John Taris, an elderly man living on social security with his wife, was slapped with a $75 ticket for allegedly picking dandelions in a Cook County Forest Preserve. Taris argued that he was picking the greens for food. A spokeswoman for the forest said that such practices can cause problems for the ecosystem impacting other plants and animals. Apparently, the impact it can have feeding hungry humans isn’t considered.
According to the Greek Reporter, Taris said, “They make me a criminal for picking dandelions in Chicago. And all I wanted was something to eat.” Hey, buddy, next time you want to eat, stay out of the forests and just try some Pringles!
Pete Garbis, a Chicago-based lawyer, heard about the case and represented Taris pro bono at the hearing. That, along with support from other people who sympathized with Taris’s predicament, didn’t help matters. He was ordered to pay the ticket plus $200 in court costs.
Fortunately, after a sufficient amount of humiliating groveling and begging on Taris’ part, the court decided to throw out the extra fees and just had him pay the original $75 ticket.
Whew! For a second there I almost lost all my faith in our justice system.