I am appealing the citation issued on May 12th 2005 (301 In Disabled Space/Ramp) for the amount of $275.00.
I will be submitting photographic evidence tomorrow in a separate folder. Please contact me if during review this evidence is not present.
I was not parked in a disabled spot but to the right of it. I spoke with Frank Granda who reviewed the claim along with officer 910CJ. The officer claims that I was not in the spot that I know I was in. After I parked the car at about 9:30AM I noticed that my parking spot had a blue line on the driver's side. This is unusual because only disabled spots have such a line. Upon further inspection it was obvious that a white line had not yet been painted as the disabled spots are new (completed over spring break). The sign, the parking stop and a white banner all indicated I was in the right as did Frank Granda. I took an unusual amount of care to insure that I was not in a handicap parking space. Throughout campus, with few exceptions, handicap spaces exist in 2's or more.
It is possible however, if the officer approached the car from the back, the sign which indicated Magnolia resident parking started at that space and proceeded westward, appeared like a disabled parking space placard. They are of similar size, and as I mentioned earlier, it is rare to have a lone handicap space.
I later approached the Officer who had given me the citation (I apologize that I don't have his name) to ask him how he approached the vehicle in the citation. His response was curt, and he was initially unwilling to cooperate. With persistance, he told me that he gets assigned around campus. I lived in Magnolia so I have seen that spot since the installation during Spring Break. I eventually got him to answer when he thought the space was installed. His response was a confident, "Several Months" which is factually inaccurate. If he is equally sure about its history and my citation that speaks volumes.
It has been less than 2 months since that spot was put in.
I was told that he had the opportunity to photograph the infraction. While I understand that the digital camera is usually used for obscured, broken, or forged parking permits, in a situation where the ticket is 275 dollars, it is obvious that this should be included (not to mention a double and even triple check.) Such a photo not only would have cleared me, but it would probably have stopped him from writing the ticket in the first place.
You can see from the photos included that parking lot was nearly entirely empty. The reasons why someone would park in the disabled spot would be that they are late to class, or they have no where else to park, or there is some over riding emergency. None of these make sense, given the ample legal spaces. It is interesting that it did not strike the officer equally surprising, enough to warrant multiple looks.
Despite the bad taste this incident has left in my mouth, I would like to take a moment to recognize Frank Granda's calm throughout the ordeal. I know I was a little flustered, as anyone who has been falsely accused would be, and his professionalism was very much appreciated.
I would also like to respond to an inevitable concern of the mediator which is that I have 10 citations to my name. At least 4-5 of those are my sister's and one of them (a warning from April 6th 2001, was issued while I was attending the Brain Bowl in High School) when I was not a student at USF . Hopefully your records indicate that all of my fines have been paid for immediately while on appeal. This was done because I recognize that I was at least partially at fault for past infractions, but was hoping that extenuating circumstances (not aware of the 5:30 rule, not sure what areas were assigned to faculty, etc) would explain why I got the citation and may lift the fine. This is the first time that the citation has been completely without merit and therefore I will not pay until the appeals process has been exausted.
One last point: From a purely objective 3rd person's view... if Officer 910CJ, is wrong, he is mistaken, if I am wrong, I have to be lying. I am willing and eager to take a polygraph.
Thank you for your deliberation,