When I worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, I’d sometimes hear colleagues joke about handing over their Justice Department credentials along with their driver’s license if pulled over for a moving violation. It was a joke because it was generally understood that trying to get out of a speeding ticket by flaunting one’s status as law enforcement was a bad idea (setting aside the ethical issues). The police officer might give you a free pass, or he might get ticked off at your attempt to take advantage of your position. You could end up with a scandal on your hands — the kind of scandal that could derail career ambitions.
This is a lesson that Iowa attorney Lisa Jones-Hall learned the hard way. The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports:
A woman on track to become a Linn County prosecutor lost that chance after police pulled her over in Marion last month for having tinted windows. New dash cam video police released today shows Lisa Jones-Hall called the officer names and tried to use her new job to get out of the ticket. The officer asked Jones-Hall to sign a ticket because he said her windows were illegally tinted. But, she initially refused to sign it, called the officer names and then brought up the job she was supposed to start the following week.
“Ok. I want you to arrest me for having tinted windows. I start with the Linn County Prosecutor’s Office next Tuesday. I want you to arrest me for not signing this,” Jones-Hall told the officer.
After hearing about this incident, the Linn County Prosecutor’s Office decided not to hire Jones-Hall.
Ouch. Jones-Hall should have read our earlier post about how lawyers should handle traffic stops (which also involved the offense of overly tinted windows).
The police video is actually quite mortifying — the article doesn’t do it justice….