A Leaf reader forwarded a copy of an email she sent to Oak Lawn Police Chief Michael Murray, regarding a situation she described as “kangaroo court”, raising questions about the Village’s use of ordinance tickets, case adjudication, and the appeals process.
Police Chief Murray,
My name is Denise and I have some serious complaints to address to you regarding an officer, a ticket, a hearing, and a “lawyer / adjudicator” employed under the Village of Oak Lawn.
On September 19, 2016 – Officer CAMBRJA – Star Number 356 placed a ticket on MY jeep in front of our home. Ticket # P 1329738.
This ticket has multiple scratch outs on it and the name / address is blacked out as the only thing left on the vehicle was the orange copy of the ticket.
The Ticket was originally marked “Parking” – then it was “scratched out” to “Compliance”. There was NOTHING wrote in the box for vehicle make, color, vehicle license etc. Our address was listed as the location – and under the “Violate Section” – there was something wrote – and then SCRATCHED out – and Section 10-5-6-4 wrote in the space.
Finally, at the bottom of the ticket the box “OTHER” was chosen. And again – something was wrote and SCRATCHED out – and the words “Lewd, Abusive Language” was wrote.
The ticket fine showed $50. And a hearing date of October 18, 2016 was listed. “I” attended this first hearing as “I” am the registered owner (along with my husband) on which this ticket was placed. At this time – my son’s name was called “Zachary” – I stepped up – and explained to the adjudicator that this ticket was PLACED ON MY VEHICLE. (I was in my home and witnessed the officer place said ticket on my windshield.). The adjudicator then proceeded to tell me that “MY SON” was issued the ticket and that “HE” needed to appear. This is 100% FALSE. My son was NEVER issued a ticket.
To give you a background into what happened. At approximately 7am my son came home from work – (a security job) – hence a somewhat resemblance of a police uniform – and was walking up our driveway and an officer (Officer CAMBRJA) was driving by and alleges he “heard” my son yelling something. At this time – the officer U-Turned and pulled into our driveway inviting a communication between himself and my son. Is it possible YOUR Oak Lawn Officers have not been taught to DE-escalate a situation instead of ESCALATE a situation ?
As my son’s and all American’s first amendment rights are protected under the US Constitution – my son exchanged some words with the officer. There were NO threatening words – there were NO FIGHTING words – and there was NO DISORDERLY CONDUCT whatsoever. My son then proceeded to our front door to enter our home. AT THIS TIME – the officer LEFT OUR PROPERTY. Drove away – only to return a few minutes later – park behind MY AND MY HUSBANDS VEHICLE. Obviously “Run Our Plate” – which registers to MYSELF AND MY HUSBAND – and then decides to place this “ticket” on the windshield and drive away. (Keep in mind my husband and myself – WITNESSES to this situation were both inside our home at this time).
My son was NEVER detained, my son was NEVER asked to provide an ID, and my son was NEVER questioned by this officer.
I then retrieved the ticket (which again the name was blacked out) and the NUMEROUS scratches and corrections all over it led to the bottom notification of “code violation” 10.5.6.4 “LEWD an ABUSIVE Language or GESTURES”.
There was nothing “LEWD” said between my son and Officer Cambrja (The definition of LEWD is “Sexual in an Insulting Way”) – and there was nothing “ABUSIVE” said by son (causing to incite violence or physical altercation) and certainly NO GESTURES. Again – first and foremost. If there was ANY SORT OF PROBLEM – YOUR officer should have ID’d my son PROPERLY and/or DETAINED him “IF” there were LEGAL reason to do so – however – since he broke NO LAWS there was no reason to.do any of the former.
Fast forward to the “HEARING” yesterday on November 1. PER YOUR VILLAGE PAPERWORK – it SPECIFICALLY SAYS AND I QUOTE:
Notice of Continuance to Appear for Oak Lawn Municipal Hearing In The County of Cook, State of IL, for Municipality of Oak Lawn
THIS IS A NOTICE TO EITHER PAY OR APPEAR. It is to inform you of your right to appear at a hearing to contest the violation notice(s) listed below on its merits or to prepay the amount(s) owing for the violation(s). AS THE REGISTERED OWNER OR LESSEE OF THE CITED VEHICLE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO CONTEST THE VIOLATION(S) NOTICE(S) OR YOU MUST PAY THE INDICATED FINE AND PENATLY AMOUNT(S).
Then it lists my “sons” name under that. HOWEVER AGAIN HE’S NOT THE REGISTERED OWNER -WHICH GRANTS ME THE RIGHT AS STATED ABOVE TO CONTEST THIS TICKET !
Further – the offense on this hearing paper is listed again as “10-5-6-4 “Lewd Language” Again – LEWD refers to “Sexual in an OFFENSIVE WAY”.
Both my SON and I appeared at yesterday’s hearing with your “ADJUDICATOR” – which again I was told “I had no right to be there as my SON received the ticket. THIS AGAIN IS 100% NOT TRUE – MY SON NEVER RECEIVED A TICKET AND PER YOUR HEARING PAPERWORK – I AM THE REGISTERED OWNER OF THE VEHICLE AND I HAVE A RIGHT TO CONTEST. – After erroneous testimony from Officer Cambrja – stating that my son said he said things that my son DID NOT SAY – and further – there is NO EVIDENCE to support this – the officer stated that the “REASON” he didn’t further talk to my son or obtain an ID is because “SUDDENLY” he got a call to back up another officer that’s why he left. I believe this is 100% a lie – and I WILL request either from YOU or from MY ATTORNEY – to PULL the radio records from that morning to VERIFY whether this is TRUE or UNTRUE. And fully be aware your officer was “SWORN” to testimony at this hearing yesterday.
The officer then stated that he “returned” and “parked behind the vehicle” to “run the plate” and seeing that is was registered in MY AND MY HUSBANDS NAME – “MIRACULOUSLY” he “identified” Zach as having been arrested before. So he then felt it was best to place the ticket on our windshield so as not to cause any necessity to potentially “TAZE” my son should things escalate to that.
Apparently even though this Officer Cambrja “left” to go “assist” another officer – he apparently didn’t feel the need to HIMSELF request “assistance” or “backup” in this manner – RIDICULOUS.
As the hearing continued – your adjudicator – of which I would like her NAME so I can place a COMPLAINT against her wherever I can place a complaint – specifically told me that I had no right to speak and to “SIT DOWN” – again – PER YOUR PAPERWORK AS THE REGISTERED OWNER OF THE VEHICLE I HAVE A RIGHT TO CONTEST THIS TICKET. It was then ONE of your OFFICERS told me I HAD TO LEAVE – Again – UNPROFESSIONAL AND 100% WRONG. I REFUSE to put up with this kind of BULLYING — PERIOD.
Needless to say your “KANGAROO COURT” of an adjudicator ruled that my son was “LIABLE” for this BOGUS ticket. She then put a “fine” of $150 on her “determination letter”. LUDICROUS. We were told ahead of this hearing we could appeal this case to Bridgeview which I’m 100% doing. Oh and then WITHOUT MAKING US KNOWN AHEAD OF TIME – YOUR office hands us this Statement:
You may appear the final determination of the Traffic Compliance Administrator by contacting the Clerk of the Court of Cook County at Bridgeview. You must file your petition with the Clerk of the Circuit Court within thirty (30) days of receipt of your liability judgement.
You will need to bring the Final Determination Letter you received at your Oak Lawn Adjudication to the Bridgeview Courthouse. There will be a filing fee issued by the Bridgeview Courthouse starting at least $121 per ticket. The filing fee will vary according to the amount stated on the Final Determination Letter.
The purpose of the appeal is NOT to appear before a judge to state your case. The purpose of the appeal is so that the judge can review the adjudication tape from your hearing to determine whether or not there was a fair trial. You will then be issued a court date, time, and court room number on which to appear for the ruling. At this time, you will NOT be able to speak to the judge. You will only be hearing the determination of the judge. There will be no further appeal process after this review has been completed.
So you think for one minute I’m going to stand #1 for a “$121 filing fee for a $50 ticket – and #2 that this FAILURE of a “ATTORNEY” – and I put that in quotes – because as I said – I’m filing any and every complaint I can against her – can suddenly change the fine from $50 to $150 – and #3 that my son’s and MY case will NOT be in a court where we can SPEAK to a JUDGE? You are sorely mistaken.
I am in the process of hiring an attorney and this is 100% to PROVE A POINT and we intend on taking this as far as we have to.
WE will NOT be paying this “$50 ticket” and WE certainly won’t be paying a “$150 fine” after this hearing.
I plan on going to the Television News, The Chicago Sun Times, The Southtown Paper, The Tribune, EVERY Patch that is on the internet, The Reporter – AND To Pam Zeckman – this is not a threat in any way shape or form – it is a fact.
I would ask that you either make this “BOGUS” ticket go away – and SPEAK to YOUR officer – and SPEAK TO “YOUR” Adjudicator – or I proceed with all of the above.