6/4/2007Arizona: Bogus Parking Ticket Haunts Innocent Man
Tucson, Arizona man finds difficulty challenging a seven-year-old parking ticket he never should have received.
An innocent Tucson, Arizona resident has been haunted by a bogus parking ticket for the past seven years. In 2000, a meter maid claims to have placed a $25 parking ticket on a vehicle belonging to Hector R. Lopez parked in a "residents only zone" outside of the Lopez residence on North Fourth Avenue. Lopez, who had a valid permit to park in the spot, never saw the citation.
Last year, Lopez received a bill for $139 in late fees for failure to pay the ticket he never received. Since the original ticket was invalid, Lopez assumed the city court would quickly dismiss the matter if he showed the proof that his car had a valid, paid permit. After five tries, he failed even to get a judge to hear him out on the matter.
"If someone ignores a notice, we assume they don't want to fight it, and they give up the chance to contest it," Presiding Magistrate Tony Riojas told the Arizona Daily Star newspaper.
Tucson has seized $139 from the tax refund owed to Lopez, giving the resident another chance at a court challenge. Lopez refuses to pay as a matter of principle.