Skip to comments.Court: Marin man can't use corporate personhood to beat carpool lane ticket
Posted on 01/08/2013 12:42:38 PM PST by Theoria
Corporations may have many of the same rights as people, but those rights do not include riding in the carpool lane in Novato.
That was the message Monday at Marin County Superior Court traffic hearing, where San Rafael activist Jonathan Frieman appeared to contest a $489 carpool fine.
His argument? He was not riding alone in the carpool lane on Highway 101 in October, as alleged by police, because his corporation -- a stack of papers named "JoMiJO Foundation" -- was riding shotgun. Therefore, he was obeying the signs reading, "2 or more persons per vehicle."
His lawyer, Ford Greene cited a section of state vehicle code defining "person" as, "a natural person, firm, copartnership, association, limited liability company, or corporation."
With a hint of amusement, Marin County Traffic Referee Frank Drago said it was a "novel argument." But the goal of the carpool law in question is clear, he said before ruling against Frieman.
"Obviously the goal of the section (of law) is to reduce the volume of cars on the highway," he said.
Frieman and Green, a San Anselmo town councilman, said they would appeal.
"A driver can't be expected to divine the intent of the legislature," Greene said after the hearing. "The driver is entitled to rely on the plain language that's used and 'person' is what's used on the signs along the side of the freeway, and person is what's used in the vehicle code."
In reality, the case has little to do with carpool lanes.
Frieman, co-founder of the Center for Corporate Policy and a local political activist who battled against the opening of a Target store in San Rafael, said the traffic case is about corporate power.
(Excerpt) Read more at mercurynews.com ...
$500 fine for riding in the wrong lane? This country has gone insane.
In my county, there is a $300 fine for late vehicle registration.
In the DC area, not only do you get fined but it is 3 points on your drivers license..... We must get those dangerous HOV violators off the road.. someone will get killed...
It's designed to be a deterrent.
Here's a very rough calculation: the average per capita income in Marin County is ~$90,000, which works out to an hourly wage of ~$40. Assuming that using the HOV lane saves a person ~30 minutes off of their commute, that is worth roughly $20 to that person. If the fine were a more "reasonable" amount, say $100, then it would be worth violating the HOV rules unless the person is caught doing so more than one in five times (which may be unlikely). At $500, it's worth it unless the person is caught more than once in 25 times, which is much more likely.
That judge is an asa for ignoring the language of the law and seeking for it teleology. That sort of blatant disregard for the rule of law is grounds for impeachment. It is what the law says, not what legislators want it to do, which controls.
Anyway, the driver’s argument is stupid. The stack of papers on the seat next to him is not the corporate person he says they represent. That person cannot be in a car. The papers were Merton some papers relating to the business of the corporation. My sister would not be riding shotgun should I put her birth certificate on the passenger seat.
This guy is an anti-capitalist loon, wasting tax dollars and burdening the court system to make a point about corporations being legally treated as persons.