Use the crosswalk… Or else…

Most of the time, I find myself ranting about the flaws in our legal system, but today we have a unfortunate example of a man who appears to have a rather poor grasp of the basics, and subsequently cause himself a little more grief than neccesary:

Leroy Franklin Cladd Jr. was cited for not using a crosswalk late Thursday night. He balked at signing the ticket, a misdemeanor that landed him in jail. He was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time, police said. – [Yahoo/AP]

OK. To be fair, I can see where this guy erred. Honestly, why would they throw you in jail for jaywalking? But that’s the problem. They didn’t throw him in jail for jaywalking. They threw him in jail for refusing to answer to the charge of jaywalking. Big difference.

In case you don’t see the difference, let me spell it out for you. Jaywalking. No big deal. But if, perchance, you get caught by a bored officer with nothing better to do, you get a citation. The citation is merely a charge, an accusation of an infraction. Your signature on a citation is not an admission of guilt or innocence, it is simply a way of legally ensuring that you will show up, to either challenge the accusation, or admit guilt and make restitution.

If you don’t sign, you are not legally bound to voluntarily answer to the charge at a later date, so the only way to ensure that this happens is to arrest you on the spot, throw you in jail, and bring you before the next available judge. It’s that simple. It may seem a little harsh for a crime as piddling as jaywalking, but there you have it. The law ain’t perfect.

Seriously, the man should have just signed the doggone citation. At least that way, he might have had a few drinks at the bar before they came and arrested him for not showing up in court…

Fla. man jailed for jaywalking – [Yahoo/AP]


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