Last Updated on April 21, 2016 by Lawrence Berezin
An NY Supreme Court judge fought an NYC parking ticket when he was wrong
Have you heard the story about a judge who fought an NYC parking ticket for parking at a broken muni-meter and lost the original hearing and appeal? Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Wright initiated an Article 78 action in NY Supreme Court after losing a battle and appeal in the Parking Violation Bureau. The judge claimed that he knew the rules better than the administrative law judge who found him guilty after a hearing.
Was the Supreme Court judge smarter than:
- The parking ticket warrior who issued the ticket?
- The original judge who found him guilty? And,
- The 3-judge appeals panel that agreed with the original judge and affirmed the guilty verdict?
Here’s the case history.
What do you think?
The NYC parking ticket story about a broken muni-meter and a judge
Geoffrey Wright parked his 2006 Mazda sedan on the west side of Third Avenue between East 86th and 87th streets on April 18, according to the Manhattan Article 78 action. The muni-meter for the one-hour spot was broken, so the judge just left his car and returned 30 minutes later to find an agent issuing a ticket — even though Wright says the officer never checked to see if the meter was functioning.
The 66-year-old jurist contested the ticket, saying that Traffic Rule, 4-08, “permits a driver to park at a broken meter for the time allowed by the nearest sign.” Wright “testified the muni-meter was broken as it did not dispense receipts, but this is not supported and not a valid legal defense,”
The original judge found the Supreme Court judge guilty and stated in his decision that Wright testified the muni-meter was broken as it did not dispense receipts. However, there was no testimony or evidence that [Wright] made any effort to purchase a receipt from another machine on the block, as required. Guilty!”
On appeal, the Supreme Court judge argued:
- Corroboration was not needed to establish the meter was inoperative, and
- The city misapplied its own regulations by denying Wright’s protest on the ground that [he] was obligated to find and use another muni-meter on the same block. There is only one meter on the Upper East Side block in question, the suit says.
- Wright calls the administrative judge’s ruling “arbitrary and capricious” and wants it tossed
Did the judge fight when he was right?
There are two elements in every parking ticket case:
- A winning defense
- Proper proof, properly presented to support the defense
Was there a winning defense? Nope (unless there were omitted, misdescribed or illegible required elements). Here’s the Rule:
I will continue to scream from the highest rooftop in NYC…Do not park at a broken muni-meter because “free” will be very expensive.[Tweet “Do not park at a broken muni-meter because “free” will be very expensive. Do not park at a broken muni-meter because “free” will be very expensive. Do not park at a broken muni-meter because “free” will be very expensive”]
The steps a driver is required to take to secure the proper proof to beat an NYC parking ticket for parking at a broken meter is onerous. Do you really want to:
- Walk/run to every muni-meter on the block and the parking field (both sides of the block),
- Check to see if it’s broken,
- Report a broken muni-meter to 311 each time you find a broken meter,
- Pay for the time if you find a functioning muni-meter, and
- Walk/run back to your car and either display the muni-meter receipt on your dashboard, or
- Remove the parking ticket under your wiper and fight it