RVerís BEWARE! Kangaroo Court in Dand...

RVerís BEWARE! Kangaroo Court in Dandridge, TN

Posted in the Dandridge Forum

Liana Smith

Atlanta, GA

#1 Jul 14, 2011
The Ticket
We were heading back to North Carolina, east on Hiway 40 (Dec 21, 2011), after a summer in the West with our motorhome and towing a jeep wrangler. Itís late at night, raining hard, and all the rest stops are full with truckers. We take an off- ramp to Dandridge, TN Exit 417), and stop for a red light at the bottom of the ramp in the left hand turn lane to turn left onto Highway 92 north. Only a flatbed tow- truck is in front of us at the signal. We are both waiting for the left turn light to turn green. It does and we both proceed into the intersection. The intersection is not well lit and without any markings on the pavement to show the left turn lane. Itís still raining and visibility is limited to the point of making it difficult to negotiate the left turn into the appropriate lane. We proceed slowly behind the truck while it is also having trouble negotiating the unmarked turn lane. No cars are to our left are waiting for the light to change. We completeh the turn and almost immediately, we see flashing lights in our side mirrors. We stop at the first turn (Patriot Dr) left that accesses a fast-food and gas station area. An officer comes to our side door on the motor home, adjacent to the lane of moving traffic, and knocks loudly. He does not approach the driverís window on the curb side, away from traffic. My wife answers the coach door and the officer asks if we know why he stopped us. We said no. He said we ran a red light. We said we didnít understand, although we did see the light turn yellow while we were proceeding slowly into the intersection and finishing our left hand turn. We suggest that we complete our turn into the concessions area so he wouldnít have to stand next to a traffic lane in the rain and darkness. Agreeing, he returned to his vehicle and followed us a short distance into a lot behind a Hardees. I accompanied the officer back to his patrol car where he informed me that because I argued with him about running the red light, and so much time was now spent on this stop, he was going to have to write me a ticket instead of a warning. Another officer joined us at that time, not saying much but spitting on the ground every few seconds while he stood directly in front of me a few feet away. I explained that we had to move slowly through the intersection due to the slow truck in front of us, the poor markings on the pavement, and the poor visibility due to the rain, darkness, and poorly lit intersection. The accompanying officer replied that all intersections and red lights were basically the same? I continued to explain to both officers that we had only one vehicle in front of us when the turn light changed to green and we saw the light change to yellow only as we were finishing our left-hand turn. The officer said that they had us on camera and there was no question that we ran a red light. Somewhat sarcastically, I said that we also had a camera on our motor home, and we do. This statement was subsequently used in court as an example of my aggressive behavior (as described to the judge by the accompanying officer; see below). The officer writing the citation noted in his report that our estimated speed was 3 mph and traffic was light (actually non-existant). The ticketing officer asked several times if I was going to come back to Dandridge for the court hearing or pay the fine by mail. I said we would return because we knew we hadnít ran a red light.
Liana Smith

Atlanta, GA

#2 Jul 14, 2011
The ďKangarooĒ Court
We appeared in court in Dandridge on May 4, 2011, at 5 pm. We mistakenly went to the Municipal Court downtown and had to rush to the City Court located on a Highway outside town. We were the only people there, along with a judge, a town administrator, the police officer that issued the ticket, and the other officer that arrived on the scene later. The atmosphere was very informal (difficult to tell which person was the Judge) and we sat at folding tables and chairs across from one another. The judge was a women dressed very casually. We were all sworn in and ask how we wanted to plea. After some confusing and abbreviated explanation by the judge, I decided on the option of having the judge decide our case. Much of the following question/answer period was taken up by the testimony of the citing officer, the town administrator and the judge asking us such questions as what the length of a semi-trailer was, or if I knew the length of the tow truck in front of us at the signal. The issuing officer did admit that he was going to give us a warning until I argued about the ticket, and the late-arriving officer said I was arguing Ďaggressivelyí. Then the judge persisted with questions about when exactly did the light turn yellow or red. I stated several times that the light turned yellow while we were in the intersection, and I never saw it turn red while we were turning. My wife was not allowed to speak or verify my answers while I was answering questions, only when I was finished answering questions.
The judge ruled that we were guilty of running the red light because our testimonies were not consistent with one another regarding when the light turned yellow. Also, she stated that she didnít believe that the issuing officer would have stopped us while it was raining unless we actually committed a traffic violation. We couldnít believe what we were hearing. Our only thoughts were that the judge must not have understood that we started into the intersection after the light turned green, with one vehicle in front of us, i.e. we entered the intersection on a green, not yellow, light. We also said several times that the light turned yellow while we were in the intersection.
Upon arriving home in NC, I called a lawyer in Knoxville, TN, and he informed us that the Dandridge area was a notorious speed trap, well known by people in eastern TN. He also wondered why the judge did not read the police report and why she didnít ask for the video (if one actually existed). Even though we were the only people in the court room, she stated at the very beginning that she hadnít read the police report.
And justice was served in Dandridge, TN.
Judge: Rebecca Slone; Town Administrator: James Hutchins; Officer that issued ticket: Devotie.
Sorry for You

Ten Mile, TN

#3 Jul 14, 2011
How much was the ticket ?
What area of NC are you from ?
It does sound like a kangaroo court. I hadn't heard that part about the speed trap, in a while, but it doesn't surprise me, and again most towns have their sweet spots. I actually thought that from the interstate bridge to around food city was the trap and it is as you come off the interstate onto a wide 4 lane road THAT looks level but actually drops considerably in grade and before you blink, your doing 55 or 60 and the limit is 45. Now that I think about it, I have heard of several people getting stopped there for turn lane and red light violations. Welcome to Dandridge ! You ought to see how the rest of the county is run.
I didn't hear about any camera video's being played and firmly believe that if they actually had one, it would have proved conclusively your guilt or innocence. And yes I feel the fact that the officer confirmed your 3 mph speed through the light should have been taken into consideration as to whether you were actually in a hurry or simply driving a 50 foot + long rig through an intersection. I just can't see anyone in a motor coach flying through an intersection, or driving recklessly - more likely, holding up traffic more than breaking laws.
Now did you not realize you were screwed when you walked into the "court" and you were the only ones there ? They could have all been living their lives instead of having to deal with criminals like you...So I am thinking you were done way before you got there.
How far did you drive to get yourselves convicted ?
As a rule, in all states, the tourist on vacation is fair game. And I remember Black Mountain a few years back, early one Sunday Morning, when I asked to see the Radar, as my Radar detector had not gone off to warn me, he informed me, he had cleared it and continued to write me a ticket, which I mailed in, promptly. I just wrote it off as a cost of travel expense, or my welcome to NC.
Shit happens to us all, let it go and enjoy your life. You could be riding around in a VW micro bus with a bicycle on the back. I mean who had the last laugh in reality ? You probably pay you maid more than the silly ass cop makes per year.
Piedmontslider

United States

#4 Jul 14, 2011
I know what you're talking about. Many times,have truckers held motorists up at all three traffic signals in the 417 exit mess. I've been behind a trucker doing 3 mph while the light turns yellow and even red. I couldn't even see the light because of the trailer to know if it had changed. This happens there all the time. Especially at Patriot drive,with that Perkins stop sign confusion. And yes,the exit road markings are barely visible in rainy conditions. So actually,the slow trucker caused you to be under the light when it turned red.I suppose one could stay at the light until the truck went through,then proceed. Just imagine,there was talk of putting up red light\speed cameras up at these signals. With the truck traffic,thatd be a nightmare. I think the idea is shelved for now. As far as the Kangaroo court,I've never been in there but I've heard about it. Kinda "Wham Bam,thank you ma'am" kinda court isn't it? Law enforcement services are ran like a business around here. Gotta catch tourist and sit around town with the lights off to make money. Just figure the ticket as the price of doing business and move on. It happens. Cops are human and make mistakes. Or maybe you made a slip up. A small town in S.C. Will get one of us back. With so many cops trolling around the sprawling town of Dandridge,the odds of getting pulled over are pretty good lately.Hope it wasn't the cop with the lisp,poor boy,he doesn't know the laws. I've had one ticket in 15 years and like yours,it was on our vacation in a speed trap town.(In S.C). Don't let it cast a cloud over your fun.I admit,SOME law enforcement officers in these parts are glorified Constables,bagboys,Volunteer firemen,used car salesmen and EMT dropouts that are starving for power. I'm hoping you got the good ones. Good luck,and give Dandridge another chance sometime.
geezz

Dandridge, TN

#5 Jul 15, 2011
Too bad you were not one of Rebecca's partying buddies. People leave her house-DUI. Some make it home, some don't. But I have never heard of any of them getting arrested for DUI. Well only if the law was called after they wreck, and could have killed someone when they wreck.

Sorry for you. That sounds like something that would have happened to us. Good citizens treated badly....The criminals treated like Royality.

And a little trivia for the locals. Which officer got an award for arresting the most DRUNK DRIVERS?
Should a

Morristown, TN

#6 Jul 16, 2011
She should be more understanding... like at dexfest.
smartazz cops

Morristown, TN

#7 Jul 16, 2011
So sorry this happened to you.I have delt with the Dandridge<jeff co> sheriffs dpt,myself.I have to say i was treated fairly by the Judge.We have a new Sheriff in town,and Lots have changed,Cant say its been for the best,either.Thats a totally different topic so wont go there.A person in Knox Co had made a false report on me,In which, This thing we say Innocent till Proven Guilty,I was incarcerated because of a drug dealer i called the law on for falling asleep and blocking the road,tried to get revenge,so, to make a long story short, i was picked up n booked!!!Was proven Innocent and charges then the Court placed against them.But i will have to say,The KCSD,Were the most Rude,Lying,Vulgar and Most Unprofessional officers i have ever met!!! Seems you got the one or 2 of the Bad cops that every co seems to have.Sorry this happened to you and hope this doesnt reflect on your feelings of every one in dandridge .
MMMMMM

Lancing, TN

#8 Jul 17, 2011
Liana Smith wrote:
The ďKangarooĒ Court
We appeared in court in Dandridge on May 4, 2011, at 5 pm. We mistakenly went to the Municipal Court downtown and had to rush to the City Court located on a Highway outside town. We were the only people there, along with a judge, a town administrator, the police officer that issued the ticket, and the other officer that arrived on the scene later. The atmosphere was very informal (difficult to tell which person was the Judge) and we sat at folding tables and chairs across from one another. The judge was a women dressed very casually. We were all sworn in and ask how we wanted to plea. After some confusing and abbreviated explanation by the judge, I decided on the option of having the judge decide our case. Much of the following question/answer period was taken up by the testimony of the citing officer, the town administrator and the judge asking us such questions as what the length of a semi-trailer was, or if I knew the length of the tow truck in front of us at the signal. The issuing officer did admit that he was going to give us a warning until I argued about the ticket, and the late-arriving officer said I was arguing Ďaggressivelyí. Then the judge persisted with questions about when exactly did the light turn yellow or red. I stated several times that the light turned yellow while we were in the intersection, and I never saw it turn red while we were turning. My wife was not allowed to speak or verify my answers while I was answering questions, only when I was finished answering questions.
The judge ruled that we were guilty of running the red light because our testimonies were not consistent with one another regarding when the light turned yellow. Also, she stated that she didnít believe that the issuing officer would have stopped us while it was raining unless we actually committed a traffic violation. We couldnít believe what we were hearing. Our only thoughts were that the judge must not have understood that we started into the intersection after the light turned green, with one vehicle in front of us, i.e. we entered the intersection on a green, not yellow, light. We also said several times that the light turned yellow while we were in the intersection.
Upon arriving home in NC, I called a lawyer in Knoxville, TN, and he informed us that the Dandridge area was a notorious speed trap, well known by people in eastern TN. He also wondered why the judge did not read the police report and why she didnít ask for the video (if one actually existed). Even though we were the only people in the court room, she stated at the very beginning that she hadnít read the police report.
And justice was served in Dandridge, TN.
Judge: Rebecca Slone; Town Administrator: James Hutchins; Officer that issued ticket: Devotie.
Well there is the problem its the officer. He is an A**. He think he is all high an mighty but he isn't all that and his sh** stinks just like everyone elses. But thats my opion and you know what they say opinions are like A**holes everyone has one. Just ended up that Jefferson Co PD just ended up with the biggest one around.
Smells like joan

Ten Mile, TN

#9 Jul 17, 2011
MMMMMM wrote:
<quoted text>
Well there is the problem its the officer. He is an A**. He think he is all high an mighty but he isn't all that and his sh** stinks just like everyone elses. But thats my opion and you know what they say opinions are like A**holes everyone has one. Just ended up that Jefferson Co PD just ended up with the biggest one around.
I'm thinking Dandridge Police Department, as we don't have a Jeff County Police Dept. Any officer can be a peni. As can any citizen.
And no matter what anyone says, you are going to bring you know who into the conversation. So get it over with.
welcomeGoHome

Dandridge, TN

#10 Jul 18, 2011
Hey there outatowner,I believe everything you said.But ,as a fairly new resident of Dandridge I can tell You that both my wife and I have been "let go with a warning".We didn't argue or protest or claim we were right.We '"yes sir and no sir'd".By the tone and volume of your post it APPears that you were very vocal w the officer.That my friend,can and often does come across as disrespect...Law enforcement is often given a wide birth in these small towns.Be thankful that all you got was 1 ticket,as these guys can be very creative in what they charge you with.AND yes!!!,,,The rest of the Justice system WILL back them before you.
MMMMMMMMM

Powell, TN

#11 Jul 21, 2011
Smells like joan wrote:
<quoted text>
I'm thinking Dandridge Police Department, as we don't have a Jeff County Police Dept. Any officer can be a peni. As can any citizen.
And no matter what anyone says, you are going to bring you know who into the conversation. So get it over with.


I have no one to bring into this so Call me Crazy I don't know what your talking about. I gave my opinion to the problem and that was all its the officer that stopped them.
not a joan

Morristown, TN

#12 Jul 21, 2011
Smells like joan wrote:
<quoted text>
I'm thinking Dandridge Police Department, as we don't have a Jeff County Police Dept. Any officer can be a peni. As can any citizen.
And no matter what anyone says, you are going to bring you know who into the conversation. So get it over with.
NOPE NOT HER,BUT WHY ARE YOU OBSESSED WITH HER SMELLS LIKE YOU HAVE HAD A FEW RUN INS WITH THE LAW SINCE YOU SAY THAT COPS CAN BE A PENIS .I DONT LIKE OUT OF TOWNERS PUTTING OUR OFFICERS DOWN WHEN THEIR DOING THEIR JOBS AND THE PERSON TELLING THE STORY MUST HAVE BEEN RUDE TO THEM IVE HAD A WARNING INSTEAD OF A TICKET BUT I WASNT RUDE OR ARGUE THE FACT
no name

Morristown, TN

#13 Jul 29, 2011
yeah ,your an obsessed s.o.b.
no name

Morristown, TN

#14 Jul 29, 2011
Ive read back a few threads,your an ass ,Im Stan Miller,and would appreciate you Stop your childish Bullshit,Evertime i post,you say im someone else.It shows you really do have a problem
Hey Stan No Name

Ten Mile, TN

#15 Jul 30, 2011
SUCK IT You ignorant SLUT !!!
rofl

Morristown, TN

#16 Jul 30, 2011
Can i be a slut? humm dont think so,now at times i can be a little ignorant,,but you?,,,I really would have to do alot of studying to figure out your mentality,,other than just being a stupid trouble making fool,other than that your just plain weird! Is your name Rhonda or Bud McCoig/?lmao at people like you .So full of envy and jealousy really seems to be a problem with you richard cranium,build you a bridge and get over it or jump,either would be fine.
Sober Tonight

Ten Mile, TN

#17 Jul 30, 2011
Or have you found someone who can spell and type ?
7/12/13/14/16, you ARE joan the crackhead, SLUT !
Could have been mistaken about hmmm, but the keyword was there...
rofl

Morristown, TN

#18 Aug 1, 2011
Still r.o.f.l.

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