MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Police will tell you they enforce speeding laws for safety. They won’t tell you what you already know: laws are enforced because tickets pump money into the Memphis city budget.
Recently there’s been a big push to really go after lawbreakers of the lead-footed league. You can pay through the mail or go to court, and city court is where the troubles begin.
According to Memphis City Councilman Kemp Conrad, “I think the challenge is we’re spending the money to enforce speeding laws and there’s no penalty at the back end.”
People demand justice in this world - as long as they’re not the ones getting the punishment. Guilty people should pay the price, people say, as long as those people saying that aren’t paying.
That brings us to city speeding tickets. Not having to pay the fines or court costs is one of the perks of living in Memphis, and it's a perk that’s not popular at Memphis City Hall. “I think the judges are aware of our concerns,” says Memphis Chief Administrative Officer George Little. “We have made some moves toward consistent application of court costs and fees.”
Judges are the Kings and Queens of their domains: their individual courtrooms. They are in charge of determining the sentences. I was told by a cop that a certain judge would let all first offenders go without paying a fine or fees. She did, including me. I didn’t complain about it either. The second time a different judge charged me court fees. No fine was assessed, even though I was as guilty as homemade sin. This is what bothers George Little.
“One of the concerns is the equal application of the law,” he says. “It shouldn’t be a matter of which particular courtroom that you are in. That said, one of the features of the judicial system at any level is a judge having the right to set his or her own sentence. All judges do not disperse justice the same way, but that said, certainly there is a notion of fairness and consistency.”
Little says he will meet with city judges again to discuss the issue.