She Wears Short Shorts… He Wears Baggy Shorts…

Traffic Ticket Team

If you’re headed to traffic court in California better leave the flip-flops at home. Have a court appearance in district court in Inkster, Mich.? Jeans are on the not-to-wear list. And don’t even think of wearing short shorts to court in Dover, Del. Judges in those jurisdictions and others across the USA are cracking down on skimpy, sloppy or what they consider inappropriate attire in an effort to maintain decorum and beef up security.  A provision in Delaware  that bars skirts shorter than 4 inches above the knee when standing “sounds like Catholic school,” says Timothy Fautsko, who advises courts on security issues for the National Center for State Courts. But, he says, the dress codes serve a purpose.

“I think it maintains order in the courtroom,” he says. Fautsko says some people seem determined to push the fashion envelope. “I had a report of one court that had an individual keep coming into court dressed like a clown,” he says. “Again, that pushes the dignity of the court.” Courts are a place where serious business is conducted, and that demands appropriate attire, says Delaware Superior Court Judge William Witham Jr. “We’re not out to treat people as school kids, but we do expect if you come to court, you need to treat it with the appropriate respect and dignity it should deserve due to the occasion,” he says. Among recent examples:

• In May, Jennifer LaPenta was jailed briefly after a judge in Lake County, Ill., held her in contempt for wearing an offensive T-shirt to court.

• In Inkster, Mich., Joseph Kassab was turned away in April from the courtroom for wearing black jeans. He missed his traffic court appearance and was fined, and he’s challenging the dress code in the state Court of Appeals.

• The same thing happened to Linda West, who missed her court date after being refused entry in June to court in Bakersfield, Calif., for wearing flip-flops.

• In July, in Hamilton County (Ohio) Municipal Court, William Morse’s T-shirt featuring slasher-movie character Chucky and the words “Say goodbye to the killer” earned Morse a warning that he’d spend a day in jail if he came to court again with inappropriate attire.

Though some attire may seem obvious choices to ban, other clothing can be a tougher call — and barring some attire can raise troubling questions about race, religion and access to justice, legal experts say. “It would seem inappropriate to have the security officers be the determiner unless it’s a safety issue … especially when the result could be they miss their court appearance and are subject to a penalty. That would be questionable,” says Micah J. Yarbrough, a professor at Widener University School of Law. Many dress codes single out baggy pants, particularly those that expose undergarments. That fashion began in the African-American community, says Holly Alford, an assistant professor in the department of fashion design and merchandising at Virginia Commonwealth University. Banning such attire is “almost like you’re making racial statements without actually saying it,” says Alford — who admits she pesters her son daily to pull up his pants. Fautsko says an increasing numbers of courts are adopting dress codes, and for security reasons some specify that faces be uncovered, posing problems for Muslim women wearing veils or burqas. That issue has come to the fore among judges and security personnel in the past six months, he says, adding that courts are “seeking some definitive direction on what to do, and what to do in a uniform manner, so it’s not different from court to court.”

A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says courts can follow the lead of the Transportation Security Administration and have a female officer take a Muslim woman to a private setting where she can remove her face covering. “There should be no issue for anyone entering a court with either a face veil or a head scarf,” Hooper says. Dress codes can play a role in public safety. For instance, gang-related clothing or gang colors could be used to intimidate witnesses in criminal cases. Dress codes pose few problems for defense attorneys, according to Brendan O’Neill, Delaware’s chief public defender. Most lawyers customarily advise clients about proper attire, he says, and many will supply garments to indigent clients. Gayle V. Fischer, a professor at Salem State University, has written extensively on the history of clothing and society. In her view, court dress codes are the product of a casual society and ignorance of court culture.A pajama-clad woman who was turned away from court in Delaware “probably wears that outfit to the grocery store,” Fischer says. “Dressing up, that’s something that you’re taught, and if you don’t live or participate in any of the arenas where you need to dress up, you probably just don’t think about it.

If you get caught speeding, you should call the Traffic Ticket Team, http://www.trafficticketteam.com, to fight your Florida Traffic Ticket. If you get a traffic ticket for anything, speeding, red light, DUI or anything else, call us anytime to fight your traffic ticket at 954-967-9888, Law Offices of Jason A. Diamond, P.A. and Diamond, Kistner & Diamond.

Be Prepared to Wait for Your License.

Traffic Ticket Team

Traffic Ticket Team

With a drastic cut in Clerk of Court funding, here is what you can expect the next time you go to renew your drivers license.

Broward County
Lauderdale Lakes; 5,723; 11 min 3 sec; 35 min 23 sec; 16
Fort Lauderdale; 4,988; 8 min 53 sec; 48 min 33 sec; 10
Lauderhill Oakbrook; 4,655; 10 min 3 sec; 56 min 46 sec; 11
Pompano Beach; 3,185; 7 min 34 sec; 28 min 6 sec; 8
Deerfield Beach; 4,339; 50 min 5 sec; 141 min 6 sec; 12
Margate; 3,787; 8 min 36 sec; 22 min 57 sec; 11
Pembroke Pines; 8,055; 9 min 33 sec; 48 min 59 sec; 17
Palm Beach County
West Palm Beach; 5,878; 9 min 1 sec; 52 min 45 sec; 19
Delray Beach*; 6,505; 11 min 13 sec; 66 min 13 sec; 9
Lantana; 5,006; 9 min 18 sec; 53 min 38 sec; 8
Palm Beach Gardens; 5,215; 8 min 52 sec; 16 min 59 sec; 10

Note: Average wait times do not include time spent standing outside the office waiting to get in.

If you get caught speeding, you should call the Traffic Ticket Team, http://www.trafficticketteam.com, to fight your Florida Traffic Ticket. If you get a traffic ticket for anything, speeding, red light, DUI or anything else, call us anytime to fight your traffic ticket at 954-967-9888, Law Offices of Jason A. Diamond, P.A. and Diamond, Kistner & Diamond.

Published in: on August 22, 2010 at 2:32 pm  Comments Off on Be Prepared to Wait for Your License.  
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Sunrise Cops Have a Traffic Ticket Quota…

Traffic Ticket Team

Sunrise cops are expected to make a minimum of 45,612 traffic stops a year. (Michael Francis McElroy, Sun Sentinel /August 20, 2010)

Sunrise road patrol officers are expected to make at least three traffic stops a day, according to a complaint form on the officer filed in May. That means the city’s 84 road patrol officers have to make at least 45,864 stops a year, about half the city’s population.With Sunrise home to Sawgrass Mills  mall, a top tourist destination in South Florida, folks from all over are at risk of being pulled over and given a ticket. What it could cost you, on average: $200.

“The public thinks it’s a gotcha game and they are going to get you if they have to meet that quota,” said Bob Jarvis, a law professor at Nova Law School in Davie. Officers who meet the quota — referred to as “shift standards” by department brass — are in line for promotions, special assignments and raises, say union officials. Those who don’t risk a written reprimand, they say. The Sunrise police union does not condone quotas of any kind, said Roger Krege, union president.The officers making the traffic stops are “just following orders,” Krege said. Officers need to be able to make decisions without “external influences” from supervisors who demand a set number of stops per day. Chief John Brooks, who joined the department in June 2007, denied having a quota.”I don’t have a ticket quota and I don’t have an arrest quota,” Brooks said. “It’s not illegal, but it’s unethical.”

Capt. Robert Voss, who oversees the department’s road patrol officers, says supervisors need some way to measure performance. The number of daily traffic stops an officer makes helps gauge productivity, Voss said. “Those are guidelines for them to follow,” Voss said. “We have to have a way to measure what an officer is doing out there. The officers are making a lot of money. We want to make sure they’re working.” The standards apply only to the officers assigned to road patrol, Voss said, not to the department’s entire 172-member force.

Mayor Roger Wishner characterized the three-stops-a-day rule as community policing, where officers focus on certain neighborhoods to help reduce traffic accidents. “I don’t support a quota system, but I do want our officers out there enforcing traffic laws,” Wishner said. Deputy Mayor Sheila Alu also backs Brooks’ rule, in effect since July 2008. “I think he’s trying to keep the officers accountable,” Alu said. “He wants to make sure the officers are doing their jobs and performing.” From October 2008 through September 2009, Sunrise collected $431,200 in traffic fines and court costs, city records show. Sunrise has collected $352,000 in ticket money from October 2009 through early August.  In addition to the traffic stops, Sunrise officers are required to make three “Field Interrogation Card” reports each month — or 3,024 every year. Officers use the FIC reports to document suspicious activity — and to prove they are working, Sunrise police officials say. One officer has Voss wondering just what he could be doing his entire 11.5-hour shift. Bruce Charlton, a 21-year veteran who works the day shift, has been written up three times this year for failing to meet shift standards. In February, he had one traffic stop and no FI cards. In March, he had no traffic stops and one FI card. In April, he made seven traffic stops and wrote one FIC report. “I have personally given verbal warnings to Officer Charlton and have placed notes and copies of his stats in his shift file regarding his lack of productivity,” Sgt. Mark Hudson wrote in a May 17 complaint on the officer. “By failing to heed repeated supervisor warnings, Officer Charlton remains in violation of Department Policy and Procedure. Technically, Charlton was written up for disobeying an order. The order: To make more traffic stops and write more FI Cards. Charlton, 41, said this in his defense: “We have over 200 different responsibilities to perform during our shift and it’s not fair to the public’s safety or officers’ safety to pigeonhole our performance solely on traffic stops and FI Cards.

The other officers have to neglect their other duties for fear of discipline if they don’t meet the shift standards.” Traffic quotas may not be illegal in Florida but they are frowned on, said Bob Dekle, a law professor at the UF, “The problem you get into with quotas, every stop is open to public criticism,” he said. “The accusation is, ‘You did it because you had a quota to make, not because the person was doing something wrong.’ That’s why quotas are a bad idea.”  On the other hand, Dekle said he understands the dilemma for supervisors who want to make sure the rank and file are not sleeping on the job. “It shouldn’t be too hard for officers to make three traffic stops a day and three field interrogations a month,” Dekle said. “If the officer is not doing that, you have to wonder what he is doing.” Officials with the Broward Sheriff’s Office say the agency does not have quotas. The Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood police departments say the same. Fort Lauderdale does require its officers to meet “performance standards” to measure productivity, Sgt. Frank Sousa said. Officers are evaluated on the quantity of their work, but are not required to “write five tickets a day or make three arrests,” Sousa said. Nor are they required to conduct a set number of traffic stops or “Field Interrogation Cards,” he said. The Sun Sentinel reviewed 287 FI Cards written by Sunrise officers between June 19 and July 19. Subjects were questioned for many reasons — loitering, walking home, driving around “aimlessly,” sitting in a parked car at a shopping center after hours. Will Carrasco, a Plantation resident questioned by Sunrise police in June, was not surprised to hear of the shift standards.”It sounds like a quota to me,” Carrasco said. Carrasco, 27, and his brother-in-law were camped out in his car outside Sawgrass Mills about 3:30 a.m. June 19, hoping to be first in line to buy a new Jordan sneaker. “Three cops came up and said ‘What are you doing here?'” Carrasco recounted. “We were sitting in the car with snacks and water, minding our own business. I can’t really blame them. But I think sometimes they overdo it. Three of them showed up.”

If you get caught speeding, you should call the Traffic Ticket Team, http://www.trafficticketteam.com, to fight your Florida Traffic Ticket. If you get a traffic ticket for anything, speeding, red light, DUI or anything else, call us anytime to fight your traffic ticket at 954-967-9888, Law Offices of Jason A. Diamond, P.A. and Diamond, Kistner & Diamond.

DUI Labor Day 2010

Traffic Ticket Team DUI

In advance of the upcoming Labor Day holiday, law enforcement agencies throughout the state and in South Florida are taking part in a nationwide crackdown on drunken and impaired driving. The Plantation Police Department is one of the agencies that will be conducting DUI saturation patrols for the 18-day period that began Friday and runs through Monday, Sept. 6. “Many people choose to celebrate with alcohol during the summer,” said Plantation Police Sgt. Joe Gallignani in a statement from the agency.”Our goal is to apprehend impaired drivers in the area before they cause crashes,” the statement said. Statewide, the Florida Highway Patrol is also taking part in the enhanced enforcement campaign called “Over the Limit, Under Arrest.” According to FHP figures, 875 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2009, including 29 who died during the official Labor Day holiday period. This was first reported in the Florida Sun Sentinel.

If you get caught speeding, you should call the Traffic Ticket Team, http://www.trafficticketteam.com, to fight your Florida Traffic Ticket. If you get a traffic ticket for anything, speeding, red light, DUI or anything else, call us anytime to fight your traffic ticket at 954-967-9888, Law Offices of Jason A. Diamond, P.A. and Diamond, Kistner & Diamond.