This website provides basic information about two Massachusetts lawsuits that affect Massachusetts drivers: (1) Gillespie and Hamel vs. the City of Northampton (relating to parking ticket appeals), and (2) Salem Police Department vs. Sullivan (relating to moving violation citation appeals). (Click on either of the two prior hyperlinks for information about each of those two cases.) Both of these cases challenged Massachusetts laws which require exorbitant filing fees to get a court hearing to appeal tickets that have been issued to drivers. The two cases were heard together by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) on March 10, 2011.
Decisions have been handed down in each of these two cases by the SJC holding that these improper fees are not unconstitutional. (Read about the 7/14/11 decision in the Gillespie case [the “Parking Ticket Lawsuit”] by clicking here. Read about the decision in the Sullivan case by clicking here.) The SJC’s 7/14/11 decision in the Parking Ticket Case is very wrong and dishonest. Click here to read a critical analysis of that decision. (This author also believes and asserts that the decision in the Sullivan case, which cites and relies on the 7/14/11 decision in the Parking Ticket Case, is also wrong).
Efforts are underway to have the Mass. state legislature pass a bill, H1576, which would change the law relating to parking ticket appeals (and also motor vehicle law violation tickets received by bicyclists). See discussion by clicking here.