Former traffic cop says minor infraction tickets are pointless – but pulling people over definitely is not

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One of a cop’s primary responsibilities is to ensure justice prevails.

If I were driving a black-and-white, I’d never write another traffic citation. I was assigned the San Juan Capistrano Tango (traffic) Unit. I’ve attended CA POST CVC 40600 course on traffic accident investigation.

I knew the California Vehicle Code. I’ve arrested a suspect for CVC 23152(c): Heroin Addict Driving a Motor Vehicle. The judge hearing motions to suppress and dismiss admitted he hadn’t known of that section. He had to research it prior to the hearing. The defendant’s motions were denied.

I used the California Vehicle Code as probable cause to take dirt bags to jail.

I viewed traffic infractions as insignificant. I viewed felons in San Juan Capistrano as significant. My objective was to protect citizens of San Juan Capistrano from felons.

I had no clue of anguish the court system forced a mom to endure after I cited her for an insignificant traffic violation.

Traffic fines aren’t designed to encourage compliance with traffic laws. They’re de facto forced asset forfeitures. In Orange County, CA, the base fine for a seatbelt violation is $35. After a victim of CA’s court system walks out of court, she’s fleeced for $237, $202 above the base fine.

The amount in excess of the base fine is categorized as penalties and fees. Penalties and fees for what? I’ve read but have yet to confirm that a percentage of either penalties or fees is transferred to CA’s judges’ retirement system. If that’s true, it would be a conflict.

It would be tantamount to a judge confiscating a traffic violator’s money for his benefit. I see no justice in that.

In CA, penalties and fees are really taxes designed to raise revenue. CA traffic court unjustly fleeces violators. Violators pay taxes. Why should they be taxed again? How is that justice?

I’ve recently read about a few countries that have eliminated traffic laws. There have not experienced increases in accidents. I have not independently verified the validity of this information.

I was a certificated, public high school teacher. Research indicates that at most, a teacher is responsible for a 10% increase in students’ scores.

The fact is motivated students will excel and vice versa. Extrapolating that data to traffic, my theory is traffic cops are responsible for less that 10% decrease in accidents, assuredly a lot less than a 10% decrease. Human beings have innate survival instinct.

Traffic cops raise a lot of revenue for governmental agencies. Base fines are justice. Taxes disguised as penalties and fees are injustice.

Drunk driving is far more serious than a California stop. Drunk driving can be a wobbler.

A California stop is an insignificant infraction that could cost a victim $450. I’d venture a guess that close to 100% of cops often roll through stop signs without coming to a complete stop. Drunk driving laws must be vigorously enforced.

Drunk driving causes more than 10,000 deaths every year.

Submitted by Tom Scalisi.

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New York AG Letitia James says that NYPD should stop making traffic stops for ‘minor infractions’

September 26, 2020

NEW YORK- In a recent report prepared by New York’s Attorney General Letitia James, she recommended that the New York Police Department (NYPD) should stop arresting people for minor offenses during traffic stops.

James, who acts as a special prosecutor appointed to investigate certain police officer involved shootings, argued that the NYPD should move away from non-criminal traffic stops citing that they “often” end in violence.

According to Fox News, her recommendation was made after officials analyzed the death of Allan Feliz, 31, who was subsequently shot by an NYPD officer during an October 2019 traffic stop. After analyzing the case, James’ office concluded that the NYPD’s use of deadly force was justified.

Allegedly, even though James’ office found the officer involved shooting to be justified, her office claimed that the sequence of events leading to Feliz’s death would have never happened if police hadn’t stopped him in the first place.

Feliz was pulled over after an NYPD officer suspected he was not wearing a seatbelt while driving in the Bronx. Feliz complied when the officer asked him to step out of the car, but allegedly tensions rose once the officer attempted to arrest Feliz on outstanding warrants for offenses such as spitting, littering, and disorderly conduct.

James’ office is now recommending that if police officers are to remain involved in traffic enforcement, then the police department should drop the policy that encourages officers to arrest any motorist who is found to have an open warrant. 

https://twitter.com/theblofaiz/status/1309760007697764353

The report states that alternatively, drivers with open warrants should only be arrested with a supervisor’s approval and only if the officer had reasonable cause to believe that the individual was a danger to the community. The report stated:

“The OAG believes that such a policy properly balances the risks to the community and the public interest in avoiding unnecessary arrests during car stops. In addition, the OAG encourages state lawmakers to consider whether this issue might also be more fully addressed through legislation.”

James’ office added:

“It is highly unlikely that the incident involving Mr Feliz, whose warrants were for the violations/offenses of spitting, littering, and disorderly conduct, would have escalated in the manner it did in the absence of this automatic arrest policy.”

However, it needs to be noted that following a search of Feliz’s vehicle, police found over nine grams of cocaine and 1.3 grams of methamphetamines in tablet form and determined that he was on parole for a previous federal offense.

James’ report concluded by saying:

“The death of Allan Feliz was a tragedy and I offer my deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones during this time. My office conducted an exhaustive investigation into the events surrounding Mr. Feliz’s death and determined that we could not prove that the use of deadly force was unjustified beyond a reasonable doubt, as the law requires in order to bring charges. “

“The decisive question under the law is whether an officer reasonably believes that an individual is in imminent danger and it would be impossible to prove otherwise in this situation.”

The report then discusses that they have issued a number of recommendations that the NYPD should take into account, including removing officers from engaging in any type of routine traffic enforcement activity.

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