posted on Mar, 28 2014 @ 12:42 AM
I mentioned on another thread recently that I was stopped by the local PD for seat belt violation and both I and my husband were given citations for
not wearing a seat belt. At the time the young arrogant punk...uh, officer pulled me over, I attempted to explain to him that the statute under which
he was attempting to charge me did not apply to my vehicle. I know the seat belt law in Kentucky quite well and know that it specifically applies
only to vehicles manufactured after 1981. I even carry a copy of it in my car and have showed it to numerous other officers. They would read it, go
back to their vehicle, check on it and come back with, "My mistake m'am, you have a good day." Not this one.
I was very patient and civil in my explanation to him.
"Sir, the statute applies to vehicles manufactured after 1981. It says so right there in the statute. As you can see from my registration, my car
was manufactured in the 1970s, so that statute does not apply to this car. If you believe I've phonied that copy of the statute just go check on
your laptop or call the county attorney's office. Giving me a citation will just clog up the court system unnecessarily and get the judge, the
county attorney and me all ticked off at you. Then I'll have to go and complain to your boss because I've had to spend half a day in court because
you are ignorant of the law you're attempting to enforce."
By this time, two other police cars had pulled up behind him and had our car surrounded!
His reply was, "I can take you to jail if I want to. You have a seat belt installed in your car therefore you must wear a seat belt."
My reply to him was, "Sir, you have the power to take me to jail, you have the power to shoot me because you have a gun on your hip but you do not
have the power to stand in the street and make up laws. That is the job of the legislature and I doubt they would appreciate you usurping their
power. That copy of the statute is the law---not what you say."
Since we were on our way to a doctor's appointment, I didn't really want to sit there any longer so I accepted the tickets but advised him that he
would indeed hear from me further on the matter.
On Tuesday I had my day in court. Now I must reveal as a side note that I'm quite familiar with the judge before which we were appearing. He knows
me well enough to know that I'm not some nutjob and I'm not someone who will allow law enforcement to walk over me. I read law for three years with
one of his law professors, one of the most respected attorneys in our town at that time. So even though I didn't end up pursuing the law as a
career, the judge knows that I know my way around the Kentucky Statutes.
After the initial identifications were done he said, "You are charged with failure to wear a seat belt. How do you plead?"
Obviously, he was expecting a "guilty" because when I said, "Not guilty, your honor." his head came up and his eyebrows shot up. I explained to
him that the statute under which we were charged stated specifically that it applied to vehicles manufactured after 1981 and since the vehicle I was
driving was of 1970s vintage, the statute did not apply to it. That brought him up short and made him reach for the Big Blue Book that contains all
the Kentucky Revised Statutes. After paging through and reading it, then re-reading it, he looked to the county attorney saying, "David, I believe
she is correct. I see no reference here as to whether the vehicle is equipped with seat belts, only vehicles manufactured after 1981." The district
attorney stated that was his reading of the statute as well and therefore his only choice was to dismiss the charge with prejudice. I smiled and
thanked them both. The judge's comment was, "Well, I've learned something today. But you really should wear your seat belts." I smiled again
and said nothing more.
Half an hour later my husband was finally called for his citation. (We have different last names.) The judge called the county attorney to the bench.
During a conference the audience couldn't hear, he said, "Same car, same argument." to which the county attorney replied, "Judge, if I had to
dismiss hers, then I must dismiss with prejudice again."
So friends and neighbors, there is still some justice in the world.
I've submitted my complaint about the young, arrogant, self-important police officer and asked the chief to please send out a memo to his patrol
officers so as not to continue to clog up the court system with these silly citations. I explained that I did everything in my power to avoid this
embarrassment for him but his insistence on standing in the street and making up laws simply isn't acceptable and his threats to "pull you over
every time I see you" sound really close to harassment to me. So far I've not heard back from the chief and since I don't live in the city I doubt
that I will. Happily, I'm on really friendly terms with the mayor, the chief's boss, so if the chief doesn't want to talk to me about his
out-of-control officers, I'm sure the mayor will advise him to get them in line.
Now before I get flamed for being stupid for not wearing a seat belt....it's my choice in my state and I've made the choice not to wear one. I've
lost three dear friends to wrecks involving fire. I have a phobia of that so I lobbied hard in the legislature to get vintage cars exempted. I love
my '60s and '70s vehicles and believe them to be much safer than anything manufactured in the past couple of decades. And I hate laws to protect me
from myself. And I hate cops that think they are my Master.