Magistrate's office sends collection notices for tickets decades after first issued

Magistrate's office sends collection notices for tickets decades after first issued

PAMPLICO, SC (WMBF) – While he is not the only one, John Norton said he is certainly not going to fork over money he doesn't believe he owes, especially after so many years and a letter he finds very upsetting.

"If I get a little emotional, you can see how this thing has affected me," Norton said.

Norton, 80, said when he got the day's mail, he opened a letter he never expected to get.

"I walked to the mailbox with my old self like I usually do, kind of slow. And I call these things a log on the cart. And here is another log on the cart from the Pamplico Magistrate Court in Pamplico, South Carolina," he said.

The letter told him he owed $70 for a ticket over 23 years old.

"If anything in my life like that occurred, I certainly wouldn't have walked off from it," he said.

At first, like many others with the same letter, Norton thought it was a scam. However, after countless phone calls, he realized it wasn't and he wrote his own letter in response.

"This misadventure of the sheriff's office in Pamplico is causing law-abiding citizens' time, cost and trouble," he read.

Norton spent two hours trying to pull his driving record as far back as the state system would go - 10 years. His record showed zero points and not one outstanding ticket.

He insists the results would remain the same, even if it could show the 46 years he'd been driving before that.

"To comply with your letter, which was unregistered, I do adamantly protest this debt and humbly request a jury trial," Norton read from his letter.

For Norton, that court date is Sept. 29 at 10 a.m.

Another person who received a similar letter said he went through the same trouble and research. While his case revealed the magistrate's office never received a money order he sent back in 1991, he believes there should be a statute of limitations for these matters.

Officials with the Pamplico Magistrate's Office had no comment.

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