It's no secret that people will try their hardest to get out of a speeding ticket. This makes sense when you consider that a speeding ticket not only costs a rather significant sum, but can also lead to increased insurance premiums and points against a driver's license. However, a recent news story shows that one New York man may have gone too far to escape a speeding ticket.
In July 2007, Eliott D., a New York-based attorney and orthodox Jew, was pulled over by a New Jersey state trooper for speeding. At this time, he was issued a $265 ticket for exceeding the posted speed limit of 55 miles-per-hour. (The trooper clocked him at 84 miles-per-hour).
Less than a week later, however, Eliott D. penned a letter to the traffic court contesting the ticket and using his firm's letterhead. It set forth the following points:
- He was not speeding and was presented with no evidence by the trooper
- He was traveling in a 65 mile-per-hour zone, not a 55 miles-per-hour zone
- He was called an anti-Semitic slur by the trooper
Given the gravity of this accusation, the matter was referred to the Internal Affairs (IA) Department of the New Jersey State Police.
Here, the IA investigator attempted to reach Eliott D. for two months before finally getting him on the telephone.
During the ensuing conversation, Eliott D. reiterated that he had been the victim on an anti-Semitic slur and that the trooper had disregarded his explanation that he was speeding home so that his pregnant wife could use the bathroom.
At this time, Eliott D. was unaware that both the state trooper and his squad car were equipped with A/V equipment that recorded the entire incident. In fact, the footage/sound showed that none of the alleged conduct occurred.
The trooper was ultimately cleared of any illicit behavior and the New Jersey Police filed a formal complaint against Eliott D. with the Department Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial District.
Ultimately, Eliott D. admitted that the accusation was false and paid the ticket. He also admitted to five charges brought by the disciplinary committee.
While Eliott D. asked for either a censure or reprimand -- bringing in three character witnesses and a psychiatrist to testify on his behalf -- the disciplinary recommended that his law license be suspended for six months.
The appellate division granted this recommendation just last week, writing the following:
"Notwithstanding the mitigating evidence and respondent's apparently sincere remorse, his behavior was reckless and reflects poorly on the bar. Under the circumstances, censure or admonition is simply too lenient a penalty."
Stay tuned for more from our New York traffic law blog ...
If you or a loved one has received a speeding ticket or other traffic violation, don't just dismiss it.
Instead, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.
This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Names have been withheld to protect the identity of the parties.
Courthouse News Service, "Lawyer suspended for inventing racist cop" Dec. 13, 2011