Tickets against the dead – in Miami-Dade County, and in Israel
The Israeli Prime Minister, Itshak Rabin, assassinated on Nov. 4, 1995, got a traffic ticket sent to his home, for a violation allegedly committed by him several months after his death. When the story came out, the ticket was immediately cancelled, with the apology of the police, who explained the mistake: the violation was committed by a foreign tourist, whose passport number was the same as Rabin’s ID number.
I’m not sure whether the depth of apology would have been the same if the deceased was a common person, but this is a side issue.
The late sister of Broward County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman also got such a ticket, for a violation allegedly committed by her in Miami Gardens three months after her death, but instead of an apology, however, the deceased’s family (or her estate) have to “fight it in court” the $158 ticket. Since Ms. Lieberman, the surviving sister, is a lawyer, I assume that there is no other option.
As reported by By Brittany Wallman (Sun Sentinel, Oct. 12, 2011) “The car gets the ticket, not the driver”, explained Michael McAllister of American Traffic Solutions (ATS) Inc., which is the owner and operator of the red-light-camera that apprehended the violation.
In Israel “there is no such animal”, as we Israelis say.
First of all, in Israel there is no “civil infraction”, and even the smallest violation of law, any law, is a part of the criminal law (differing to some extent by different procedures), and therefore regarded as a “criminal offense”. Secondly, in the Criminal Procedure Law, there is a mandatory provision, saying that when a person passes away, any criminal proceeding against him will be stopped.
In Israel only a person (including a legal personality) can commit a criminal offense, and a vehicle is not a person. So if a car is caught by an unmanned camera, the ticket is sent to its owner, and if it’s figured out that the owner is not alive, there are two options. If the owner was alive at the time of the violation and then died – there is nothing to do, but to close the file. On the other hand, if the owner was dead in the relevant time, then someone else is the offender, and the police have to decide if the case is worth the effort for them to start an investigation (issuing of 100 other tickets is less expensive, more profitable!).