Today I went into the Parma municipal court with hopes of being treated fairly. This was not the case.
Weeks back in Seven Hills, our street was torn up due to city authorized construction. The details of this project were to tear up and replace the street and replace the bottom half of the driveways on for all residents. During construction on our side of the street, we were were forced to park on the Parma side of the street.
I came out one morning to notice a ticket on my car's windshield and a woman city worker who explained what happened and why I recieved this ticket. Apparently there was a man who wanted to park on the Parma side and refused to move his car and demanded police come out to defend his right to park there. After a quarrel with the officer, the man recieved a ticket and demanded the other two cars parked near the stop sign get them as well to be fair. The charge was "parking within 30 ft. of a stop sign." In the case of my Driveway being torn up and not being able to park in Seven Hills due to parking restrictions after 3 a.m., all residents were forced to park on the Parma side for the remainder of the 5 days it took to fix the driveways. Not once did any other cars parked in my same spot any of those days receive tickets due to their offense.
After going to contest my ticket, I went in for a preliminary hearing in which I explained to the judge my case and he provided me with a new court date to defend myself. Not once did they ever mention that I could plead for something called "relief," where you plead to have court costs waived as well as the fee for the charge against you, or I would be better off just paying it because the court costs would have been much higher than the ticket.
In court today I was found not guilty by the court prosecutor, and when my file was handed to the judge she replied with "It appears your case has been dismissed though I am not sure why, but you will need to go to the cashier's desk and pay for court costs."
A $25 dollar ticket which could have easily been paid but now knowing the consequences for defending myself turned into a $72 fine for court costs. I was charged almost 3 times the amount of the ticket.
I won my case, I proved my innocence, and yet I came out 3 times more guilty for what? To come out of the courtroom saying "I won"? The Parma justice system did nothing to counsel me on my options, nor did they disclose any vital information to me, saying I was better off pleading guilty and paying the ticket rather than using my right as an American citizen to prove myself innocent. I techincally won my case, but in the end I lost more than I had even imagined.
Name withheld upon request