This last Sunday, Mother's day, my wife and I decided to drive up to Brownwood State Park to enjoy the afternoon. On the way to the lake we were stopped by an officer from the Department of Public Safety for an expired inspection sticker. In my defense, I seldom drive this vehicle. I work from home and we normally use my wife's vehicle for trips into town to save on fuel expenses. Be that as it may, I had neglected to notice that the inspection of my truck had expired some time ago. I was, in fact guilty of driving a vehicle without a valid inspection.
The officer was respectful and professional and this unfortunate business was concluded with good humor and casual conversation. I thought no more about it that day and our visit to the state park was all that we had expected it to be.
The following day, I immediately obtained an inspection for this vehicle and presented myself to the court of Jim Cavanaugh, Justice of the Peace for precinct 4 for Brown County only to find that the citation had not yet arrived from the Department of Public Safety. The clerk for the Justice of the Peace was an engaging lady who offered to contact me as soon as the citation arrived in that office.
The next day, I did receive a call from the clerk and returned to the office of the Honorable Jim Cavanaugh to settle this matter, expecting to pay a nominal fee considering I had moved immediately to correct my infraction make amends to the county for my oversight. But despite my expectations, His Honor showed no mercy for my infraction and levied the hefty fine of $150 for this minor violation.
I was stunned that the full force of the law had come to bear upon me. I had no other infractions on my driving record. I had served faithfully, without question, on more than one occasion when called upon to do so by Brown county. I immediately moved to correct the violation and presented myself to the court in good faith at the earliest possible opportunity. Yet none of this compelled any consideration on the part of His Honor.
I was, however, advised and encouraged to enter a plea of 'not guilty' to attempt to avoid this rather harsh penalty. That would have been a lie. I was, in fact, guilty of the violation for which I received the citation. But yet, I am expected to lie to the court in order to receive any modicum of mercy. Apologies, your Honor, but my integrity is not for sale, even to the court.
Perhaps my estimation of the court was in error. Perhaps my expectation of justice and mercy was overreaching. And perhaps my admiration for for His Honor was misplaced. Perhaps.
I urge you, your Honor, have more consideration for those who live in this county and faithfully serve our community to the best of our ability. Shouldn't we all be allowed one mistake without being tromped upon by the unyielding force of the law? Shouldn't we all be allowed a modicum of mercy from time to time? Or is it time we elect one who would show more consideration for the citizens he serves?