Bob Bell’s letter in the Oct. 11 edition about Cherokee County’s SR 20 speed trap was déjà vu all over again for me. The exact thing happened two years ago.
I explained to the Cherokee trooper that while passing, the car next to me purposely speeded up so I had to accelerate faster. His eyes glazed over and I’m sure his mental reaction was, “yeah, I’ve heard that before.”
I called the court clerk, explained I’d not had a ticket in over 40 years and was told I could pay the $275 fine by mail. Or, better still, appear in court and speak to one of the assistant district attorneys for a possible reduction. I did, and that courtroom was nothing like I had expected. Totally disorganized.
Because of my name I was herded to the back row with several Hispanics until I strongly objected and let the bailiff know I probably spoke better English than did he. I met with a girl ADA whose body language and demeanor immediately told me I was guilty by just appearing in that courtroom. When I tried to explain about the passing lane, she cut me off with: “I know where that’s at! Your fine will be $310.”
Being from Texas, I recall stories about how Judge Roy Bean, “The Law West of The Pecos,” would determine fines on the spot according to how much he might dislike the offender. That ADA seemed to be in one big hurry to get done with me so I told her I wanted a judge to hear me out.
That took time as my file was misplaced by the bailiff. Finally, the judge glanced at my file with the ADA’s notes and said, “Your fine is $310. Next.” She seemed astonished that I would have the nerve to interrupt her to relate the Court Clerk had indicated the fine to be $275. I was informed that no one had any authority to discuss fines other than the Court.
And to top it off I had to withdraw money from the ATM in the lobby and pay a user fee of which Cherokee probably takes a cut. Like Mr. Bell, I learned a lesson: Don’t drive through a hick county which derives much revenue from speed traps.