By Joseph Manago
The MTA Transit Adjudication Bureau is an administrative hearing arm of the MTA which processes disputes and appeals of a Notice of Violation issued to an individual by an NYPD police officer or New York City Transit Inspector for an alleged violation of the New York City Transit Rules of Conduct.
These hearing officers are not independent judges of either the civil or criminal courts, but rather are employees of the MTA, a “public authority” with an inherent conflict of interest to uphold and impose the fine for the violation as revenue generation for the MTA. The records indicate that the majority of violations are upheld (and appeals denied) without fine reductions.
To appeal the final determination of the hearing officer, again by employees of the MTA constituting an Appeals Board of three hearing officers, the respondent is “ordinarily required to pay the fine when filing your appeal,” since TAB claims that “the amount of the fine will be returned to you in the event that the appeal results in a determination that the violation should not be upheld.”
Now, this requirement of guilty until proven innocent, rather than innocent until proven guilty, in order to have the right of appeal is unconstitutional since no person may “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” according to the Constitution.
Essentially, the TAB is denying due process to the right of appeal unless the deprivation of one’s personal property (payment of the disputed fine) transpires as a “condition of an appeal.” This is absolutely illegal under our American and English systems of constitutional and common law, and should not be complied with by any respondents, since it constitutes extortion by a “public authority” agency, which is of no legitimate branch of government.
In the present climate, until this “condition of appeal” is rescinded by the TAB or judicially (or legislatively) voided by the State of New York, the only sane option for respondents is to not pay any “upheld” violations by a TAB hearing officer, who is not an authorized judge of the New York State Unified Court System, but a non-judicial employee of TAB.
TAB (as with the common man) needs to sue in a court of law to get a judgment. If you pay, it is voluntary on your part (and TAB knows this).
The only point at which one needs to respond is to a service of a notice of judgment entered by TAB in the New York City Civil Court, at which point one may enter a motion to vacate the judgment on grounds of no judicial constitutional authority of the TAB/MTA.
Unless ordered by a judge of a court, one is not legally required to pay any extortionist, individual or corporate. We have a Constitution and courts for a reason. I am calling for an investigation of TAB railroading practices toward reform or abolition of this bureau which extorted $8 million in fines during 2013. And who pockets these fines? The MTA bureaucrats who never ride this unsafe, filthy and smelly subway system? Same smell and grime on most platforms since my first ride around 1963.