I Fought The Law & The Law Compromised!

by POPSIE 1956

The following story is true. The names have NOT been changed to protect the innocent since I (eventually) pleaded guilty.

Saturday, March 14th, 2015. It was a sunny afternoon in the Rotterdam/Schenectady, NY area. My daughter Megan and her husband Eric were working the weekend shift with their dancers for a competition in downtown Albany. They asked us to watch the two older boys, Chris and Zach, with the third and youngest child, Mason, in the safe arms of Eric’s parents, Bob and Glenda, and their daughter Ashley.

It was decided, since Chris and Zach were staying the night, a few of their friends could sleep over as well. Some of the boys needed to be picked up. That’s where I come in.

My name is Marchinuke, I carry a big belly.

While my partner kept an eye on the residence and prepared for the pizza, chips, and high sugared drinks, I get in my car with one or two of the boys’ friends to make the trip. I drive down Campbell and come to Cherry, where the road splits.  I veer to the left in the direction of a child’s house when all of a sudden here come the red lights and sirens.

In the language of the CB crowd, bubble gum machine done hit the jackpot.

The officer pulls me over, walks up and tells me he saw me drive past a stop sign. I don’t dispute it since I knew it was there, but I was focused on getting the kids as quickly (and safely) as possible, and tried to explain what I was doing.

The officer then took my license and registration and goes to his squad car. After about 10-15 minutes, he returns to my car, hands me back my license and registration and says “Mr. Marchinuke, you’re in luck, the printer isn’t working, have a nice day.”

I say a prayer that he was giving me a break and drive on, even more carefully now since he’s got me in his sites. I pick up the children and return to the residence, informing my partner upon my return. Needless to say my partner wasn’t too happy about it, but since it was just a warning, all was well.

The night proceeded as planned, the boys had a great time, and all were returned to their families the next morning hyped up on sugar wanting more, like a junkie needing another fix in this crazy mixed up world.

End of story…..

Well not exactly.

Thursday, June 25th, 2015. A partly cloudy day again when I return home from work, look through the mail, and see a letter from the NYS Department of Motor Vehicle.

The letter said I was at risk of getting my license SUSPENDED if I didn’t report to the City of Schenectady Clerks Office by July 23rd. it further stated I was a SCOFFLAW, since I had not taken care of a TRAFFIC TICKET from March 14th that was supposed to be taken care of by April 2nd.

In the words of Minion # 5 in a McDonald’s Happy Meal, I said to my partner, “What The F*ck?”

The next morning I call the clerks office, explaining everything you have read about that day. The woman said “All I know is, the officer e-sent the ticket, we have it, so you got it. Now you have to come in and plead guilty or not guilty for us to proceed and to remove a potential license suspension.”

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015. Prior to heading into work, my partner and I go to the Clerk’s Office. If I plead guilty, the cost is 180 dollars and three points on my license. If I plead not guilty, I have to go to Traffic Court.

Pleading Not Guilty (since I DID NOT get a ticket), I’m scheduled to appear on Wednesday, July 15th, 2015.

Two days prior, my partner went with an associate to the same Traffic Court to (A) get the associate there to deal with his OWN problem and (B) scope out the joint for my appearance.

My partner was very helpful, letting me know what to expect and how the process ran.

The day arrives and my partner and I appear in the Court. This was my very FIRST time in a (Traffic) Court Room in my nearly 60 years of life.

I check in and sit down in an assigned area. A small group of Assistant District Attorneys stand up and call out names of those with cases.

This is what I call the dickering process, where they reduce the infraction. I’m hoping to have the case dismissed, given the circumstances, but I’ll settle for a reduction in the fine, and ESPECIALLY getting rid of the points.

I’m called before Assistant DA Nicki Terri Whatever, who looks too young to drink let alone enforce the law, and she tells me they will offer me a parking violation and no points, if you agree, you go before the judge, say you’re guilty and pay the fine.

I tell Nicki Terri my story, especially the fact I NEVER was given a PHYSICAL ticket, let alone TOLD I even GOT a ticket that day.

Nicky Terri is nonplussed, as if I just said “Hi, I live in NYS and am a registered Democrat, and I work for the State too.”

Defeated and knowing I got as far as I could, I accept the offer, sit down, and about an hour later I go before kindly old Judge I. Will Hangim, plead guilty, and get hit with a 100 dollar fine and 25 dollar “surcharge,” choosing to take the full 60 days to pay the fine.

Hey, the Internal Revenue Service don’t get my money till the day it’s due, and neither will the City of Schenectady.

So in the end, it doesn’t matter whether you get a physical ticket or not, if an officer says you did something, assume you did and pay the price.

Finally, one may ask, “Mike, why didn’t you fight it? Get a lawyer? Make a federal case out of it?”

Because in the end, I, in fact, DID go past the stop sign. Clearly and fully, and anyone who knows me will agree I pay my debts.