Thursday, March 10, 2005

Big government: yo, where's our cut?

The New York Post had reported on Tuesday that Brooklyn NYPD gave a Girl Scout's father a ticket. The father had parked the family van by the roadside and were delivering Girl Scout cookies; apparently some people had passed by, noticed the cookies, and wanted to make spontaneous orders. The follow-up story reports that the NYPD believes they were justified to issue the summons.

Today, the Post reports that there's a rush of people who are buying cookies from her, and some lawyers are offering to take her father's case pro bono. Bully! Buying a box sounds pretty good. I like the mint ones but must confess an innate weakness for good shortbread.

I can understand that locals are upset at sidewalk peddlers, and a town or city has the authority to enact ordinances regulating activities on a public sidewalk, but for crying out loud! It's just a Girl Scout and her father, and couldn't they have been given a warning first? Even the officer issuing the summons was reluctant. Having been a victim of both police and judicial bullying, all I can say to the girl is, behold the power of the state. I will never forget what the respective self-annointed powers said to me.

No probable cause. No warrant. No crime. Yet one of two officers of the law said "We can take you to jail right now!"

Then there was, "How about I throw you in jail for 15 days, what's your mom going to do then?" I had begged his clerk for a continuance. My mother had suffered a concussion the previous night and I was the only one who could watch her. She said no, I asked to speak to the judge, and she didn't like that I went over her head. So she lied and claimed I had yelled at her. That didn't sit too well with the judge, and my opponent in the suit also happened to be one of the judge's campaign contributors. Conflict of interest? Judicial review board? Well, I'm afraid such justice isn't available to us smaller folk. We can't afford it.

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