4/6/2005Nassau County, NY Seizing Cars, Homes Over Parking Tickets
Nassau County, New York uses "default judgment" to seize cars and homes of those with outstanding parking tickets.
Property belonging to those whom Nassau County believes have unpaid parking tickets face having their cars, homes or other property seized. In the past, the county would only boot or tow away and hold cars with outstanding fines. Now the county is going to court to obtain a "default judgment" against vehicle owners in civil, not criminal, court allowing the county sheriff to sell the car without involving the police or district attorney.
One resident is crying foul. Josinette Etienne last Friday had his 1993 Mercedes-Benz and 2000 Dodge pickup truck -- the lowest-end models having a combined blue book value of $12,690 -- seized over a claimed $6000 in parking tickets. Etienne denies racking up that many tickets and says that he received nothing in the mail about it.
Previously, the county only seized cars over criminal violations such as drunk driving. Newsday reports that the man who ran Nassau's DWI car seizure program, Andrew Campanelli, said that his contract was not renewed when he refused to contribute $10,000 to a March 2003 Nassau Democratic fund-raiser.
"If we can't settle the judgment with selling the car, we can go after your house, bank account," said Suozzi during a news conference at Cedar Creek Park in Wantagh, standing by four cars that had been seized with unpaid tickets amounting to $17,665. "This is creative use of existing law."Source: Newsday.com: Nassau cracks down on scofflaws (Newsday, 4/6/2005)
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