When the City of Denver announced [several years ago] that it was de-criminalizing “routine” traffic offenses, meaning offenses that are not arrestable and can be settled by payment of a fine, the good people of Denver praised the move. It was widely believed that routine traffic offenses should not be stigmatized as crimes. Denver authorities were being “compassionate,” or so people believed. If those authorities were doing the same today millennials would like it on the grounds that the old criminal system was not “sustainable.”
The truth of course had nothing to do with being compassionate nor with whether anything is or is not sustainable. It was done for one reason only, which the City readily admitted knowing that the public was not paying much attention, and that reason was to avoid jury trials for people protesting their tickets. Too many times the accused were winning those jury trials, and that had to be stopped.
By any means necessary.
I wanted to write about the rough justice assault on liberty and the Constituional violations that invariably occur when de-criminalization is used as a ruse to raise revenue for government by resolving protests in traffic cases in a kangaroo court proceeding. However, someone has already done that and it’s right here: The Time I Turned a Routine Traffic Ticket into the Constitutional Trial of the Century.