Paying JC parking ticket a ‘Kafkaesque’ experience

Dear Editor:
Speaking of parking rules (Jersey City Reporter 12/6/09)… I got a parking ticket and was towed for parking in a handicapped spot. I hadn’t noticed the signs, so fair enough; I paid the towing charge and retrieved the car. I couldn’t find the fine amount printed on the parking ticket, only “court appearance required” with a date, Dec. 10, and a time, 1:01p.m.
About a week ago, being nearby, I took the ticket to the information window at the Municipal Court on Summit Ave hoping to find out that I could just pay a fine. There I was told that the law had recently changed and parking in a handicapped spot automatically required a court appearance. I said O.K., and then, “So I just show up on Dec. 10, plead guilty and pay a fine?” The lady said, “Dec. 10 isn’t your court date. You have to fill out a form and submit it to get a new court date.” I said, “But what about the court date on my ticket?” “They changed the process because too many people are just walking in; you have to fill out the form.” I asked if people got really angry when they arrived for their printed court date and were told they wouldn’t be heard. She shrugged and said yes.
Now this may be my favorite part. When I asked why they printed a ticket with a completely false court date with no instructions about filing for a new and legitimate court date she said, “They changed the law in Trenton but the tickets are printed in Jersey City and they haven’t printed different ones yet.” Seeing no point in arguing with the messenger of this absurd information, I dutifully filled out my form and left.
I just received in the mail my new court date, Dec. 15 at 1 p.m. How making me change from Dec. 10 to the 15th will stop anybody from “just walking in” I have no idea. I can only imagine how furious all the people are who dutifully arrive on the court date printed on their ticket and are refused a hearing. I would be. It’s pure luck that I’m not one of them! On Dec.15 I will tell the judge I am guilty and I will pay the fine that I assume he will announce that I owe.
Oh yeah. My husband went to contest a moving violation ticket on Friday. The court date printed on his ticket was for Dec. 4 at 5 p.m. The court had closed at 4 p.m.
What a Kafkaesque waste of everybody’s time.

Charlotte Kreutz

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