Judge dismisses a day’s worth of traffic tickets

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DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - Court costs, fines and voluntary driving school: getting a speeding ticket is usually costly, but the dozens who came to court in Dinwiddie Thursday, to their surprise, walked away without paying a dime.

"I got a ticket but it didn't get dismissed,” said April Wolfe who said she felt slighted.  "I'm unlucky I guess."

At Dinwiddie General District Court Thursday she watched dozens of cases like hers, get dismissed.

"He was dismissing tickets because he said people got them on the wrong day," Wolfe said.

Traffic ticket holders say Judge Mayo Gravatt was handing out free pass after free pass.

Sources tell CBS 6 the judge was upset that a memo the clerk’s office had sent to law enforcement about not scheduling any more traffic court cases on November 29th's docket seemed to fall on deaf ears.

According to people waiting to find out their fate, the judge stated in court he was dismissing tickets if they were written on or after October 18th.

"He was being fair but dismissing a lot of tickets," said Terence Tyler.

“I'll admit I've never seen anything like it before,” said CBS 6 legal expert Todd Stone.  He said Judge Gravatt technically didn't do anything wrong.  "A judge in lower court has discretion and once it's dismissed, it can't be brought back up," he said.

But what happens to the drivers who pre-paid?  Will they get a refund?  Some legal experts say it's worth a try, but not likely.

With the dismissed cases, the county has lost thousands of dollars in court costs and fines.  Some drivers said they could see the patrol officers were visibly upset when their work was thrown out.

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