Marion Barry owed over $2,800 for overdue tickets, but paid $1,779 and had $1,045 dismissed by a ticket adjudicator.
This post has been updated
D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) has his car back, in part because of the generosity of a ticket adjudicator and sympathetic impound lot owner.
Gabriel Robinson, associate director of the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that Barry paid $1,779 of the $2,824 worth of fines for various driving and parking tickets he had accrued since 2012, and a ticket adjudicator dismissed the remaining $1,045 in fines.
Additionally, The Washington Post reported that a sympathetic impound lot owner released the car to Barry today free of charge, saying he was a fan of the former mayor.
Barry told WUSA 9's Bruce Johnson that his car would be registered by the end of business on Tuesday. Barry's office did not respond to calls and emails for comment from WAMU 88.5
The 21 outstanding tickets for offenses ranging from speeding to failure to register his car came to light after Barry was involved in a fender-bender on Saturday night on Pennsylvania Avenue SE. Barry, who is diabetic, suffered a hypoglycemic attack, causing him to swerve into the opposing lane of traffic.
According to the DMV, on Tuesday a ticket adjudicator dropped the total due from $2,824 to $1,779 by cutting multiple fines Barry received for failing to register his car, from $205 to $65 per ticket. Barry had been ticketed eight times since August 2013 for failing to display proper registration credentials; each ticket carries a $100 fine, which doubles after 30 days. (See all the fines and how they changed over the day here.)
In an email late Tuesday night, DMV director Lucinda Babers said that Barry has used the mail-in adjudication process, and that "hearing examiners have discretion to reduce fine amounts." But according to the DMV's website, a driver cannot contest a parking or photo enforcement ticket after 60 days. Of the tickets that saw their fines reduced, only one was less than 60 days old; others dated back to 2013 or earlier this year.
According to the DMV, of the 1.7 million parking tickets issued in 2013, there were 156,000 requests for adjudication. For the 644,000 photo enforcement tickets that year, there were 76,000 requests for adjudication.
As for the car's impoundment, the D.C. Department of Public Works, which impounds cars for unpaid tickets, said the owner of the lot could release the car for free because it was being held in the wake of the accident, not because of Barry's unpaid tickets. A car held due to unpaid tickets can rack up $20 daily impound fees, and be auctioned off or scrapped after 28 days.
Had Barry been caught by a police officer instead of a traffic camera for his five speeding offenses, he would have accrued enough points to have his license suspended.
Update, 8/6, 10 a.m.: Vanessa Newton, the spokeswoman for the DMV, responded to additional questions posed by WAMU 88.5 on Barry's tickets. "Barry submitted tickets for adjudication a few weeks ago, and then, yesterday, submitted additional documentation for reconsideration as a follow-up to the adjudication process. This process is not unusual since customers constantly submit older tickets to us for adjudication consideration," she writes in an email. She says that as of Tuesday, Barry's car had not been registered.
Update, 8/6, 11:10 a.m.: In response to more questions from WAMU 88.5, Newton writes that the fines were reduced for Barry because he "provided the hearing examiner with a copy of his vehicle registration receipt for reconsideration showing the vehicle was validly registered in 2013, but the registration sticker was not received." Newton also says that Barry's registration was renewed on Wednesday morning.
Barry Tickets by Martin Austermuhle