Dr. M. N. Tarazi

The Plea Bargain!

My first encounter with the American Legal System

Dr. Mouhamed N. Tarazi

February 2013

 When I first came to America, I was so excited to be coming to a place known for justice. Unfortunately many countries, including the one I migrated from, Syria, were not known for the honesty of their court systems and for an average person to get justice was often very difficult and expensive.  But here in the States, my new home, I would not have to worry about corruption and lying in the courts.  Here people said you could be honest and the system was fair.  I lived here for several years comfortably, before I had an occasion to experience the justice system for myself. 
One day, in late afternoon, on January 4, 1994, I was driving about 20 mile per hour south down Olentangy River Road, normally a 45 mph zone. It was snowing heavily. The visibility was reduced to about 20 feet. The roads were covered with snow so thick you couldn’t see the pavement. When I was about to enter the intersection of Olentangy and Ackerman, the traffic lights became yellow. There was no way to break and stop before the lights because of the slippery snow on the ground. So it was a judgment call. Fearing to slip and keeping my eye on the few cars around, I proceeded with caution and turned east onto W. Dodridge.  
A few seconds later, I barely noticed a police car’s light bars flashing behind me. I did not know where the car came from; certainly it was not behind me on Olentangy. I knew later that it came from Ackerman. I thought it was flashing for someone else, but then he put on the siren and over the loud speakers ordered me to pull over....Read More