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A 3-HOUR WAIT TO PAY! GET A TRAFFIC TICKET, SUFFER IN COURT LINES.



Byline: Troy Anderson Staff Writer

The public waits up to three hours in line to pay traffic tickets at Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850.  County courthouses, provoking temperamental tem·per·a·men·tal  
adj.
1. Relating to or caused by temperament: our temperamental differences.

2. Excessively sensitive or irritable; moody.

3.
 reactions and even physical confrontations, a new report says.

The report, conducted by the county's 14-member Judicial Procedures Commission at the request of the Board of Supervisors, found long waits at all 28 former Municipal Courts that were studied.

The report blamed the long lines In communications, circuits that are capable of handling transmissions over long distances.  on a growing population and aging court facilities that don't have enough well-trained employees to handle the crowds. In addition, poorly written traffic notices fail to offer alternatives to appearing in court.

The report found waits of one hour were commonplace and all courts had significant lines at one time or another. Antelope Valley This article is about the Los Angeles County region. For the census-designated place in Wyoming, see Antelope Valley-Crestview, Wyoming.

The Antelope Valley
 court officials reported waits up to two hours and Glendale officials reported three-hour waits.

``I went to the Van Nuys courthouse to pay my ticket and go to traffic school and it took me an hour and a half,'' said Kas KAS Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (German Organization)
Kas Kaserne (German Military: Barracks)
KAS Social Action Cause (Netherlands Antilles)
KAS Kontant Arbetsmarknadsstöd
 Demian, marketing manager and a former cab driver cab·driv·er also cab driver  
n.
One who drives a taxicab for hire.

cab driver ntaxista m/f

cab driver n
 for United Independent Taxi. ``I saw people leaving the line because they got tired of waiting.''

Ed Suter, a cab driver for Rush Cab in Santa Monica Santa Monica (săn`tə mŏn`ĭkə), city (1990 pop. 86,905), Los Angeles co., S Calif., on Santa Monica Bay; inc. 1886. Tourism and retailing are important, and the city has motion-picture, biotechnology, and software industries. , said he has gotten more tickets than ``the average 12 people combined'' and usually waits 45 minutes to an hour.

``It seems to me for all the money they are raking in, they could have more people there to collect it,'' he said. ``It's like working with people at the DMV DMV
abbr.
Department of Motor Vehicles
. They don't worry about moving fast. They move leisurely. In my opinion, people with city, county or state government jobs seem to realize they can do less and still get paid.''

After Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke received complaints about lines at the Compton courthouse, the county supervisors voted in June 1999 to ask the commission to study the issue.

The 90-page report took more than a year to compile and recommends that the courts start a countywide system that uses the Internet, telephone and other methods of payment that don't require people to appear in court. The commission has also recommended that law enforcement agencies A law enforcement agency (LEA) is a term used to describe any agency which enforces the law. This may be a local or state police, federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  avoid ``bunching'' court appearance days on Mondays by offering other days for citations issued on weekends and holidays.

Court officials, who were on holiday Monday, were unavailable to comment.

A survey by the commission found that very few people waiting in court lines were aware of any alternative to appearing in court.

``Unfortunately, we found fault with the courtesy notices people receive in the mail,'' said Neal Millard, chairman of the commission and a Los Angeles attorney. ``They are very difficult to read, very legalistic le·gal·ism  
n.
1. Strict, literal adherence to the law or to a particular code, as of religion or morality.

2. A legal word, expression, or rule.
 sounding and more threatening than helpful.''

In many cases, the long lines lead to hostile behavior, including short tempers, rudeness and verbal abuse verbal abuse Psychology A form of emotional abuse consisting of the use of abusive and demeaning language with a spouse, child, or elder, often by a caregiver or other person in a position of power. See Child abuse, Emotional abuse, Spousal abuse.  of court employees. But some courts have reported physical confrontations with people pushing and shoving.

``This obviously is dangerous and, at the very least, lowers the morale of staff,'' Millard wrote. ``To a small degree, the visitors have some justification for their frustration. The staff, used to long lines, appear to be very indifferent to them and rather deliberately go about their other duties in clear view of the visitors waiting in line.''

Millard described the lines as ``unruly and chaotic'' and often place patrons in crowded, uncomfortable conditions.

``Since they are in lines, in most cases, to pay a fine, they are unhappy to begin with and their level of tolerance for delay and inefficiency is extremely low,'' Millard wrote.

One of the worst situations is at the Glendale courthouse, which has no parking.

``The whole experience of going to the Glendale courthouse is extremely frustrating frus·trate  
tr.v. frus·trat·ed, frus·trat·ing, frus·trates
1.
a. To prevent from accomplishing a purpose or fulfilling a desire; thwart:
,'' Millard said regarding his tour of the courthouse. ``You have to find something on the street, take public transportation or park at the mall.''

Complicating the problem, many of the transaction windows are also used to handle civil and criminal matters, and some are located upstairs in dark, narrow hallways.

``Visitors guilty of nothing more than traffic violations, including mothers who come with their small children, are subjected to the company of a more dangerous segment of society,'' Millard wrote.

The report found the court system is disorganized dis·or·gan·ize  
tr.v. dis·or·gan·ized, dis·or·gan·iz·ing, dis·or·gan·iz·es
To destroy the organization, systematic arrangement, or unity of.
 and lacks a system of allowing people to make alternatives to appearing in court.

One ticket notice the commission reviewed states that people can call a 900 number for a fee to avoid appearing in court, but says the service might not be applicable to all tickets.

``It then goes into threats of what will happen if the recipient fails to pay or bounces a check,'' Millard wrote. ``For good measure, it then says that the recipient better not come to court in shorts, T-tops or bare feet bare feet

symbol of impoverishment. [Folklore: Jobes, 181]

See : Poverty
.''

The Municipal Courts became part of the Superior Court system when the courts unified last year in an effort to streamline the justice system.

Thanks to a more uniform system and improved communication among courts, court unification has helped reduce waits at some courthouses. But Millard said it will take another year before all the courts can accept credit card payments over the telephone or on the Internet.

``Hopefully, unification and this report will help the courts to focus on areas where they can eliminate the necessity to appear in court to pay fines, apply for traffic school and argue cases,'' Millard said.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Date:Feb 13, 2001
Words:890
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