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9/14/2005
Pennsylvania Jails Woman Over Parking Tickets
Judge sends a Pennsylvania woman to prison because she did not pay her parking tickets.

Northampton County Prison
Pennsylvania District Court Judge Gay Elwell on Friday sent a woman to Northampton County Prison for failing to pay her parking tickets. Over the past two years, Denise A. Hollis-Ruggiero, 36, had received about one parking ticket a week near her home in Easton -- 127 in total. Police officers came to her work on Friday and arrested her, claiming she owed the city $13,555 or about $106 per ticket.

The face value of each of those tickets was initially just $10 or $20, but the city added penalty upon penalty to boost revenue. The judge sentenced Hollis-Ruggiero for contempt of court for not paying the inflated fines, which she could not afford.

Hollis-Ruggiero spent the weekend in prison after the court set bail at $5000. After the amount was later reduced to $500, she was released. She intends to fight her case because many of her tickets may have been from city meters that were not certified. Pennsylvania law states that it is unlawful for a city to issue a ticket from an uncertified meter.

Article Excerpt:
"There is a reason why the address at Northampton County Prison is 666 (Walnut St.). It's the closest thing to hell I've ever experienced. The conditions were deplorable," [Hollis-Ruggiero] said. "It was ridiculous for me to be there."
Source: Parking ticket scofflaws risk jail (Easton, PA Express-Times, 9/14/2005)



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