3/1/2005Chicago Man Pays $400 to Clear an Incorrect $90 Camera Ticket
A Chicago, Illinois man who received someone else's red light camera ticket needed an expensive lawyer to clear his name.
Ed Maluska, 58, received a Chicago red light camera ticket last October. He immediately knew that something wasn't right. He showed the ticket to friends who pointed out that the car in the photo was actually a Toyota Camry with a license plate similar to, but different than, his plate. Maluska drives a Lincoln Continental.
When Maluska presented this slam-dunk evidence to the city in a letter, he expected they would just drop the charges. Except they didn't -- Chicago rejected his appeal.
At the point where many would give in and pay to avoid the hassle of fighting Maluska instead hired an attorney for $400. His attorney arranged an appeal with the city at which the hearing officer actually tried to come up with justifications for the ticket, "suggesting the Maluskas or their son must have put the license plate on the Toyota."
Eventually, the officer accepted the evidence and dismissed charges.
But Maluska wasn't about to pay a ticket he did not owe, so he hired a lawyer to help contest it. The lawyer, Gregg Smith, warned Maluska it would cost quite a bit, $400 to be exact, to represent him at a hearing, compared to $90 for paying the ticket. "Yeah, but I'm not guilty," Maluska said. "The point is it wasn't me."Source: City not taking tickets sent to wrong person seriously (Chicago Sun Times, 3/1/2005)
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