Edward Adkins is a wanted man for breaking a law that doesn’t exists.
According to Tristal Hallman of Dallas News, A Dallas officer wrote the 46 year old Adkins a ticket for riding a bicycle without a helmet in September 2014. But months earlier, the City Council removed the bicycle helmet ordinance for adults. Adkins didn’t know the law had changed until a reporter told him recently. At the time, he assumed he was indeed guilty. But he said he couldn’t come up with the money for the $10 fine. Now he has a warrant out for his arrest, which he can pay off for $259.30.
“That’s money I do not have,” he said. “I’m barely keeping food in my icebox.”
Adkins makes a living off odd jobs and says he makes about $80 a week. The warrant has left him fearful that he will wind up behind bars again, years after the Navy veteran quit stealing and selling drugs and tried to move on with his life.
One of the main factors in repealing the ordinance was that police officers favored writing tickets in poorer areas, to poor people. A Dallas Morning News analysis of tickets showed then that the helmet law was enforced primarily downtown and in crime hot spots, which tend to be poorer areas. The analysis also showed that police did not write tickets at popular biking spots, such as the Katy Trail and White Rock Lake.
Bobby Abtahi, a lawyer and former city community prosecutor, said he saw too many poor people like Adkins hurt by the city’s municipal courts system.
“My biggest problem with the municipal courts is that on one hand, the city wants to eradicate poverty,” Abtahi said, “but on the other hand they are preventing people from getting driver’s licenses and preventing people from being able to go to work for sometimes bogus reasons like this one.”
Hallman also reports, “Daniel Solis, the administrative judge for the city’s municipal courts, said sometimes officers issue bad citations because they’re not trained properly or simply screw up.”
“The system is not set up to screen that kind of stuff,” he said.
No one should have to suffer because cops decide to write tickets for laws that don’t exist anymore! Now Adkins might end up in jail for breaking a law that didn’t exist and doesn’t exist. Is this really justice?