BOSTON – Would you pay a $275 fee to appeal a $15 parking ticket?

Arguing the fee violates their right to due process, Vincent Gillespie and Edward Hamel, who received tickets in Northampton in 2005, brought their case to the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. And according to the State House News Service, he lost.

Gillespie and Hamel, with the help of the ACLU and the backing of the National Motorists Association argued that, because their first appeal was handled by the local parking clerk, the same office that issued the ticket, they did not receive a fair judicial review.

Their second appeal cost $275. Lawyers argued that the fee is a “financial barrier” that prevents access to courts, which is guaranteed in the state constitution.

But the court disagreed.

Justice Robert Cordy, in the SJC opinion said people do not have a “fundamental right” to operate a motor vehicle and, therefore, parking on public property is a privilege.

He acknowledged the filing fee was excessive compared to those in many other states, but noted that fact was not considered in the ruling.

Cordy’s opinion emphasized that the fee “conserves scarce judicial resources and discourages the filing of non-meritorious appeals.”

There is a bill on Beacon Hill that would move parking ticket appeals to small claims court, which requires a much less expensive $40 non-refundable filing fee.

Comments (5)
  1. beststrollers says:

    wonderful site, where did you come up wiht the information in this article? I’m happay I ground it nonetheless,in a bad way be checking behindhand in short order to grasp what other articles you have.

    1. Mike says:

      No offense but, I really think you should proof read your comments BEFORE you submit them.

  2. Paul says:

    Well then, here’s an idea…let’s sue every doctor for making us wait in his office. We can sue for $100. Since it is too expensive for a Dr to hire an attorney to fight it, and the Dr won’t take the day off from work….you will win the $100 plus your filing fee of $40. What a great system we have.

  3. Jim says:

    just get a p o box in an adjacent state and register your car there. Avoid Massachusetts totally and deplete the state of much needed revenue.

    Then you won’t need the $275 fee to contest your case. Mass has no jurisdiction in other states.

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