I was driving north on I-5 on my way to Everett for a walk along the waterfront the morning of March 8. At 8:40 am a state trooper pulled me over and said I was talking on my cell phone. I replied that I was not. That I had put the phone on the charger, but had not used it while driving. She gave me a ticket for $142. I told her I would see her in court with records from the cell phone company showing the phone had not been used.
I went to Snohomish County South District Court this afternoon to represent myself and plead innocent to the charge. Well, sort of, it is not a criminal charge, but civil. And Snohomish County is says it is not a traffic issue, though the ticket says it is. The difference is (1) reporting to insurance company and (2) if you ignore a traffic ticket your license will be suspended and cause you a big headache.
First we saw several people not claim innocence, but ask the fine be reduced. And she did. One, maybe two, person before me contested his ticket, but lost.
The judge called me next because I have good looking hair!! Me?That's what she said. She read the officer's statement: "The defendant was driving in the third or fourth lane holding his cell phone against his face with his right hand."
My statement: I was not talking on my phone and not using it at all. I have records from AT&T for that day. The first marked page shows no voice call between midnight and 10:10 AM; the stop was at 8:40. The second marked page shows no text messages sent or received between 1:53 AM and ten or eleven AM. Before I could point out the third page showing other data transfers the judge asked for my papers. She looked and asked about that data transfer page. To which I responded that it is checking email or looking at a web page on my phone.
She asked if I have any other cell phone. I started to explain that our son's cell phone bill came to our house, but had no calls that month (true) but she reminded me that it is a Yes or No question. So I responded "No."
She ruled for me. The ticket was cancelled. She said she has been with the police and been amazed at how they detect people talking on cell phones while driving. Then she said she hoped I had a clear conscience. I told her that I did.
And I do have clear conscience, because I didn't do it!!
I watched two more cases, both young women in their twenties. The first certainly had a confusing case. The ticket was for driving too fast for conditions and she was going slow. But she rear ended the car ahead of her! And she did not get ticket at the scene, but the next day. However, she repeatedly risked her case by talking over the judge, interrupting… repeatedly. The ticket stood. Also the next gal didn't get off for improperly fastened seat belt. She had it under her arm, rather than across her chest. So I was the only one who got off during the hour and a half I was there.
"I fought the law and …" I am referring to a very old song "I fought the law and the law won." By the Bobby Fuller Four in 1960.