Back on March 8, 2013, Jamie Slater, a motorcyclist and Schenectady resident, appeared in Saratoga Springs City Court for a non-jury trial to plead his case in response to being charged with having a “modified exhaust system on his motorcycle which created excessive noise” in the city of Saratoga last March 22, 2012. Mr. Slater was issued the ticket for having pipes that “altered the sound” of his motorcycle’s engine. Please see http://www.examiner.com/article/a-biker-s-day-court for more detailed information on the case.
The final decision has been delivered to Mr. Slater. The court is satisfied based on the testimony of the police officer--stating that he heard an amplified noise and had probable cause to believe it was a motorcycle--that Mr. Slater’s citation was justified. However, one of the inconsistencies of this case is that Mr. Slater saw the officer first, from three blocks away, and coasted past the officer with his engine idled. This is when he believes the officer first spotted him. During the trial, when questioned further about where he was when he first heard the amplified noise, the officer repeatedly stated, “I don’t recall,” yet he remembers everything he learned three years prior when he attended NYS classes to learn all about after-market and performance parts. Mr. Slater is convinced that the officer was “profiling” motorcycles.
The only lessons learned from this case are that law enforcement will lie to win a case and the judge will allow this because he knows that everyone else who has been issued these tickets would challenge theirs and that revenue would be lost. It was never about the money for Mr. Slater; in fact, it cost him much more to retain the services of an attorney and to bring his case to court. He believed in the justice system. Sadly, that is no longer the case.
This was the wrong decision and the only way to make it right is if everyone who is issued a ticket like this takes it to court. As Mr. Slater says, “Nobody will go to jail for loud pipes. It will cost more for the court to arrange for the necessary court personnel and participants, so go ahead and fight for your rights!”
Respect for the law is waning, as each incidence of motorcycle profiling is documented. Motorcyclists and motorcycle club members deserve more honor and respect than the hypocritical law officers who profile those motorcyclists and practice their own personal law in the courtroom.