Dear Editor:As you may recall, I have discussed this incident with you previously. I was fined $177 for parking in the fire zone in front of Ingles' Super Market on U.S. Highway 278.
I told you I had remained in the car while my wife went in the store to get some milk and that there was another car was parked immediately in front of me in the fire zone which the police officer ignored.
The police officer was apparently angered because I had the audacity to identify his vehicle as that of a law enforcement official and immediately moved my car to a legal parking space.
I was unable to make an appearance in traffic court, so the judge of the municipal court apparently felt he had an opportunity to demonstrate his authority.
The chief of police, in a phone conversation, assured me that there was no difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law (He knew that, he said, because he had been in law enforcement for 20 years.). The city attorney informed me that the judge of the traffic court was within guidelines.
I can only wonder how much authority has been invested in this court. Conceivably I could have been fined $5,000 had "his honor" so decided or, perhaps, if he was simply having a bad day.
In short, the $177 I was forced to pay to keep my driver's license had very little to do with justice and everything to do with revenue gathering. Since I believe that the law is not intended to be used capriciously as a cudgel, but as a means of obtaining some form of fair and even-handed justice, I believe this fine was exorbitant, unfair and, worst of all, arrogant.
Today, July 3, at 6:23 p.m., I found Covington Police vehicle No. 106 parked illegally in front of the Newton County Public Library with its engine running. Investigating, I learned that the officer was in the library for personal, not official, business, and the car was left unattended.
Since, according to the chief of police, there is no room for anything other than a totally literal interpretation of the law, I know you will immediately seek to apply the same absolutist measures against the driver of police vehicle No. 106 as were applied to me.
I would very much appreciate it if you would keep me apprised of the progress you are making in this regard.