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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MMA Member Cited in Salem Wins in Court
Last summer, while riding his motorcycle in downtown Salem, Massachusetts Motorcycle Association (MMA) member Mike Hammond of Lynnfield received a moving vehicle citation for loud pipes under Massachusetts General Law (MGL) Section 90, Section 16. This section of the law allows the citing of an individual by a law enforcement officer based solely on the officer's opinion. Some state and local police officers are still using this section of the law to issue tickets to riders for loud pipes despite the fact there is an Appellate Court ruling here in Massachusetts that refers law enforcement to MGL Section 90, Sections 7S, 7T, and 7U, Massachusetts' State Law concerning managing and testing of motor vehicles. Thus the ruling essentially states if the police officer does not test the vehicle for loudness a ticket cannot be issued.
Mike is a very responsible and well informed rider. He strongly subscribes to the MMA's "When In Town Throttle Down" campaign and does not advocate for excessively loud pipes that exceed the decibel levels established in the statues; because of this, he felt the citation was an injustice and appealed his ticket. Mike appeared before the Clerk Magistrate at Salem District Court in February and pleaded his case, which fell on deaf ears and he was found responsible. As is sadly often the situation at this level, the Magistrate incorrectly found he had modified his exhaust, confusing the issue of changing his exhaust with the modification of his exhaust to make it louder. Mike immediately appealed his case to be heard in front of a judge.
Prior to Mike's court date he contacted MMA Chairman Dave Condon and explained his situation. As a member in good standing of the MMA, Mike was immediately offered free legal advice and representation in court by the MMA's General Counsel Paul Lancia, Esq, a benefit offered to all MMA members. After several email exchanges and telephone conversations, it was decided Mike would stick with his original court date, representing himself. Chairman Condon and General Counsel Lancia prepared Mike on the applicable state laws and what to present in court.
Appearing before the Judge, Mike and the citing officer were in court to present their respective cases. The Salem Police officer argued that any modification of exhaust was a violation and ALL aftermarket exhaust systems violate the law. Mike argued that if this was the case, every vehicle leaving a Midas or Meineke muffler would be illegal. Presenting his case like a trained lawyer, Mike questioned the officer, asking if his motorcycle met the standards established by the registrar of motor vehicles since he had a valid inspection sticker; the officer answered yes. He also asked the officer if there was any evidence that he had modified his exhaust by removing any internal parts or screens which would result in amplifying the sound; the officer answered no. Mike then asked the officer if he had tested Mike's motorcycle with a properly calibrated sound meter as required by law. The officer responded by saying, no, he did not test it but "thought" it was louder. Mike presented the Judge with the appropriate statutes under the Massachusetts General Law and Code of Massachusetts Regulations. Since the judge was not familiar with the statues or the Appellate Court ruling, he took the case under advisement. After studying the law, the Judge ruled Mike to be “not responsible” the next day!
Chairman Condon stated, "Mike is to be commended for standing up for his rights and fighting for what he believes in. This was a great example of what a well-informed rider can do to make a difference, even going so far as to educate a judge about the applicable laws!" Upon hearing the results of the verdict, General Counsel Lancia stated, "I'm pleased that the District Court judge in this case properly applied the laws pertaining to motorcycle exhaust systems and noise emissions. MMA member Mike Hammond made a fine presentation of the MMA legal arguments. The law works for motorcyclists, riders, and bikers and as an MMA member it will work for you. My sincerest congratulations to Mike on a job well done!"
For further information please contact MMA Chairman Dave Condon at firstname.lastname@example.org or MMA General Counsel Paul Lancia, Esq at email@example.com. More information is also available at www.massmotorcycle.org.