What’s the memo line on your checks really for? Robert Militzer put his to good use earlier this month when he wrote a check to pay the Berkley County (Michigan) District Court a $10 parking fine. Militzer admits that during previous visits to the area he had noticed and obeyed signs prohibiting parking from 2-6 a.m., but claims that the signs weren’t there on the day he was ticketed. But the strength of the "disappearing-sign" defense is not the main issue here — rather, it is the effect of Militzer’s protest, which he expressed by writing "BULLSHIT MONEY GRAB" in the memo line of his check. Militzer said he knew it wouldn’t solve anything, but felt it would "let them know I felt was being unfair."
It did. It also got him invited to the courthouse for a chat, the one-item agenda for which reads "contempt of court." Militzer was scheduled to appear today to answer that charge. He will be accompanied by an ACLU attorney who will argue on his behalf that the remark is protected by the First Amendment. Thus a snit over a $10 bullshit money grab has been escalated into a federal constitutional issue.