Miscarried justice
Apr 21, 2013 | 969 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor:

This letter is in protest to my being charged and convicted of a traffic violation in Hoboken for which I was wholly innocent. The entire process, in which I was required to be in court on three occasions, my veracity denied, and factual information compromised, has left me with a disappointing view of the justice system in Hoboken.

The alleged violation occurred on Oct. 23, 2012. I was stopped on Frank Sinatra Drive at 10:20 p.m. The officer said I drove through a red light on Hudson Street at 3rd Street. This did not make any sense, since I was driving north on River. While reading my ticket where I was stopped, the same officer had pulled over another vehicle and appeared to be writing another ticket.

I was driving to my home on Blvd. East in North Bergen from Livingston. It was a familiar route taking I-280, Route 139 toward the Holland Tunnel, then onto Jersey Avenue, 18th Street, Marin, Observer Parkway and then left onto Hudson Street. At that point, vehicles can go only one block north because Hudson Street becomes one-way going south. So one must turn right onto Hudson Place, which, I did, and I then turned left onto River Street going north to turn right onto 4th Street and merge onto Frank Sinatra Drive.

My first court date was Nov. 7. I waited hours to be told that since I wanted to go to trial I would have to return. On the second court date, I waited hours to be told the officer was no show, so I would have to return. When I did for the third time, on Feb. 5, I waited until 10 p.m. before my case was heard.

The officer’s story was different than the night he stopped me. He stated that I did not stop when making a right turn from 3rd onto Hudson. I was not at that intersection. My route going north could not have me on Hudson Street where it is one-way south. The prosecutor Benjamin Choi told Judge Cataldo Fazio that the officer had ten years of experience and he had to believe him over me. There was no discussion that I had more than 10 years of being a law abiding, record-clean, taxpayer paying, honest citizen of New Jersey. No consideration for reasonable doubt. A policeman has no more personal corner on the truth than do I.

I was found guilty, and left with a lingering bad taste of miscarried justice. This would be considered by many a trivial matter, but to me, it was my only bite of the apple at our justice system. It failed me. My honesty and integrity were impugned. I was deemed untruthful.

That hurts.

Amidst the weight of the court’s work, the little guy can often feel left out and marginalized. But among all the voices, my single voice is, or should be, as important as any other. Through this letter, I hope my voice is heard.

Barbara Rizzo



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