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Because of a punctuation error in a city ordinance, a woman won her parking ticket case . Here is how the ordinance read:
quote:
She pointed out that the ordinance prohibited "any motor vehicle camper, trailer, farm implement and/or non-motorized vehicle" from daylong parking and argued that her truck is not a "motor vehicle camper."
It seemed clear cut to me, though perhaps a bit disingenuous.
 
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W. Jefferson v. Cammelleri, 2015-Ohio-2463

Judge Robert A. Hendrickson said "... a motor vehicle camper is a vehicle propelled or drawn by power other than muscular power equipped for camping," and that "Cammelleri's pickup truck does not meet the definition of 'motor vehicle camper'."

Good for the judge.
 
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But Judge Robert A. Hendrickson might better have said
quote:
... a motor vehicle camper is a vehicle propelled or drawn by power other than muscular power and equipped for camping," and that "Cammelleri's pickup truck does not meet the definition of 'motor vehicle camper'.
… the addition of the “and” removes any notion that the phrase “equipped for camping” describes “muscular power". However, since this is a language forum, we can look at the language of judge’s summary still further. In fact, apart from its ambiguous modifier, it is poor diction that displays rather muddled thinking. First, I suspect that there is nothing that can be reasonably cited as “the definition" of “motor vehicle camper”. Second, there is no reason to drag in “muscular power” or anything else to clarify or focus on the meaning of “motor”, since nothing in his judgment uses this. So do you not think the following delivers his findings quite nicely?-
quote:
…by any reasonable interpretation, a “motor vehicle camper” would be a motor vehicle equipped for camping, and Cammelleri's pickup truck is not such a vehicle.

BTW, this is a poignant instance of my ongoing contention that one's audience or listener is not always "friendly", and that it may not be good enough to construct diction where the meaning is clear only to a well-intentioned audience. Here is an instance where the meaning of the sign is blatantly obvious, and all parties know what it is, and yet the judge's interpretation has overturned common sense! On one level I love it (for I love language), and yet on another we see here excellent illustration of where all too many ridiculous judgments come from!


"The smell of the dust they kicked up was rich and satisfying" - Grahame
 
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The law requires that specificity and "motor vehicle camper" is ambiguous. What would it include? Is a pickup a camper, or must it be a single enclosed unit to qualify? If the judge can't determine this due to improper wording or punctuation, then he has to throw it out as invalid.

In another word-related story, Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor, signed a new state budget on the same day he announced he is running for president. But he quietly changed one line in the budget, substituting the words "minimum wage" for the old words "Living wage." As a result, many workers will get less in their poscket on payday and they also los the opportunity to appeal, since this right was also removed by the fovernor.
 
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"...then he has to throw it out as invalid."

No, he does not! You have drunk far too much of the legal Koolaid that abounds in our litigious society! Judges are allowed to be reasonable, but here it is pretty well clear that our judge was having fun, and he is possessed of the same imp that I know so well!

Consider this eye-popping for-instance: Several years ago in Vancouver I received an unjust traffic ticket, and I fought it not on its injustice, but on the fact that the date and time on the ticket happened to be wrong! The date on the ticket was, by accident, one day before the actual day of my putative "offense", and I could prove (with documentation) that I was then at another location. I was not clever or verbose or Sheldon-stupid in court ... I simply produced my copy of the ticket and the clear documentation showing that I was elsewhere at the date and time of the offense, and said, "Your honor, I was elsewhere at the date and time of this alleged offense." I made no other arguments. [Aside: the documentation consisted of car rental papers that contained the date and time when, miles away, I picked up a rental car - the same car in which I was charged. The time and date were IDENTICAL to that on the ticket]. Anyway, the judge looked at the documents, agreed with me, and said that the officer had obviously made a simple error in filling out the ticket, and I was to pay the fine. How do you like them apples?


"The smell of the dust they kicked up was rich and satisfying" - Grahame
 
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How do you like them apples?

A judge who didn't follow the law. It happens. Then again, you may not have had a believable demeanor and the discounted your testimony. Or his wife was giving him a hard time and he took it out on you. Who knows? Luck of the draw.
 
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It is obvious that you have mastered quantum mechanics and can be in two locations simultaneously.
 
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Anyway, the judge looked at the documents, agreed with me, and said that the officer had obviously made a simple error in filling out the ticket, and I was to pay the fine. How do you like them apples?
Interesting. I guess it all depends on the judge. I had a friend where the exact same thing happened, and the ticket was dismissed. He took the ticket to the police station right after the traffic stop to have them change the date and time and initial it. In court the policeman presented his case, showing the radar reading. When it was my friend's turn, he presented documentation that the ticket had been mistakenly timed and dated. He then asked the policeman, "Which is harder to read, your watch or your radar gun?" As the policeman faltered, the judge said, "Case dismissed!"
 
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Interesting. I guess it all depends on the judge.
... my point exactly. Cheerio.


"The smell of the dust they kicked up was rich and satisfying" - Grahame
 
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If your judge had heard that woman's case with the parking ticket, clearly he would have ruled against her. You are right that it depends on the judge. We see this on the U.S. Supreme Court, too. There are those who read very closely to the law or constitution, without taking into consideration other variables, changes in culture, etc. (my friend's judge and the woman's judge). Then there are those, like your judge, who consider the whole situation and not just a strict reading of the law. My own feeling is that your judge did it right.
 
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