Legal Junque

John A. Quayle blueoval at SGI.NET
Tue Dec 14 13:56:46 MST 1999


Okay Gang,

        My raged has sufficiently cooled to the point where I can (hopefully)
engage in a cogent discussion of fact and theory. What I'm babbling about
is this. On the 30th of November, I was hauled before a district justice to
defend myself in a citation.

        I was cited for not having a current state-required vehicle inspection
sticker. Now, here's why. Current Pennsylvania vehicle code *REQUIRES* the
passing an emissions test, *FIRST* before any safety inpection can occur.

        Under the new edict (tougher, punitive guidelines) from the all omnipotent
EPA, it's a fact of life that some vehicles won't pass. I drive an
extremely pampered 1991 truck with 113,000 miles on it. It doesn't consume
a lick of oil, nor does it smoke like an old chimney. Some time back, I
switched to a platinum-core sparkplug for performance reasons - on Doug's
recommendation. No, Doug, I'm not assessing blame, here. The advice was
good. The truck passed prior pollutant restrictions, but not these. Ergo, I
was denied a safety sticker.

        The law is written that if you spend X amount on improvements to the
vehicle without no net gain, the state will grant you a "waiver", meaning
you will still be able to drive it. What this waiver does, when you think
about it, is render the whole exercise null and void. The EPA had demanded
confiscation of the offending vehicles with no chance at redemption, but
state lawmakers suprisingly grew some spine.

        Okay, that's the set up. Now, going before the district justice, any
argument that I advanced was shot down by the state trooper who cited me.
He kept saying, "that's not why we're here." I kept waiting for the
magistrate to intervene and tell the clown that he was out of order, but no
soup for me. I liken this charade to someone who has shot another, but when
self-defense is presented as a defense, he is told, "that's not why we're
here." IOWs, was the act committed by you, yes or no, nevermind why.

        My question to the rest of you is this: is it unreasonable for an
expectation of prudent reasoning on the part of the court bench, or are
they simply there to uniformly determine guilt versus innocence, without
extenuating circumstances being brought to bear?

        Folks, the bottom line here is that we've reached that horrible point in
time, where the monolithic federal bureaucracy, in it's zeal to wage war on
our freedoms, has the power to make us all scoff-laws and law breakers. The
sad part of this is that our county commissioners sued the EPA in a class
action suit. They won the case in June, the judge argreeing that the EPA
had overstepped its bounds by legislating a hardship decree, leaving no
legal recourse. Furthermore, by threatening to withhold federal highway
monies, the EPA had engaged in outright blackmail. The vexing part of this
was the judge's comment after his pronouncement. He said, "I have no power
to undo what the EPA has set in place."

        Huh?!? Does this make sense?


John Q.



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