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04-03-09, 03:29 PM #1
Ticket Issued by Houston (AK) Mayor Dismissed
Anchorage Daily News-PALMER - Big Lake resident Ron Johnson skated on a ticket for passing in a no-passing zone Thursday, but he left the Palmer Courthouse a little deflated.
Johnson, a 71-year-old heavy equipment operator, planned to argue that he was pulled over by someone impersonating a police officer - Houston Mayor Roger Purcell.
But neither Purcell nor the ticket-writer, Houston Police Sergeant Charlie Seidl, showed up for court, so Johnson walked. As did four others contesting Houston-issued traffic tickets.
"Everybody's going to be disappointed. I had four people contact me about paying my legal fees," Johnson said. "I might put new fliers up, saying 'Purcell's a big chicken.'"
"It's nothing about being chicken," said Purcell, reached by cell phone later. "I just didn't know."
Purcell and Seidl said the city never received a notice from the court about the hearings.
Seidl shrugged it off. "It happens from time to time, I guess," he said.
Purcell was less blase. "I was expecting to be there. He broke the law and now he got away with it," he said of Johnson.
Purcell pulled Johnson over in January when Johnson was driving home from Wasilla. According to Purcell, Johnson passed Purcell in a no-passing zone near Wasilla.
Purcell followed Johnson and when he turned onto Big Lake Road, Purcell turned on flashing lights that he had affixed to the front of his grill and pulled him over. Purcell detained him until Houston Police Sergeant Charlie Seidl arrived a few minutes later. Seidl wrote a $160 ticket for passing in a no-passing zone.
Johnson contends the traffic lines painted on the roadway were changed last fall while he was out of state, and were obscured by snow the day he was stopped. He was contesting the charge, but hoped Purcell would also be admonished for acting as a peace officer.
Purcell, a former police officer, said Houston city code and state law allows him to act as a peace officer. He said doesn't plan to don a uniform and go on patrol, but if he sees something unsafe happening, he might exercise that right again.
"The mayor ... has the ability to keep the peace," Purcell said.
Department of Public Safety deputy commissioner John Glass said the state Department of Law notified the city by letter that Purcell could put the city at legal risk by acting like a cop. Glass said as long as Purcell doesn't pull anyone else over, he'll consider the issue resolved.RIP Sarah Noll~11-8-87 to 4-17-08
04-03-09, 03:49 PM #2Purcell, a former police officer, said Houston city code and state law allows him to act as a peace officer.
Department of Public Safety deputy commissioner John Glass said the state Department of Law notified the city by letter that Purcell could put the city at legal risk by acting like a cop.Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me
We are who we choose to be.
R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012
04-03-09, 04:50 PM #3
The power of the Chief law enforcement officer commonly resides with the mayor in western United States.
In counties, it is usually the Sheriff, but in cities the Mayor holds the power and designates the Chief to do the work.
Not uncommon, and not illegal. Stupid, but not illegal.I'm your huckleberry...
Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentus telum est!
You can be the weapon, and the gun in your hand is a tool - or the gun is a weapon and you are the tool.
I was looking for a saint who was a devil of a lover,
but every girl I found was either one way or the other...
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