A legal fight heated up last summer between state marshals and the Hartford Parking Authority. The question was whether the marshals could, by law, park their cars illegally while doing their jobs. That fight wound up in state court and the marshals lost.
George Soucie got a ticket in early 2016. He was parked illegally near a courthouse while doing his work as a state marshal. And, as he saw it, it didn’t matter. State law gave him blanket immunity. So, yes, he was parked illegally. And, no, he thought, he couldn’t be ticketed for it.
It turns out he was wrong. In a recent opinion, Judge Sheila Huddleston wrote that “officers may violate parking laws when it is reasonably necessary -- not merely convenient -- for them to do so.”
She also wrote that, should marshals get a ticket, the law allows them a chance to make their case before an appeal hearing.
But Soucie’s problem was that he couldn’t make that case that he needed to park illegally. On trial, the parking authority said there were at least 15 available public spaces he could have parked in. And Soucie said he parked illegally because he thought it was his right.
“We’re very satisfied with what the court did," said Eric Boone, who runs the Hartford Parking Authority, and who also said he wants to work with the marshals.
“Our desire is and always has been to reach an agreement with them," said Boone. "We’re not looking to cite them. We’re just looking to have them serve their process while still respecting the greater good and the public safety of those who live, work, and visit Hartford.”
Soucie's lawyer says they’re reviewing the decision and their options.