From personal experience and reliable sources, I believe that traffic court operates at the whim of the judges.
In a recent incident, the judge asked me how I pleaded; I pleaded not guilty. He asked me whether I would waive my rights for a jury trial. With misplaced, full confidence I agreed, seeing that my case appeared to me quite clearly an incorrect accusation.
After hearing the trooper’s account, the judge advised me not to testify on my behalf. I insisted on doing so, which clearly angered his honor. He repeatedly advised me not to, but I insisted. I told the trooper that she told me when she arrived at the scene that I was not speeding. She replied in the affirmative.
Then I turned to the judge with a diagram of the locale of the accident and explained the circumstances. He did not pay attention to what I was explaining. In fact, he turned his head away from me and the diagram. When I finished he told me “Didn't I advise you to say nothing?” I said yes, but that my point was valid nonetheless.
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He then pronounced me guilty. I asked him whether having my say had an effect on his judgment. He looked at me angrily and waved me away to pay the fine. I asked him to commute the sentence and expunge from my record the two points that I incurred. He declined.
I have learned two lessons. First, do not waive your right to a jury trial. Second, always take an attorney who could argue your case more effectively.
Saba E. Demian