VIDEO: San Jose residents wrongly fined for illegal fireworks get citations dismissed

 

SAN JOSE (KRON) — Chalk one up for those who believe you can fight City Hall, as some San Jose residents who were fighting citations for illegal fireworks are declaring victory.

In a neighborhood off Monterey Road, people will tell you there were a lot of illegal fireworks to be seen on the night the Golden State Warriors won the title and again over the Fourth of July holiday.

But the handful of people who got blamed for it was facing a $500 fine. Now, they are off the hook.

Cited for shooting off illegal fireworks, Amy Guzules and 44 other San Jose residents will soon be receiving another letter from City Hall stating that those citations are being dismissed.

 

“It feels great,” Guzules said. “It takes a lot of pressure off. We were coming up on the deadline to pay.”

Guzules and two of her neighbors got $500 citations last month based on complaints submitted through the city’s pilot online fireworks reporting tool, which they believe is unfair.

“What’s unfair is that the city assumed we were guilty based on evidence that was really no evidence,” Guzules said. “The reporting parties didn’t have to provide video or photos.”

Upset that she would have to pay the fine before being allowed to contest it, Guzules threatened legal action.

Now, citing its commitment to fairness in enforcing its municipal code, the city announced that in reviewing the process for issuing the citations, the criteria had not been evenly applied to all who received them

“Anytime you are being innovative and are trying something new, sometimes you find out you have to make adjustments and that’s what we are going to do,” Guzules said.

Committed to cracking down on illegal fireworks, the city plans to forge ahead with its online reporting tool amid some changes in the reporting and verification protocols.

Guzules is all for that as long as they can prove who did what.

“If I get a parking ticket, it’s because somebody in a uniform saw my car illegally parked, not some random person calling in to say they saw some lights above my house….That’s how I got the citation,” Guzules said.

The citations are being dismissed, but in a move that signals the city believes some of the people who got them are guilty, all will be receiving warning letters.

And those who already paid the fine will get their money back.

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