7/4/2007New York Charges Woman for Parking Tickets from Stolen Plates
New York City, New York tries to collect $633 from a 76-year-old woman for violations committed by a convicted license plate thief.
An elderly woman in Brooklyn, New York is being charged for parking tickets racked up by a thief who had stolen her car's license plates. Olga Patricia Donovan, 76, parked her vehicle on Burnett Street on October 26, 2006. She found her plates had been stolen after she became ill and was unable to move the car for about a week.
Arthur Sherwood, 22, admitted he grabbed her license plate and put it on his car. He earned four citations worth $430 for double-parking and blocking a fire hydrant. A judge gave Sherwood community service for his crime. As the New York Daily News reports, that ruling did not end the matter for Donovan. The city insisted she pay $633.10 for the parking tickets. When Donovan responded with letters and police reports that proved her plates had been stolen, the city ignored her.
"Respondent claims that a stolen plate was being used on the summonsed vehicle," Administrative Law Judge David R. Caesar wrote on March 20. "This is an affirmative claim wherein the burden of proof rests with the respondent. Respondent's claim is not supported by persuasive evidence."
The city Department of Finance issued judgment saying she had to pay immediately to avoid: "Assigning of debt to a collection agency; Seizing motor vehicle and selling it at auction; Seizing nonexempt personal property; Restraining your bank accounts; Garnishment of wages."
Daily News columnist Denis Hamill contacted the Department of Finance and re-sent the proofs that Donovan had provided. The Department for Financed promised to "straighten it out."