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JulieHowe
04-03-2009, 07:33 AM
My research is coming up with wildly different answers. The timeline is 1974 San Francisco, but information on the current laws and procedures would also be helpful.

If an SFPD officer writes a jaywalking ticket, what are the factors that determine whether the scofflaw is arrested or merely cited and released?

Can an unpaid jaywalking ticket in SF turn into an arrestable offense, as an outstanding warrant?

What about parking tickets and quality-of-life citations (such as peeing on the sidewalk, loitering, etc.)?

Thank you in advance. :)

frimble3
04-05-2009, 07:14 AM
As no-one who knows anything about the SFPD or law in the '70's has shown up, may I suggest, from a position of total ignorance about either subject, that a jaywalking ticket would probably only be an arrestable offence if the SFPD wanted the jaywalker arrested and couldn't get him on anything else.
I suspect that an officer would only clog up the jail with jaywalkers if he was a) brand-new on the job, b) wanting to be mocked by his fellow officers or c) was to be a nit-pickin' jerk.
I would think the same would apply to all 'quality of life' citations. Unless the police are looking for an excuse to lock you up, or you act like a total idiot to the officer, it would be a warning, or a ticket and sent on your way.
Doubtless someone will be along soon to say what the real story is.

JulieHowe
04-05-2009, 08:31 AM
Thanks. Since this is currently the way things are done in SF, I've decided to use it in my story. In my WIP, the cops are looking for any reason to arrest this woman, because her husband was the defense attorney in a high profile cop-killer case, and the killer was set free. After the criminal trial is over, the attorney files a civil lawsuit against the police department, and that's when someone high up in the police department decides to take matters into their own hands.

RJK
04-05-2009, 04:19 PM
You're implying the cops are crooked. Jury found reason to determine killer is not guilty, lawyer sues city, cops harrass lawyer's family. Why stop at harrassment. Take action, lock her up on a phony charge. Put her in with some tough women and let them rough her up.

WriteKnight
04-05-2009, 05:10 PM
Any plausible excuse to stop the woman is good enough to start the confrontation. If the woman 'resists' the officer - then he can arrest her for resisting. In the 70's the chance of any of this being 'caught on tape' was next to nil.

JulieHowe
04-05-2009, 09:52 PM
You're implying the cops are crooked. Jury found reason to determine killer is not guilty, lawyer sues city, cops harrass lawyer's family. Why stop at harrassment. Take action, lock her up on a phony charge. Put her in with some tough women and let them rough her up.

That is exactly what happens after my MC and the wife of the second defense attorney in the case are arrested. The false arrest is just the start. (Except for the part about the other women roughing her up. Women's jails are unpleasant but there's more woman-on-woman inmate violence in Hollywood prison movies than there ever is in real life. Men's jails and prisons tend to be genuinely dangerous and violent places.)

Also, I feel that it's important to note that I'm a supporter of police and law enforcement, and in my WIP, both sides are shown, including the dead police officer's widow and young children, who are left with almost nothing, while all of the victims of police brutality are cashing in their million-dollar settlement checks.

RJK
04-05-2009, 10:07 PM
There's a difference between a cop who loses control and gives a guy a few extra whacks and kicks than are needed to take him into custody, and a corrupt police department, where officers and supervisors actively pursue people to victimize them.

The Lonely One
04-05-2009, 11:16 PM
From family members I've heard the jay-walking laws are notoriously strict there. I don't know about being arrested but the fines are hefty, or so I hear.

I wonder as to the specifics of the story how hard it will be to maintain a suspension of disbelief. i.e. will people believe an entire police department or even a significant sect is bending the rules to arrest this woman? It's possible and similar things surely have happened throughout history--during the civil rights era the cops got away with a lot because the majority ignored their actions against the minority. But is this particular instance worth it for the backlash they face? Media scrutiny? As a journalist I'd be all over the cops for arresting the wife of an acquitted killer for jaywalking. First, she'd be in the county lock-up for what, a night? And so what if she wastes the court system's time, what kind of minuscule sentence will she work out with state attorneys for a guilty plea? Doesn't seem worth the repercussions, but perhaps I don't know enough about the story to give an accurate answer.