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Missing comma gets woman out of parking ticket

The case was tossed not just because of bad punctuation, but because Ms. Cammelleri argued that she was unable to understand the specifics of a city ordinance banning parking vehicles for more than 24 hours.

Apparently, the law in question listed several vehicles that could not be parked for more than 24r hours, including a “motor vehicle camper.” Ms. Cammelleri took the city’s statement to literally mean motor vehicle campers, such as motorhomes, but the city apparently meant for the law to read “motor vehicle, camper.”

Ms. Cammelleri left her pick up truck parked for more than 24 hours and was thus ticketed. Instead of simply paying up, however, she decided to fight the ticket in court, claiming that she did not believe that the law applied to her pick up truck.

The city tried to argue that what the law was stating was obvious, even if the comma was missing. Luckily for Ms. Cammelleri the judge in the case, Robert Hendrickson of the 12th Ohio District Court of Appeals, disagreed. Hendrickson also recommended that the city amend the law to read properly if it wanted to enforce it.

Parking tickets are a big source of income for many governments, so it’s not surprising to see the village attempt to force Ms. Cammelleri, and likely other drivers, to pay up even though the mistake was on their part. It is estimated that parking tickets generate approximately $20 billion a year in revenue.

New York City alone generates over a half billion dollars in tickets per year, while Los Angeles accounts for another quarter billion dollars. With money like that on the line, governments will be quick to defend their practices.

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