2/18/2008Pennsylvania: Six Month Fight Over Bogus Parking Tickets
A Pennsylvania motorist ends a six month battle over bogus parking tickets by contacting a local newspaper.
It took the intervention of a newspaper and six months of fighting for a Palmerton, Pennsylvania resident to clear her name of bogus parking tickets issued in Philadelphia. Motorist Shenna Hersch, 25, was accused of parking eighty miles away from her home with an expired inspection sticker in November 2006 and leaving her Oldsmobile at an expired parking meter in June 2007.
The problem is that Hersch owned a 1991 Eagle Talon, not an Oldsmobile, and was nowhere near Philadelphia on those occasions. The Philadelphia Parking Authority insisted she pay $157, and after six months of arguing with them, Hersch contacted the Allentown Morning Call newspaper.
"I'm just wondering how many people have had this done to them," Hersch asked. "Are there people getting tickets erroneously?"
The day after the Morning Call publicized her plight, the Philadelphia Parking Authority decided to drop the tickets. An official speculated that a meter maid twice entered GHM-7177 -- Hersch's license plate -- when he meant to type GMH-7177 -- the alleged offender's plate. The transposed letters brought Hersch into the computer database as a scofflaw.
Once entered into the database, the burden falls on the motorist to prove his own innocence. For Hersch, that would have meant taking an entire day off of work and driving to Philadelphia. A state representative who has heard many similar complaints has introduced legislation to invalidate any parking ticket that is not accompanied by a digital photograph that offers some proof of the alleged offense.