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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Grammar Error As Legal Loophole

The Virginia state statute regarding stopping for a school bus loading and offloading passengers reads as follows (in part):

"A person is guilty of reckless driving who fails to stop, when approaching from any direction, any school bus which is stopped on any highway, private, road, or school driveway...

Do you see the error? Video and link to the article are in the continuation of this post.

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcwashington.com/video.

The article "Grammar Police Take Down Reckless Driving Law" is here.

One has to ask: How many such errors are in the Healthcare Reform Act, aka ObamaCare?


  1. 1) lawyers who cant write logical laws.

    2) A lawyer elected to President who in his own words disagrees with the Constitution.

    3) Lawyers who refuse to obey the laws they wrtie.

    Well then based on the logic of liberals we need to elect more lawyers.

  2. The word "is" is unlawful(incorrect) It must read "may be guilty" or May be found guilty" because the assumption of the law is one is innocent until proven guilty PLUS one is guaranteed a right to a speedy trial by one's peers to determine that guilt. Example, a man walks into a bank, sticks a gun in the tellers face and robs the bank. It is all recorded on video. Is the person guilty? By his actions, yes, buy law NO, not until he is proven guilty by presentation of the evidence and judgment of the court.

    Ain't no English teacher or a lawyer but I can understand what the Constitution says. The Constitution does not cite (innocent until...} explicitly but the presumption of innocence is widely held to follow from the 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments.

    Yea, I know the article said the word AT had to be inserted but someone failed to understand that a person IS not guilty until proven to be so. Reckon someone overlooked that little fact as well.huh!

  3. Not only is the word "at" missing, there is a comma after the word "private"--which should be deleted, as the law implies "private roads". I believe this is all a result of teachers who are more concerned with their "union status" than teaching our children proper English and Grammar.

    How to correct this? Dissolve the Unions, most of which are totally corrupt.

    But, Mr. OPhony could not do that--he would lose the monetary backing of the SEIU, wouldn't he?

    My daily prayer:

    "Please, deliver us of Obama and all of his ilk."

  4. A couple of my very good friends know I hate spelling and grammar errors, so much so that I am often called Mr. Spelling NAZI...

    I hope they're joking... :(

  5. There is the letter of the law and the intent of the law and of the two, the intent is more important. While the law may be grammatically incorrect, the intent of the legislature is clear in that all traffic must stop for a school bus with flashing lights. The offender knew this, his lawyer knew this, and more importantly the district judge knew this. As man is not flawless, so too must the law possess flaws and I know of no legal precedent that requires perfection of the code.

    For that jackass to be let off by the Circuit Court because some idiot thought that it was a good idea to apply the perfection standard, that is too much. Is this what American society has fallen to? I recall a similar assertion about the definition of the word "is" not too long ago and the consequences of that debacle.

    I suppose that the legislature will now have to hire college English professors to review all of the laws for grammatical errors if this ridiculous assertion stands. Good news for professors of English, but bad news for the taxpayer.

  6. For a better understanding of Law and Language published by the Stanford Encylopedia check this link:


    Mr. Stout there are numerous cases where cases were dismissed because the vagueness or the law. That means the law was not PERFECTLY. written. Appellate courts hear thousands of them per year.

    Such incorrectly written or vaguely written laws have worked both ways. Criminals have been set free while innocents have been executed.

  7. Words do matter when they can free you from a one year prison sentence.

  8. These people that make the laws get paid. Huh!

    Every idiot knows to stop for a "school" bus!!!

    Ugh! Just dummy down everyone! :p

  9. I think this person should be GUILTY!


    BTW I was just on 4 trials as a jury pull and all 4 were guilty.

    I got to hand it down every time too. All the lalalala mememe folks were gun shy.

    I can convince liberals. :]

    Oh geese I goofed again... are we talking common sense or words here?

  10. smart but no common sense!


    BTW I am not a smart ass you take that back ;]

  11. The Healthcare Reform Act, i'm sure nancy pelosi knows by now, she has read the bill now that it's been passed right?

  12. Okay, I admit that I didn't see the precise error, though the phrase read strangely-- like something you've translated into English from another language using Babel Fish.

    This is ridiculous. This guy, who clearly DESERVED to be ticketed, got off because of this? Gag.

  13. RP Free Speech said:

    Not only is the word "at" missing, there is a comma after the word "private"--which should be deleted, as the law implies "private roads".


    Isn't that hilarious? The meaning with the comma becomes "...any school bus stopped on any private..."


  14. Common sense tells us what the law meant.

    Of course, here in Northern Virginia, an outpost of the federal government, common sense has little to do with anything.

    The high-dollar lawyers here make their living by literally pointing out the letter of the law -- and most judges accede as far as I know.

  15. Texas Fred said:

    Mr. Spelling NAZI

    I say:

    My students sometimes refer to me as The Grammar Police.

  16. William Stout,
    In Northern Virginia, lawyers and judges come from and run in the same circles -- many of these lawyers and judges being graduated in law from UVA.

    Of course, you are accurate in your statement about the intent of the law. Apparently, that intent can be circumvented.

    I must say that the proofing error should have been caught long before this case ever came to court.

  17. Blogginator,
    I love your comment!

    In fact, I shared the gist of your comment with my composition class yesterday.

  18. Ticker said:

    The word "is" is unlawful(incorrect) It must read "may be guilty" or May be found guilty" because the assumption of the law is one is innocent until proven guilty...

    Good catch!

    I wonder how many other statutes include that same error, an error which does violate our Constitution.

  19. Dcat,
    These people that make the laws get paid.

    And, usually, paid very well. Ugh.

  20. One more point about this stopping for a school bus....Buses have printed on them "Stop. State law." And most buses also have a little stop sign that comes out from the side when the buses stop and the red lights flash.

    I guess that the judge has to go by the written statute, however.

  21. There is not much I respect about this Commonwealth. This just adds more fuel to the fire I have going. This Commonwealth is as dumb as a box of rocks.

  22. What freaking idiots, not only that they screwed this law up but also that they failed to notice & fix it for so long! I hope no innocent kids get hurt as a result of it not being illegal to fail to stop for a school bus when the kids are getting on & off.

  23. noticed the errant comma-

    would not trade 'on' for 'at' though-guess lawyers think differently than I...

  24. At schmat. Shades of the meaning of "is" is. Sophistry most foul.


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