July 06, 2015

Missing Comma Gets This Woman Out Of A Parking Ticket

Never underestimate the power of proper grammar.
From Newsnet5 in Cleveland:
Ohio’s 12th District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of punctuation and sanity, according to reports by The Washington Post.

On June 22, Andrea Cammelleri won her appeal against the Village of West Jefferson, Ohio, which was centered around none other than the comma.
Cammelleri’s case for proper punctuation , which lasted more than a year, all started when she was cited for parking her pickup truck on a street in West Jefferson, Ohio.
Cammelleri parked her car in an area that banned parking “any motor vehicle camper, trailer, farm implemented and/or non-motorized vehicle” for more than 24 hours.
Apparently, the ordinance’s error was the absence of a comma, which would separate motor vehicle and camper as two different objects.
Cammelleri didn’t consider her truck to be any of the prohibited vehicles listed in the ordinance, and argued in court that “the ordinance did not apply because the language prohibits a motor vehicle camper from being parked on the street for an extended period of time.”
Judge Robert A. Hendrickson of the Middletown court ultimately decided in favor of the punctuation-conscious appellant, as outlined in his decision.

“By utilizing rules of grammar and employing the common meaning of terms, ‘motor vehicle camper’ has a clear definition that does not produce an absurd result,” the decision said. “If the village desires a different reading, it should amend the ordinance and insert a comma between the phrase ‘motor vehicle’ and the word ‘camper.'”
Read more about the story here.
What do you think of this? Is this a case where knowledge of proper grammar finally came in handy? Or did this woman get away with breaking the law on a technicality?

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