Man May Get Jail for Ticket Expletive
BERKLEY, Mich. (AP) _ The parking fine was $10. But the comment Robert Militzer added to the check could land him in jail for 30 days.
The computer programmer from Allen Park got the ticket May 29. When Militzer wrote the check to Berkley District Court, he scribbled on the memo line, ``BULL (expletive) MONEY GRAB.″
That got Militzer an in-person court appearance _ on a contempt of court charge. He’s scheduled to go before a judge Wednesday, accompanied by an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who will argue Militzer’s remark is protected by the First Amendment.
Militzer, 38, was ticketed for parking in front of a friend’s house overnight. He said he obeyed signs prohibiting parking between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. during previous visits, but the signs weren’t there the morning he was cited.
``I thought they were gaming me, collecting fines without giving people a fair chance to avoid it,″ Militzer told The Detroit News. ``If the sign had been there, I knew what the law was. I would take my lumps and move on.″
Militzer said he realized the off-color notation ``didn’t solve anything.″ But, he added, ``It let them know I felt they were being unfair.″
Richard Eshman, Berkley’s public safety director, said Militzer could have requested a hearing to argue against the ticket. ``There’s an avenue for protesting that kind of thing,″ he said.
ACLU lawyer Elsa Shartsis said Militzer’s ``choice of words may not be the best, and it may offend some people, but it’s not illegal.″