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His name is Edward, not Edwin!

February 09, 2008 @ 11:47 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Seen on the 'net

While surfing the ‘net last night, I came across the plight of Philadelphia resident Edward Stanley Harris.  It seems that Edward has a twin brother named Edwin Shelby Harris and about seventeen years ago Edwin received 8 moving violations worth some $1500 that he never paid.  Since then, Edwin has moved away and Edward rarely hears from him.

Every time Edward went to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) office to renew his license, they told him he had outstanding tickets and thus couldn’t renew his license.  And every time he would faithfully trot himself down to the Philadelphia Traffic Court and explain (again) that he was Edward Harris, not Edwin Harris and the tickets weren’t his.  Each time the traffic court judges would listen, realize PennDOT didn’t know what they were talking about and rectify the situation (until the next time his license came up for renewal).

Except for Traffic Court Judge Willie Adams.

Traffic Court Judge Willie Adams apparently had no interest in hearing the facts or reviewing the ample documentation and ordered Edward to pay the outstanding fines –now worth a little over $1800 — at the rate of $100/month, or go to jail.

He started paying this while off while he filed his appeal because he didn’t want to go to jail.

Sanity made a brief appearance during the appeal hearing and the payment order was withdrawn and someone suggested to Edward that he go back to Traffic Court to get his money back.

At some point, Edward contacted Ronnie Polaneczky, a reporter at The Philadelphia Daily News.  The reporter in turn contacted attempted to contact Traffic Court Judge Bernice DeAngelis, but wasn’t immediately successful and wrote about Edward’s story in the newspaper.  Two days later, Judge DeAngelis contacted the reporter and couldn’t apologize enough for the travesty Edward has been subjected to.

The judge couldn’t, however, explain how the situation got to the point it did, nor why Edward had to resort to calling a reporter who ultimately shamed the Traffic Court system into fixing the problem.

As for Judge Adams, the idiot who really should go before the Judicial Conduct Board to explain his actions, Judge DeAngelis is quoted as saying “I wasn’t in the courtroom.  I don’t know what was said or not said. Judge Adams is my colleague. It’s not my place to comment on his actions.”  There’s really no need to, eh?

It’ll be interesting to see what happens next time Edward goes to renew his license.  Will PennDOT get things right or will he have to go to Traffic Court again?

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