Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) blasted the Palisades traffic court Thursday after it dragged Chaveirim volunteer David Konnhauser to multiple hearings and rescinded a dismissal of a ticket he received for operating an “unauthorized service vehicle” while helping a member of Hatzolah change a flat tire at a rest stop.
Assemblyman Hikind joined Konnhauser in court to fight the violation Nov. 3 and last evening, in which the police officer didn’t make an appearance. While the original “unauthorized service vehicle” violation was dismissed, the Chaveirim volunteer was fined $50 for parking illegally.
“In the state of New York, if an officer doesn’t appear in court, the case is dismissed; Period,” Assemblyman Hikind said with disgust following last night’s hearing. “It’s bad enough the court decides to penalize someone for being a good Samaritan and helping another in need, but then to drag him out to court multiple times and rescind the prosecutor’s recommendation to dismiss the ticket is the epitome of disrespect.”
Hikind added: “The Chaveirim volunteer wasn’t even operating out of a service vehicle in the first place. So whether it’s considered an unauthorized or authorized vehicle is irrelevant. He was helping another good Samaritan change a flat tire.”
Konnhauser, who resides in Brooklyn, appeared in the Alpine, N.J. court four times dating back to mid-September, in which he continued to plead not guilty for the violation. The Palisades Interstate Parkway Commission offered Konnhauser a plea deal of $50, but he refused to pay based on principle. A hearing was then scheduled for Nov. 3.
With Assemblyman Hikind appearing at the hearing on Nov. 3, the prosecutor recommended to dismiss the ticket altogether. However prior to the judge approving this recommendation, the police officer informed the court of his desire to go to trial, thereby nullifying this agreement.
Another hearing was slated for last evening, in which Assemblyman Hikind appeared once again with Konnhauser and once again, the police officer failed to appear in court. Rather than schedule another hearing, Judge Marc Raso decided to dismiss the “unauthorized service vehicle” violation and, instead, issue a ticket for illegally parking.
Hikind, disgusted at the series of events in traffic court, is calling on the Bergen County presiding judge to conduct an immediate investigation into the behavior of the court.
“Something is not Kosher on the Palisades Interstate Parkway,” Hikind said. “This cannot be allowed to continue at the expense of the general public. Good Samaritans should never be victimized for their volunteerism.
Added Hikind: “It’s unfortunate that members of Hatzolah, who receive frequent dispatch calls, are being told by the Palisades court that they should wait for an authorized service to change a tire rather than save a life.”