Fighting federal Parking Tickets

This post was written by marc on August 17, 2003
Posted Under: Law

I’m already tired of San Francisco parking tickets but this one is clearly a parking trap. I went in to appear to protest this and handed them this picture. Do you see a no parking sign? Of course you don’t That’s because the sign is turned more than 90 degrees away from you. And – there are no lines on the street indicating that parking is prohibited.

The area in question is on the road just past the entrance to Baker Beach. It’s on a hill and the road curves to the right making the sign even less visible. I believe that the Park Service is deliberately concealing these signs for the purpose of ripping off people for parking ticket revenue. I want to try to make the government accountable and comply with the law the way we citizens have to.

Here is my letter to the judge.


The Honorable Magistrate Judge Bernard Zimmerman
U.S. District Court
450 Golden Gate Ave.
San Francisco CA. 94102

In Re: Violation Number P241626-CN22 Improper Parking

Dear Mr. Zimmerman,

I am writing you in regards to the above named complaint in relation to inadequacy of process. I am attaching my “Notice of Trial”. This notice is improper in that it fails to comply with the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedures Rule 7©(1) which states:

“(1) In General. The indictment or information must be a plain, concise and definite written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged and must be signed by an attorney for the government. It need not contain a formal introduction or conclusion. A count may incorporate by reference an allegation made in another count. A count may allege that the means by which the defendant committed the offense are unknown or that the defendant committed it by one or more specified means. For each count, the indictment or information must give the official or customary citation of the statute, rule, regulation or other provision of law that the defendant is alleged to have violated.”

The attached “Notice of Trial” is lacking in that it fails to state the essential facts constituting the offense charged, it is not signed by an attorney for the government – in fact – it is not signed at all, it lacks a citation of the statute, rule, or regulation that I have alleged to have violated. I believe it is also customary that the complaint state the maximum penalty for the offence. Furthermore – it lacks a certificate of service identifying the name and address of the government attorney who is bringing this charge.

Additionally the notice states that the government might be represented by a “law clerk”. I would point out that generally law clerks are not attorneys and that a non-attorney cannot bring an action in behalf of another party – let alone purport to represent the United States of America in a criminal case. If the government doesn’t appear with proper representation, I will move to dismiss because the Government failed to appear.

Additionally – I need time for discovery. I want time for interrogatories, requests for admissions, issuing of subpoenas, and possibly depositions. Issues I want to discover relate to the standards regarding the posting of “no parking” signs. In this case my defense is based on the assertion that the signs are at an angle perpendicular to traffic and are not visible from the location where I parked. Furthermore – I need to discover why the complainant failed to paint the street with white diagonal lines as required by law in the area for which parking is prohibited. And – I have not even been given the opportunity to file an answer to the complaint – if you can call this “Notice of Trial” to be a complaint.

As I understand it – there is a possibility of a 5-day jail sentence and I am therefore entitled to due process greater than that for petty infractions.

I also need time to investigate if it is allowed for me to ask this court for an injunction against the complainant to force them to comply with the law and to order them to turn the “no parking” signs 90 degrees so that they are not facing away from traffic, and that the complainant be ordered to comply with the law and paint the street in the manner required by law to indicate that parking is prohibited.

Your honor – I normally wouldn’t raise this kind of issue over a mere $35 ticket but I believe it is really wrong for there to be a no parking zone in which it appears that the government is deliberately concealing that this is a no parking zone for the purpose of raising revenue from unjust parking tickets. I feel it is my duty as a citizen to make the court aware of these issues.

I therefore submit these requests as a motion before this court and ask that:

1) The court send a copy of this document to opposing counsel since opposing counsel has failed to identify themselves.

2) That the court dismiss this cause of action against me for insufficiency of process or in the alternative order the government to comply with the law and file it’s pleadings properly.

3) Issue an injunction ordering the complainant to comply with the law regarding the visibility of signs and the proper painting of the roadway.


Marc Perkel
Dated: 08-18-2003

Reader Comments

Why is this a Federal Parking ticket?
Was this in a National Park?

Written By Dina Netra on August 17th, 2003 @ 3:31 pm

Yes – it was in a national park and was federal. First I ever heard of a “Federal Parking Ticket”. I wonder about using the 10th amendment as a defense.

Written By Marc Perkel on August 17th, 2003 @ 7:15 pm

Marc, I know this is off-topic, and I hate to do that, but in a way it’s related since it has to do with revenue collecting. There are a myriad of scams, legal ones, out there to collect money. Tickets, divorce court (yes, I write from experience), and the income tax. I found an article, and I don’t know how much of it is accurate, but if it is it has to be the granddaddy of all legal scams. Check out
BTW, I am in no way even suggesting that anyone take on the IRS unless you have a great deal of disposable income, or you’re a large corporation, in which case it’s a given.

Written By migs on August 24th, 2003 @ 6:11 am

I am interested in the final disposition of your federal parking ticket,,,since I just received one the other day while unloading passengers in a no parking zone of a federal building. Is it worth the battle for the $50 fine or am I wasting my time? How was your’s finally resolved?


Written By Stu Kaplan on June 19th, 2004 @ 9:48 pm

Hi Marc,
I I’m a international student, I just got a parking ticket (street cleaning), the sign was covered with a black plastic bag. My qusetion is: I want to contest the ticket, how do I write/start the letter. And what are the things should be included.


Written By Gary on October 31st, 2005 @ 9:26 pm

I received a federal parking ticket the other day at my job in Maryland. They don’t have parking signs posted correctly nor is the curb painted yellow. They even towed a few cars off the street. I plan to fight my ticket and will use your letter as my inspiration. Thank you for posting.

Written By Crystal on March 2nd, 2007 @ 11:26 am

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