More Opinion

COMMENTARY: Law helps motorists targeted in California

How elected officials and police conspired to prey on California drivers to unethically "generate revenue" for city/county coffers
California ACLU Mobile Justice app for public safety.

Burdened with problematic traffic and moving violation tickets, California divers were the source and the means by which local city and county elected officials filled their coffers. It was clearly a conflict of interest as well, as police actively participate in the onerous practice - and then “innocently” request increases to their budget – for their boy toys

Taking effect on Oct. 1, 2015, the Traffic Ticket Amnesty program is in response to this detestable practice, by police and with the consent of local unscrupulous politicians - for the purpose of “generating revenue” for California cities such as Hollister and San Benito County.

Complaints by Californians and out-of-state victims prompted state legislators to introduce a series of bills addressing this gross injustice. Worst of all, this Ferguson City “Pattern and Practice” scheme, which included court officials, was/is the case in California. This official practice specifically targets minorities, the poor and elderly populations, while at the same time violating due process and civil rights. Following the US Department of Justice Report into the killing of Michael Brown and highlighting local government’s utilization of traffic/moving violations citations to generate revenue, the Department of Justice entered into talks with the governor about the possibility of opening an investigation into the state’s/city/county practices.   

The insidious practice on Californians (not counting out-of-state preys) of receiving questionable traffic/moving violation tickets and had their licenses suspended for their inability to “pay-to-play” (pay fines, fees, charges and court penalties) is indefensible and unforgivable. While at the same time, according to the Associated Press, California suspended “… 4.8 million driver licenses since 2006 related to traffic offense … and only 83,000 licenses have been reinstated.” This Ferguson scheme of generating revenue netted $10 billion in fines through the same period. Aware of the terrible impact such policies have on distressed and delicate socio-economic situated populations (keeping them in poverty) – the approved practice is so insidious that it’s incomprehensible how can elected officials and police face the constituents they profess to serve with a straight face? 

The new law will hopefully begin to end the official abuse by local elected officials and their police co-conspirators, by exposing the city and county’s approved practices. More importantly, hold them accountable at the up coming November elections by the more than 4 million Californians offended by the practice of their elected officials and the police.

Take advantage of this short-term and limited opportunity, which is in effect from Oct.1, 2015, through March 31, 2017 to challenge the practice and issuance of questionable traffic and moving violation tickets and policies.

Let your local elected officials and “friendly” police department know your displeasure with their form of constituent service and community policing practices!

In that regard, download to your iPhone or Android the California ACLU Mobile Justice app for public safety.

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Luis Burguillo (An Engaged and ...)

As a student of the media and journalism, I am interested in utilizing the medium in order to assure that the residents of the City of Hollister and San Benito County are alerted, informed and educated on the official actions of their elected officials who are sworn to preserve, protect and defend the US constitution and Bill of Rights. More importantly, their engagement in the political process will hold the leaders accountable for their actions/decisions and lead to an improved governance.


So much for due process...the author broadly suggests that local law enforcement, elected officials and perhaps even the superior court may be participating in illegal practices without providing any evidence to support the hypothetical. It is pretty clear that this commentary is a continuing series of 'copy and paste' missives produced by like-minded, anti-law enforcement individuals across the country devoid of any supporting documentation or evidence against local law enforcement agencies.

The author would have made a more compelling argument citing the abuse and criminal indictment of the chief of police of King City just down the road. In fact, that police department was found guilty of perpetrating exactly the illegal abuse of power the author cites. However, for whatever reason, Benito Link readers are expected to follow along with the author's neurotic and obsessive conspiracy theories and believe that all law enforcement officers are somehow guilty by association and tainted by corruption as a matter of course.

Personally, I cannot abide such foolishness, puerile paranoia and poor judgment. 

Now really, Luis, I like you but your article is a total misrepresentation of the program.. 

I can find absolutely nothing in the Traffic Tickets / Infractions Amnesty Program that refers to any abuse by anyone nor is there any hint that the tickets were unjust or discriminatory.

The worst tickets and parking tickets are not even in the program.  Additionally, the people with these unpaid tickets still have to pay plenty.  This is more like an IRS forgiveness program where the government would rather take a reduced fee than nothing al all (yes, they are money grubbers), People can get so far behind in payments that they can never catch up because - and here is one real issue - the government interest rates and civil penalties are often way too high for everyone.

Here are the facts from the courts

"How much will I have to pay?
Under the amnesty program, eligible participants will not have to pay any civil assessments. Once the civil assessment amounts are deducted, the remaining balance owed will be reduced by 50 to 80 percent depending on income or receipt of specified public benefits.

The discount will be 80 percent for those who certify that they make 125 percent or less than the than the federal poverty level — $14,712 for an individual, or $30,312 for a family of four — or who receive public assistance.

The discount will be 50 percent for all other eligible participants."

"What tickets will not be eligible?
This amnesty program does not apply to parking tickets, reckless driving, and DUI offenses."

It won't help with recent violations either -

"What tickets will be eligible for amnesty?
Any infraction may qualify for amnesty. Unpaid tickets and related “failure to appear” violations with an initial payment due date on or before January 1, 2013, are eligible."

Give the readers a break and give them the real story on a real program.  After that feel free to say, "IN MY OPINION..." and have at it.  You're doing eligible people a disservice by posting incorrect information.

Now if you're looking for a real constitutional issue why not try the police abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws. From the Cato Institute:  "Under state and federal law, police departments can seize and keep property that is suspected of involvement in criminal activity. Unlike criminal asset forfeiture, however, with civil forfeiture, a property owner need not be found guilty of a crime—or even charged—to permanently lose her cash, car, home, or other property."

The ACLU has the same take; this is a rare issue where the politically left and right agree. 

No due process in many of those asset seizure cases; however, I am not aware of the HPD or SBC Sheriff's Department abusing these laws, but it is getting too common, nationally.

Marty Richman


To the readers, the site spam filter is not working so the site won't let me fix the typos in my comment because I have a link in there and that requires the spam filter. My apologies.

Update: Fixed, I think,

Marty Richman

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