Man who beat bogus ticket takes Vt. town to court - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Man who beat bogus ticket takes Vt. town to court

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Rod MacIver's day in court fighting the law will have to wait.

"I'm sorry, I was looking forward to this," Chittenden Superior Court Acting Judge Samuel Hoar said.

Friday, Hoar agreed to postpone the hearing because the defendants-- two representatives from the Shelburne Police Department and a town administrator-- didn't show up.

Hoar says the case raises interesting and substantial issues. MacIver's suit seeks $2,000 in damages for the time and costs incurred by the 56-year-old North Ferrisburgh resident fighting a red light violation from last December.

MacIver says he didn't go through a red light. He's heard on the dash-cam saying to the officer, "I think you're completely out to lunch. What have you been smoking pot or something?"

And the dash-cam video proves MacIver's story. But the department and town wouldn't admit it, despite his complaint and the evidence.

"Their default was dishonesty in every encounter," MacIver said.

Just before a March traffic court challenge, Officer Jason Lawton offered to dismiss the charge. When MacIver refused, the officer still testified that MacIver ran the light that night. The judge threw out the violation and chastised the officer.

"Couple of times I decided that I was just going to drop the whole thing and not pursue it in small claims court, but I read the officer's testimony and I just said I'm not going to let this stand," MacIver said.

Colin McNeil represents Shelburne and said the officers didn't show because the burden of proof is on the plaintiff.

We found the officer, sergeant and administrator in a coffee shop across the street, where they say their attorney told them to wait. They admit promising MacIver they would attend the hearing prior to hiring an attorney.

Reporter Kyle Midura: When the judge said, 'I'd like to hear from them,' why not say they can come right up?

Colin McNeil: He had already granted the motion to continue.

The same motion to continue McNeil objected to earlier in the proceeding because he felt ready to defend the town without them.

The judge says it would be a mistake for the defendants to be no-shows again at the next hearing.

MacIver admits he's been involved with his fair share of small claims court battles. He estimates engaging in about 15 actions over the last 32 years, but says only two-- including this case-- have been personal matters.

A date for the next hearing has not been set.

Click here to see the full video of the traffic stop on MacIver's website.

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