6/27/2006Michigan: Naughty Note Paying Parking Ticket Brings Criminal Charges
Man faces thirty days in jail for accusing Berkley, Michigan parking authorities of a cash grab.
The Berkley, Michigan District Court has filed charges against Robert Militzer, 38, for the crime of expressing his written disapproval of a parking ticket he received in the city. Tomorrow Militzer will appear in court facing thirty days in jail and a $250 fine for contempt of court because he wrote "BULL---- MONEY GRAB" in the memo field of a $10 check he made out to the court.
On May 29, Militzer had left his white 1992 Saturn on Oxford Street in Berkley, noting that there were no signs restricting parking in the area. When he later returned to his vehicle, however, he found a $10 parking ticket. Because the amount of the fine was low, Militzer thought it was not worth the time and effort needed to fight it. Instead, he decided to speak his mind as he wrote out his payment. For that, on June 8, two police officers came to Militzer's house to order him to appear in court.
The American Civil Liberties Union has taken up Militzer's cause and will represent him tomorrow. "He has a right to express his opinion in this case, a legal process in which he is a party," ACLU attorney Elsa Shartsis told the Detroit News. "His choice of words may not be the best, and it may offend some people, but it is not illegal."