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Law Office of Michael J. Kennedy

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ACLU Finally Enters Traffic Court "Bail" Scam Arena

https://www.aclunc.org/news/aclu-warns-california-counties-charging-payment-court-dates-unconstitutional

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That is a fight that I have been making for many years.  In Riverside County, the traffic judges demand “bail,” without a finding of flight risk, of all pro per arraignees, but if they are represented by counsel, the “bail” is “waived.”  I have set up two speedy trial attacks on that, pro bono, with defendants willing to undergo the inconvenience of coming back for the continued arraignments required of those who don't pay the “bail.”  On one, I filed an amicus 1382 dismissal motion when the continued date passed the 45 day point, which was denied by the traffic pro temp. [who should lose his license to practice law, by the way for the shameful way he treats pro pers on that stuff], and then the clerk saw that my name was on the amicus motion, so she whispered to the judge on the continued date that he had better let the defendant have his trial.  He was, of course, found guilty, and I did a pro bono appeal and it was reversed by minute order [so nothing to seek publication on], the single appeals judge musing that what was happening in the trial court was unsupported by law.  I agreed.  He is now the PJ of the county but it is still going on!
 
On the second one, I filed a pro bono/amicus 1382 dismissal motion, and when the judge saw my name, he granted the motion to dismiss on the day of continued trial.
 
I had complained to a previous PJ of Riverside County, and he wrote back an incomprehensible letter that (a) it is not happening, but (b) if it is, it's okay.  I knew it was happening, because they tried to pull that on me and I refused to pay, so they buckled under and gave me my trial – on which I was acquitted.  And I know it is not okay, because "bail" may only be imposed on a pretrial person if he is found to be a flight risk - never as an admission ticket to trial court!
 
But it goes on and on and on here, and I cannot be Crusader Rabbit for the world, so I am glad the ACLU is getting involved.  I think when I first heard of this traffic court scam a decade or so ago, I wrote the ACLU about it, but they apparently were not interested then.
 
It used to occur in the Joshua Tree court, but the judges there wised up to the Constitution and it does not happen anymore.  I do not know about the rest of San Bernardino County.
 
Thousand and thousands and thousands of pro pers have had their constitutional right to court trial extorted from them by this pernicious and contra-constitutional practice.  Were we able to sue judges for their malfeasance [an immunity the Courts manufactured for themselves, and then for their prosecution chums, from whole cloth], a class action could be brought, reaping $millions.
Michael Kennedy

Admitted to Bar, State of California, 1981 Education: Widener University, Chester, Pennsylvania (B.A., 1970) Southwestern University School of Law, Los Angeles, California (J.D., Scale, 1981) Harvard Law School, Program of Instruction for Lawyers, Cambridge, 1987

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