Readers’ Scoop: Travesty Of Justice In The Courtroom

lakewood township municipal building tls_wmA little while ago I received a ticket while rushing to work for speeding. I got the official court notice in the mail with my date and time to appear in court. When I took a look at it I noticed that it was for 9:30 AM, a time I am at work and cannot be in court unless arrangements are made at my workplace. I figured I’d call the Lakewood Municipal Court and see if they can postpone it to another time. I was told by the woman that answered that a court date can only be postponed for illness….not because of work. She then asked me what time I get out of work,to which I answered that I can get there at like 2:00. She said “oh, that’s no problem at all;just come in at 2:00 and go right into court. I asked her “are you sure”? to which she replied”yes, it’s not a problem since we have court sessions in the afternoon too”.

And so I duly walk into court on my court date at 2:00 only to find that the only ones in the courtroom were the judge,prosecutor and the woman who sits and records all court proceedings while it is in session. I stood there until I caught the attention of one of them and told them I had a court appearance at 9:30 and was told I can come after work. The judge said “we cannot do anything for you now,go the office and get another appearance scheduled”. I told the judge that I was specifically told I should come in then but he insisted they cannot help me. I went to the window but it dawned on me that the judge likely had issued a bench warrant for my arrest being that I had “not shown in court”.

Sure enough upon checking the ticket the woman in the office saw that it was stamped with a warrant for my arrest. I told her what happened and she said that she does not understand why they wouldn’t deal with me. She said it’s common that people get rolled over from the afternoon to the morning or vice versa. She told me “just follow me,keep quiet and I’ll take care of it”. She walked into the courtroom together with me and explained what had occurred to the judge. Subsequently the judge “vacated”(cancelled) my arrest warrant and told her to issue me another court date. She did advise me that it would have to be at 9:30 once again.

I had no problem with that;I’d just make the proper arrangements at work so I can be there at that time. In my initial court appearance I had simply called to see if it can be set for another time,to which she had said to come in at 2:00.

When I am finally standing in front of the judge, he asks me how do you intend to plead. I say “guilty,your honor”. He goes through his whole speech that he needs to get on the recording “you acknowledge that you are not being forced,coerced….to say this…”. I then asked him “your honor;I just have one question-how many points is this ticket to which he replies “it’s a two point ticket”. I said “fine,I was just checking because the woman at the counter had told me this was a four point ticket. She said it says it was in construction zone… which I had said that there was ABSOLUTELY no construction anywhere NEAR where I was pulled. She had said that’s what it says…I can’t tell you more than that. I had a friend that knew the officer call him and he said “talk to the prosecutor, I don’t know what’s going on but it’s a two point ticket”. When I spoke to the prosecutor(I was gonna plea bargain if it was a four point ticket but if it was two I’d plead guilty since I only had one prior point on my record…)he also confirmed that it was two points.

Then the judge went ahead and stated what my fines would be. Now I thought I heard him say something about $150 for something but wasn’t sure and so I asked him if he can please repeat the fines. Turns out he was fining me $150 for “coming five hours late to court in my last scheduled appearance”. Now this upset me already. I very politely explained to the judge what had happened. He replied “no one ever told you to come at two o’clock”. Once again I POLITELY explained that these were the facts. I reminded him how the woman (not the one I spoke with on the phone-whom I have no clue who it was) had walked me into the courtroom….He said “correct,and I vacated your arrest warrant but the fine stays”.

At this point I have to admit that I was getting visibly upset. I told the judge that I think it is ludicrous and corrupt that an employee of HIS had told me that I should come at two o’clock and I was to pay $150 for HER mistake. I explained that the law is the law and I understand that I broke the law by speeding and completely understood the need for such fines and paying it makes people think twice before repeating their past mistakes. However why should I be made to pay because someone in his office has no clue what she’s talking about?!? He just kept insisting “no one ever told you this”! I said “your honor, how many points did you say my ticket was-2,the officer-2,the prosecutor-2 but a woman sitting at the window said it was a four point ticket! Obviously it is possible for an employee in your office not to know what she’s talking about! WHY?!?! I told him “your honor;coming at 9:30 didn’t really go with my work schedule today either but I knew I had to be ther by hook or by crook and so did my boss and so alternative arrangements were made so I can be there. Why would I not have done the same last month? I only did not come on time because I was told it wasn’t a problem! Thank G-D I’m not in court very often for tickets and so I trust what I am told by a court employee. I explained that in a business place an employee wouldn’t get away with such things because a business has to answer for themselves if they want to stay in business. A court employee is hidden behind a veil of anonymity and she will likely never be reprimanded for her actions. I told the judge how I felt that this was a complete corruption of the law and justice system.

 The judge just completely ignored me and just said I must leave the courtroom, after which I was honored to have a police officer escort me to the door.

As I was leaving the prosecutor told me “get yourself an attorney and you can appeal it”. So guys;should I spend close to $1000 and appeal a lost battle over $150?!? Some nerve! As I walked out an attorney who had witnessed the entire incident called me over. He said ” I want you to know that every person in that room knew and believed that you were right INCLUDING the judge! He said had the judge not believed that I was right,he would never have let me go on for 7-8 minutes. He would’ve had me arrested for “contempt of the court”. He said that he spoke with other attorneys in the room and they all said I was 100% in the right. More so, the judge likely knew which woman it was that spoke to me because he said it was well known that there is one woman in the office that has no clue what she’s talking about. In fact he said that he had personally gone over to the head administrator in the court just after the incident and demanded that something be done to correct this.

And so I ask that anyone that has the ability to do something about this travesty of justice so that others not get scammed the way I did,please do so. And this includes our politicians that are reading this blog. And “your honor” if you reading this blog;would you please with a cherry on top correct this situation?? And more than that the next time a similar incident occurs,since I understand that your ego will not allow you to admit that someone in your office made a mistake (the attorney said this himself-that you would NEVER admit to such a thing even though you knew who it likely was AND you KNEW I was saying the truth!) why don’t you ask the prosecutor to step outside with me and instruct him to clear things up so there won’t be any scenes in YOUR courtroom in which everyone knew you were the wrong one. Is that the way you want the justice system to come across;as corrupt and just out to make another buck? We say “your honor” when we speak to you because you represent the laws of our great and wonderful country the USA. Once you corrupt that system of law,you become the same human flesh and blood that we all are and deserve no “honor”. And so Lakewood Township- I am owed $150 dollars but I know I’ll never see it again. I do however want this corrected so that others just like myself do not get hurt.

An upset Lakewood resident

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  1. i had to pay $400 to plee bargain i was pulled over by an off duty cop for being on the “shoulder” of central ave east by the rt 9 inter. when everyone knows that u go around the long line of cars waiting to turn left on to rt 9 in the morning the cop knew he was wrong even the town knew this was a problom and they repainted the lines now so theres no “shoulder” the cop was upset that i was to close to his car he even told me!! so yes corrupt and power thats all we need the giulah…

  2. I have also been in front of this so called Judge. Not only is he disrespectful of any older member of the orthodox community, he has no knowledge of the law nor does he follow the law. He is basically a puppet of the governing body, otherwise why would they give him (a democrat) a new three year contract.

  3. You should not accept this. Don’t appeal , it’s expensive. Send a copy of your letter to Judge Grasso at the Superior Court of NJ in Toms River and also, if you wish, to Chief Justice Ratner in Trenton.
    All those who have had similar experiences should do likewise.
    Don’t be silent or he will continue to administer injustice to others.

  4. if you were going to plea guilty anyway, you should have just sent in the fine and spared yourself the dramma. Take you 2 points and have a sandwich

  5. I was at the scene of an accident before the officer arrived and tried to help the jewish party (it was the hispanics fault) the hispanics said we shouldnt go through insurance they will pay for it. When the officer arrived he decided it was the jewish drivers fault when I questioned him he said there was no way of knowing what happened unless you hire a proffesional SO WHY DID HE GIVE A TICKET! basicly when your an officiall you can do or say whatever you want, because they know its not worth fighting this officer or judge because its just too much time and money.

  6. To Attny:
    Thank you for your suggestion. I have looked up Judge Grasso’s info and will send him a letter. Thanks again-I didn’t think there was even anything that could be done.
    And to those that have or may question my version;it took me half an hour to write this article. I wouldn’t have done it if it didn’t truly bother me. I already said how I double checked with the woman and she still said it was no problem to come at 2.

  7. I have been to court many times and have found that judges have absoulutely no regard for law, it is all about money. Plea bargaining and all other such gimmicks make no sense. I was told on more than one occasion by prosecuters and heads of insp depts that the judge was not being fair.On the other hand I have respect for most police officers and inspectors and yes I do get fined every now and then

  8. I have been told by Township inspectors “you know the Judge will find you guilty no matter what”. I have been offered by my attorney a money back garuntee if he dosnet win on appeal (but it still wasnt worth it). This judge is the equivelent of a Communist judge. Always guilty.

  9. Sounds like the lady in Public works you call for bulk pick-up & she tells you they will pick up, then you call why it wasn’t picked up & you get a warning for putting it out without permission. There is no call log & no proof, just power bullying you.
    Then you keep voting for Bob Singer & saying Herschel doesn’t know what he is doing. The Vaad keeps supporting him, we all wonder why? what are we taxpayers getting here?
    Could we sign a petition to recall or get rid of the judge, or have a voted judge?
    Could one sue the Judge/township personally in small claims court without an attorney. Even though they may not let you win. If enough cases come he may think twice about having to come to court at 9.30 for throwing the book at an innocent person.
    How about a letter to the attorney General & office of better government?
    BTW I don’t know this judge or his name I do remember Gertner, so I am not biased.

  10. Wow I am so exited! Tls has finally given the ppl a voice! Goverment will now have to answer to the people. I am one of many who has been abused by this powerful lakewood courthouse. Thank you scoop!

  11. if u comit a violation u gotto confront a juge soo we are in golis we all thing lakewood lakewood but hey were in golis were 15k families in polant alone 800k familys

  12. hershcel cant do a thing about it. even bob singer cant this guy is a leftover from cunliffe days. but he is very very arrogant, much worse than Jerry Gertner ever was. Jerry was entertaining and educated even when he was tough. this guy just wants to hear the chaching of the cash register. maybe he thinks he is making angels.

  13. Will you people stop crying already.How about this we try driving the speed limit or parking in places that are spots, not where we feel a spot is, how about we review our driving manuel and maybe just maybe you wont have to deal with a situation like this.Maybe you like to get tickets so you have something to cry about, how about we stop blaming the police for giving tickets to us when we are the ones putting peoples lives at risk

  14. I didn’t hear ANYONE blame the police. All we’re discussing here is the actions of the judge when his employee misled me. I completely deserved the ticked and clearly say so in the article. Some of you have this thing that you’re always the police advocate even when noone was knocking them at all! And to be fair,I don’t recall EVER making negative comments about officers that give tickets. It’s an integral part of their job.

  15. Sadly, I’ve been in court many times. Yes the Judge is mean & he’ll always find u guilty! But those r his orders from the higher-ups. Don’t blame him. He doesn’t get any $$ out of it. The twsp manager or Committe told him to find ppl guilty. ‘Cuz the twsp needs the $$ Bad.

  16. its the same problem in other dept’s . But th commiteemen always hide behind the dep’t heads and always say there is nothing we can do about it.

  17. Time to get new leadership in Lkwd. Township. Try to get a Chaplainship or become friends with the chaplain and maybe he can work it out with the prosecutor or the cop and it wont cost any money or any time in court.

  18. #31 The township gets no money from a motor vehicle summons, it goes to the state. So much for your “theory” about the Township Manager ordering the judge to find everyone guilty. Also, the officer who writes 50 tickets gets the same salary as the officer who writes 2 tickets, so if you receive a ticket it’s because you broke the law. The easiest way to avoid all this is to stop feeling that the laws don’t apply to you.

  19. Let’s look at the root cause of this blog – Speeding. Had u not sped, we wouldn’t be having this lively banter. Obey the traffic laws and u won’t be placed in the position you are.

  20. Why ticket the Latinos etc they don’t pay & you can’t locate them. The Orthodox pay up front & we could always locate them. It’s a simple Township business decission. If you would own the toll booth you would do the same. It looks like Lakewood can hire more officers to ticket the growing community. Thanks everyone.

  21. #36. You are missing the point. People can make mistakes while driving and they do pay the consequenses. The complaint, at least here is not that there are consequences. The complaint here is that just because there are consequences doesn’t mean that the person loses all his rights. I would bet that former governor Cody wasn’t subjected to the same “process” as this poster went through when he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt in his accident. Yes he may of had to pay a fine, but you can bet there weren’t any “clerical errors” with his ticket!

  22. I have been to court too and have seen how this judge will not allow any defendant to talk, talks down and generally does not treat (plain) people with respect. Just because someone was speeding does not mean he loses his right to due process or to be treated like a criminal.

    Of course if you know the right people, i.e. the chaplain/ chaplain’s wife who’s story was with this same judge, then you’re o.k.
    The people are sick of this double set of rules. Everybody should be treated the same, with respect and dignity.
    Me and the rest of this town are sick and tired of a few “machers” getting their way while all the others are stepped on.

  23. Ah, you probally would’ve lost your foot in other parts of the world for speeding, and then you probally would’ve lost your tonuge for talking back to the judge.
    Just pay the fine and stop speeding around town. You never know one day you may get a bill for the hospital visit, ambulance transport, paramedic treatment, extrication all because you were speeding then crashed your car.
    Oh yeah forgot how healthcare is going you’ll also get a bill from the doctors that treat you.
    OOOPS forgot how government is going you can also get a bill for the court appearance again and traffic and safety due to the accident investigation and the fire dept. for bringing them big red trucks that the kids like to climb on.
    WOW, now that’s expensive after thinking about it, I probally still missed out on some billable items.

  24. welcome to real life!!!
    btw its this way thruout america not just in lakewood all the hicktowns cover their budgets and more by taking advantage of the little guy
    youll never fix it just grin and bear and go on thank g-d you got away with 2 points and your still able to drive

  25. The Judge was wrong, he should have tried to find out what happened. There are sets of laws and when the one who should for sure be following the rules doesn’t it hurts us, to see it, to be hurt (or fined) by it.
    FYI: I am still waiting for my bulk pickup from last week, I told my spouse to expect a fine, even though after calling it in to the Township and told what date to put out, when they did not come I called the Township and was told that there is a backup, when I asked the name of the woman she told me that it does not matter.

  26. # 35 Sarge, This story is one of the resons why people lose respect for the law. We keep having more dumb laws that regulate every aspect of life put on the books by do nothing politicians. The justice system is a joke – most judges are absoltuely clueless as to the law and have no patience to listen to the defendant’s side of the story. It’s the same story in every municipality and not just in traffic court – try explaining the differance between medicaid & medicare to a judge in small claims court like I have and you will be astounded at the ignorance of some judges.
    The whole system is an obvious scam. If the judge wasn’t wearing a robe we would call him an extohrtinist.

  27. The courts were not designed nor intended to be convenient as if they were some sort of fast food restaurant. Judge basen is one of the fairest judges anywhere.

  28. plain and simple you get a ticket you look at the court date that day not the day of the court session do you need someone to hold your hand while you walk to ……………. You got what you deserved

  29. If you try to give an officer a ticket, this Judge always dismisses it “lack of cause”. The Internal affair dept of Lakewood also dismisses every complaint, they must protect the Police Union. File with the County & the State Court, It helped getting Judge Heyman to resign.

  30. this happened to me when i went to get fingerprinted for sagem morpho. when i spoke to the lady on the phone about coming later than my appointment she said its fine because today things are messed up anyway- she was very vague. then i specified that i could come at two and she said it was fine.When i got there at two the fingerprinting guy blew a fuse and said i was not telling the truth and he said he was going to call his manager! no money lost, just very frustrating and embarrassing.

  31. To OMG at 3:01
    I looked at the ticket time the day I got it!!
    I called the court a week in advance JUST AS IT SAYS TO DO on the ticket.

  32. i feel your pain but i had a similar story i think with the same very smart lady i got a parking ticket in lakewood that i deserved so i went to court 2 pay it so that lady looked up the ticket and said its not in the sustem so i came back a week later to check up and she said the cop lost that days tickets[smart cop] so i went back a month later with a friend just 2 make sure so that lady asked me what i wanted so i said i was here a month ago and u told me that i dont have 2 pay the ticket that it was lost so she starded screaming at me really loudly i never said that so with respect i said can u please check it up so she came back and said u dont have 2 pay it but didnt apolgize

  33. This had nothing to do with Cunliffe for your information. This Judge wasn’t so corrupt when he found Mr. Zimmerman not guilty of simple assault , know was he.

  34. O, one more thing, any time you speak with some type of representative, whether it’s a creditor, court clerk, etc… you get a name, identification number and the date and time you spoke to them for future reference.

  35. FYI there is a lawyer who is a good friend of the judge who can “take care” of things. Ask around and you’ll find out who he is.

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