Man sues judge after being jailed over parking fine

September 02, 1993|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

A Carroll Circuit Court hearing is set for Sept. 20 to consider dismissal of a lawsuit filed against a Carroll district judge and the State of Maryland by a man jailed overnight for being $8.50 short of the fine and court costs on a parking ticket.

Gary C. Cronin, a 28-year-old Manchester man jailed overnight in August 1992, filed the $500,000 negligence and false imprisonment lawsuit in June.

The lawsuit contends Mr. Cronin "was subjected to the extreme humiliation of being photographed, fingerprinted, searched, re-searched and strip-searched" because District Judge Donald M. Smith decided to put him in jail rather than give him eight more days to pay the debt to the court.

On Aug. 6, 1992, Mr. Cronin pleaded guilty to an April 24 parking violation, which occurred in front of his house on Main Street in Manchester.

He said he took $16.50 to court that day after being told by a Manchester employee that the maximum he would have to pay was $10.

Judge Smith fined him $10 and imposed $15 in court costs, leaving Mr. Cronin $8.50 short. The judge sent him to jail instead of granting an extension.

In their motion to dismiss the suit, attorneys representing the judge and the state say Judge Smith acted properly in imposing the one-night jail sentence.

Mr. Cronin argues that he should not have been jailed because he did have enough money to pay the $10 parking fine.

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