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The Bandits of Bernice, Oklahoma: Speed Trap Gangsters Refuse to Refund Illegal Ticket Revenue

May 20, 2012
William Grigg, Republic Magazine

Bernice, Oklahoma has a population of about 500 people. Unfortunately, some of them have given themselves the title of “government,” thereby claiming permission to steal from the others – and from anyone who happens to wander into their area of influence.

Bernice is bisected by Highway 85A. Although the town doesn’t have a stoplight, the speed limit suddenly drops from 55 to 45 miles per hour — which means it has become one of the country’s most notorious speed traps.

Oklahoma State law limits speeding tickets to $50 – unless a municipality follows a detailed and confusing set of rules concerning the publication of traffic ordinances. Since 1977, Bernice’s municipal government has not published its ordinances as required by state law. It has also charged as much as $545 for an individual ticket.

An audit by the state government documented that over the past five years, it collected more than $300,000 in ticket revenue, kicking back about $5500 a month to deputies from the nearby Delaware County Sheriff’s Office who were contracted to write the citations.

And now… the rest of the story. …..

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