Today, I received an Information/Notice of Violation from the City of St. Louis, Photo Enforcement Program. Evidently, while enjoying a lazy Sunday in Kentucky, I was also not stopping fully before a right turn in St. Louis.
I replied as follows (H/T to Eric Turkewitz, who I paraphrase in paragraph 9)(actual plate numbers removed to protect the asshole driving the Ford):
City of St. Louis – B110061
Photo Enforcement Program
PO Box 790324
St. Louis, MO 63179-0324
July 28. 2012
RE: Attachment to Affidavit of Non-Responsibility
To whom it may concern:
Today, I received an Information/Notice of Violation #(number omitted). It is based on a photo taken by your “Photo Enforcement Program.” The purpose of this attachment is to inform you that I will not pay the $100 fine you assessed upon me. I am innocent.
I admit that I do drive a 2012 Subaru Outback with Missouri Plate *****A. I am guilty of driving this vehicle. It is enjoyable to drive, full of utility, and safe.
However, I ask that you admit that the vehicle in the photo is a Ford with Missouri Plate *****K. Please notice that the last digit of the photographed plate is a “K.” The last digit of my innocent plate is “A.” I do not own a Ford. More precisely, I do not own the pictured Ford, nor have I ever owned it.
Also, the emblem affixed to the back of the guilty vehicle is the same horizontal blue oval with script “Ford” used by that company since 1927. Ford Motor Company used the same logo, minus the blue color, as early as 1912. It is time-honored and easily recognizable by the vast majority of Americans.
On the other hand, my car features the Subaru oval-with-6-stars, used since 2005. While the color is similar, the difference between the script Ford lettering and 6-star-pattern is unmistakable, and the Subaru oval is noticeably fatter.
Further, on the date of alleged violation, I was not in St. Louis. I was, in fact, in Kentucky, sweating in the northern Kentucky heat. Though, I’m quite sure the heat there in St. Louis has not been any better. I hope you’ll agree that similarities in weather patterns is hardly circumstantial evidence enough to prove guilt in this case.
As proof of my innocence, I ask that you scrutinize the picture associated with my file and used to this point to charge me with a violation of the law. The picture is already in your possession. You will find that it confirms my assertion, though I do ask that you obtain your own Subaru logo image if a comparison of Ford and Subaru trademarks is necessary. One may be obtained from a cursory search of the internet or from the friendly folks at Dean Team Subaru, Manchester Road, Ballwin, MO (a suburb of St. Louis). If you go there, ask for Rick Cody, who sold me my Subaru. I’m sure he would also be happy to show you their current inventory of fine automobiles.
Further, I notice that Craig K. Higgins signed the Information/Notice of Violation after affirming that “undersigned prosecutor charges the defendant and informs the court that above facts are true and punishable by fine of $100.00.” As an officer of the court, licensed attorney since 1991, and public servant, Mr. Higgins owes everyone subject to his authority a duty of care. Assuming he initiated this charging decision after viewing the evidence, he has not performed his duty faithfully.
It is also possible that Mr. Higgins would assert that the Information/Notice of Violation is an automated process for which he has little daily interaction. Assuming this, and as a person currently subject to his authority, I ask that he be informed that delegating his duties to a computerized system means that he delegates his ethics to the same system. How is it ethical to file charges without first scrutinizing the evidence?
The same goes for Officer Kenneth Callmeyer, Badge 2747, who is the responsible officer for this ticket and who, I assume, forwards it to the prosecutor for appropriate action after ensuring that the contents of the citation are true and accurate.
I know both Mr. Higgins and Officer Callmeyer are probably hardworking individuals, but mistakes like this are unnecessary and absorb time and resources from both the innocent citizen and your government.
Citizens deserve the best from our civil servants, and this matter falls well-short of that standard.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to receiving confirmation of the dismissal of this matter (with prejudice) and hope that I am not subjected to a computer-generated arrest warrant.
PS. I’ll overlook the fact that this cost me a piece of multipurpose Xerox paper as well as first class postage. Frankly, I am willing to throw a few cents at our financially-challenged Postal Service if it will help.