Two of my employees had to go to court today for citations that were issued almost two months ago. The most ironic part about these citations is that they were originally written over a month ago incorrectly. My employees already went to court for these citations but the judge threw them out because the Detective had written the wrong county violation codes on the tickets. …not to mention Prince George’s County was also spelled incorrectly on the citations. Luckily for the Detective she is not fined for her clerical errors, she simply re-writes and re-issues them.
Three of the citations were for missing signatures and one was for a missing serial number. Every transaction report needs to be signed by both the person selling/pawning the item and the employee. While I do think missing a signature should be an easy thing to catch I also don’t believe it should be a fine-able offense considering taking my employees to court and fining them $25 does nothing to help get crime off the street or protect public safety. A detective has to actually show up to court for hours – two detectives were there today. Can we say wasting tax payer dollars??? When the transaction report was found with the missing signatures the detective could have simply asked the employee to sign it. As for the missing serial number – it was for a Rolex watch. The serial number is under where the band attaches to the watch. The bands have to be removed to get to the signature. Again, there is no excuse but this is something easily fixable. These are all clerical errors easily remedied without the need for court. They were only uncovered after the Detective spent many hours in my store going through transaction after transaction. Again, taxpayers dollars hard at work. I am quite sure the half dozen stores around mine taking illegal items off the street could have been all shut down in the amount of time they have spent trying to find clerical errors in my store.
We ended up getting all of the cases thrown out of court but not for the reasons we were expecting. When the detective finds one of these clerical errors she makes a copy of the citation then brings the copy to court as evidence. Apparently copies of business records are not legally allowed to be used as evidence therefore they had no evidence of any wrong doing.
I know it sounds silly to fight these $25 citations but soon they will be $1100 citations. It is obvious they are desperately searching for ways to shut us down. I spent then last two years being the ‘nice guy’ as they past new legislation and spent more and more time in my store investigating us. Doing nothing and being the nice guy got me no where. These are battles I really do not wish to fight but doing nothing has just allowed them to do more.