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Talk about getting lucky in a court case! Wish I had a judge like that...

Man sings way out of traffic fine
Tuesday, December 24, 2002 Posted: 8:12 AM EST (1312 GMT)

COLUMBIA, Tennessee (AP) -- Clifford Jones thought he'd be paying up when he went to traffic court last week.

Instead, he sang his way out of a fine.

He was among about 55 traffic violators who were given the opportunity to avoid a ticket by caroling.

"I'm a little shy, but not about saving a dollar. It was a pretty good Christmas present," said Jones, who sang "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

City Judge Tom DuBois followed a three-year tradition on the last court date before Christmas. Violators who sang a carol and donated five canned goods to the Harvest Food Share had their tickets dismissed with no points put on their driving record.

"This is a good day to come to court," police officer Kenneth Lovet told the group. "I hope you like to sing."

Fines and court costs were waived in cases of speeding and running stop signs. Some violations were still assessed, including seat belt violations or child safety restrictions.

Donald Hatler, who sang "Jingle Bells," didn't expect the early Christmas gift.

"It was a little embarrassing," Hatler said. "I don't have the best singing voice in the world, but it was worth it."
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