Due process for parking Violations in Belfast, Maine.
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The current parking enforcement laws in the city of Belfast, Maine are in direct violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Which by definition calls for fair treatment through the normal judicial system, especially as a citizen's entitlement.
The current system in place gives no option to contest said tickets in a court of law. The only option I have been given is to dispute parking tickets is with the chief of police who is in charge of all parking tickets in town. Essentially the Chief of police or his deseny can write you a parking ticket, if you do not agree with said parking ticket or wish to contest it the only people who you can talk to is the people who wrote you the ticket to begin with. The chief or his deseny can then do with your ticket as they feel. They can throw it out, they can charge you half, they can make a payment plan, or they can do absolutely nothing and demand payment. Stack up enough tickets and your vehicle will then be booted. Still won’t pay? Your vehicle will be towed and impounded at your expense until you pay whatever fine they have placed on you.
Again, all of the above can not be contested in a court of law, it can only be disputed with the Chief himself. Which again, is in direct violation of due process and the rights of every American citizen.
The Supreme Court has showed this process to be in direct violation of rights several times over, as can be seen here in Tumey V. Ohio which states: The Supreme Court has held that the Fourteenth Amendment right to due process is certainly compromised where the decision maker has a “direct, personal, substantial pecuniary interest” in the proceedings. Tumey, 273 U.S. at 523, 47 S.Ct. 437.
I have asked several times over for a way to contest parking tickets in the city of Belfast, I have been given the same answer over and over again. You can dispute them with the Cheif of police, when that didn’t work and my vehicle was booted and impounded the only option I was given was to appeal my case to the city council. Which I will be doing Tuesday March 6th 2018. This however is a far cry from a court of law or a jury of my peers, but it is the only option that has been presented to me thus far.
Every person living and visiting in Belfast, Maine should have the right to contest any fines placed on them by local law enforcement or there desenys. The process of contesting said tickets should also be cleary printed on all parking tickets. Professor Rhonda Wasserman was quoted recently in The Fayetteville (NC) Observer in an article on the practice of a North Carolina municipality, Spring Lake, to issue citations for parking, noise and other violations without affording any opportunity to appeal. The due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment bars states from depriving people of life, liberty or property without due process of law. “It’s traditional for tickets and citations to include information on the process for challenge,” Wasserman said. “I don’t know whether there have been cases that have challenged tickets that don’t contain that information. But it does seem to me unorthodox to exclude that information because even if it is something as inexpensive as a parking ticket or a traffic ticket, the government nevertheless has the obligation to prove the person in fact committed the infraction.”
I’m asking for signatures here in order to show the City of Belfast that we want a significant change in the parking ticket process that is currently in place.
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