It’s All About the Benjamins

By February 2, 2016Crime Scene

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Was Puff Daddy singing about small towns in Utah and the speeding tickets they write? I attended BYU in the late-1970s and drove through a lot of small towns along I-15 to get home for the holidays and back for school. Those towns funded more than one Policeman’s Ball with the tickets they wrote me. Okay, in all fairness, I was speeding back then but rarely more than 63 in a Nixon-imposed and Carter-sanctioned 55 zone (the same stretch of road is now, oddly, good enough to allow an 80 mph limit).

Now a Utah legislator, Republican Senator Lyle Hillyard of Logan, wants to put the brakes on local officers’ penmanship. His bill, SB100, would cap the amount of fines a town can generate at 25% of their annual budget. Read more about it here.

Why is this an issue? The town of Mantua (prounounced “MAN-too-ay”) provides an excellent example. It is one of the smallest of small Utah towns (pop. 750 on a good day) but is strategically located astride a small stretch of US Hwy 89 between Brigham City and Logan. In 2014, the town cops (one full-time; three part-time) wrote 2,185 tickets and brought in more than $221,000 in speeding fines accounting for more than a third of the town’s annual revenue. As a matter of comparison, the town of Willard has three times as much highway to patrol but writes less than a third of the tickets. Also interesting is that Mantua’s mighty quartet of peacekeepers made only a few dozen arrests unrelated to speeding in 2014.

Congratulations to Sen. Hillyard. Utah drivers should not be viewed as sheep waiting to be fleeced.

About Robert Avery

Rob is a graduate of the J. Reuben Clark law school at Brigham Young University and practices primarily in criminal defense, general litigation, and general business representation. Rob is a founding partner of the Pacific Legal Group. He is also an adjunct professor at the J. Reuben Clark Law School and an accomplished writer. Rob is married and has four children and three grandchildren.