Traffic court just a revenue generator

Opinion

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I wish to draw your attention to an item in the Sunday Chicago Tribune, Metro, Section 4, p. 3, Oct. 23. Stone Park is facing a federal lawsuit for abuse of handling matters "at a local hearing where the village need only prove its case by a preponderance of the evidence?#34;not the higher standard of 'proof beyond a reasonable doubt' used in criminal cases." It is my understanding that they use the local hearing procedure for traffic offenses, fattening the village coffers with instant justice and no state report of the conviction.

In Oak Park, there have already been complaints of injustice in the new method of handling parking citations. The cost of getting real justice, guilty or not, exceeds the cost of simply pleading guilty, paying off, and shutting up.

The Oak Park Village Manager has proposed moving other offenses under this kangaroo court system to increase revenue to the extent of balancing the budget. Will this mean more enforcement of victimless crimes and more denial of justice for the citizens?

A basic principle of democracy is the right to face our accuser in open court in front of a jury of our peers. Many years ago we voted for the Judicial Reform Amendment, which supposedly did away with the abuses of the J.P. system. It substituted some new abuses, but that is no excuse for moving backwards.

Lewis Carmichael
Oak Park

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