal Brief Submitted to PA Court of Common Pleas

Written by Gregory Monte.

I am making available to any interested person the actual legal brief that I wrote for submission to the Wayne County, PA, Court of Common Pleas to prove that a stop sign without proper authorization is not enforceable. Portions of the document appear below, but if you want to see the complete PDF version in proper format click on the file link below:



Table of Contents

TABLE OF CITATIONS …………………………………   1

STATEMENT OF THE QUESTION INVOLVED …. 3

STATEMENT OF THE CASE ………………………….  4

SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT …………………… 6

ARGUMENT

  • First Presumption Addressed – The Stop Sign was not Authorized ….. 7       
  • Second Presumption Addressed – The Stop Sign is Non-Compliant …  9
  • Improper Position and Enforceability – Title 75, § 3111(b) ……………  11
  • Returning to the Question Asked by This Court ……………………………… 11

CONCLUSION ……………………………………………… 14

APPENDIX

  • Original Citation ………………………………….  15
  • Defense Exhibit 1 ………………………………… 16
  • Defense Exhibit 2 ………………………………… 16
  • Defense Exhibit 6 ………………………………… 17

Statement of the Question Involved

Is an illegal stop sign enforceable?

(Not answered by the Court)


Statement of the Case

Defendant Jack Gregory Monte was issued a citation by Hawley Borough police officer Moser for an alleged violation of Title 75, Section 3323(b).  She testified that the defendant failed to stop at the stop sign at the intersection of Wellwood Avenue and Church Street in Hawley, PA on September 15, 2018.  There was no testimony from the defendant.

Witness for the defense, Gregory Monte, testified that he received a letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (signed and sealed), which indicated that PennDOT did not install the stop sign at issue.  The Hawley open public records officer stated in Defense Exhibit 6 that she “… did not find any record that Hawley Borough Council passed an ordinance … to install the stop sign at the intersection …”

Defense Exhibit 1 (a picture of the intersection taken in November, 2018) and Defense Exhibit 2 (the same location but from September, 2018), show that the stop sign was moved closer to the intersection after the alleged offense.  The Hawley Borough open public records officer (Defense Exhibit 6) verified that the Borough Council “… approved the construction that was performed at the intersection … in October 2018 …”

At the end of the trial, the Court acknowledged that the stop sign at the intersection of Wellwood Avenue and Church Street in Hawley, PA was illegal.  When the Court then asked the Commonwealth its opinion about whether an illegal stop sign was enforceable, it responded in the affirmative.  The defendant, citing 75 Pa Code, Section 102, suggested that the sign did not meet the definition of an official traffic-control device and so was not enforceable.


Summary of the Argument

The Commonwealth is entitled to the presumption that a traffic-control device (like a stop sign) is properly authorized and that it complies with required statute.  The defendant needs to provide evidence to overcome these presumptions if he wishes to prevail.  A review of the evidence presented at trial indicates that the Commonwealth’s statutory presumptions were overcome – the stop sign was not properly authorized nor was it compliant with the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code.  Related case law cited suggests that an unauthorized and non-compliant traffic-control device is not enforceable.


My Free Resources

Applying the Traffic Ticket Defense Method to Challenge a Citation.

This is a seven-page, detailed explanation of my three-step method for challenging any traffic ticket. I use the “Driving at a Safe Speed” statute from Pennsylvania to illustrate this method, but it can be applied to any other statute that you might be cited for in the vehicle code.

In addition, no matter what state you live in, the procedure is the same: you need to understand the statute you allegedly violated, look for technicalities in that statute and (most importantly) find case law to support/reveal those technicalities.

Click to Download the Free “Applying the Traffic Ticket Defense Method to Challenge a Citation”

The Pennsylvania Stop Sign Defense Strategy in a Nutshell.

This is a one-page, eight-point summary of the strategy I discovered while researching ways of beating unfair stop sign tickets. It is specifically geared to Pennsylvania but can also be applied to most other states.

Click to Download the Free “Pennsylvania Stop Sign Defense Strategy in a Nutshell”

My Son’s Opening Trial Statement at the Court of Common Pleas.

The Brief – My Son’s Case Brief for the Court of Common Pleas

  • An eighteen-page argument for why an illegal stop sign is not enforceable.
  • Requested by the President Judge at Wayne County, PA, Court of Common Pleas.
  • A highly distilled application of the Pennsylvania Stop Sign Ticket Defense.

Click to Download the Free “Brief Prepared for Submission to the Wayne County, PA, Court of Common Pleas”

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