Old tickets don’t die, but sometimes they stink

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COEUR d’ALENE — Mother of three Kerri Beth Wallace drove from Greenacres, Wash., to Idaho last weekend to help a daughter who was involved in a car crash.

Wallace ended up in the Kootenai County jail.

She didn’t know why.

At her first appearance Monday, First District Magistrate Clark Peterson didn’t know why, either.

Robed and sitting at the bench in Courtroom 9, Peterson looked on a computer screen to trace the case back to its beginnings.

It originated in 1999 when Wallace, 38, was a Post Falls 18-year-old.

“To give you an idea of how old this case is ...” Peterson said.

He listed the names of the judges involved in Wallace’s case who have since retired or moved on.

“Judge Wayman is now a District Court judge and Judge Simpson has retired ... I took his place,” Peterson said.

Simpson was assigned the case when he was a magistrate and became a District Court judge in 2009 before he retired. As a magistrate, Wayman took over the case before he also moved to the District Court level, Peterson said.

The warrant, signed by Simpson, sat idle for 20 years. It was issued, Peterson said, because Wallace had failed to take part in a Kootenai County sheriff’s labor program after being caught driving without a license when she was a teenager.

“I must have been pregnant with my twins then,” Wallace said.

She did not know a warrant requiring she spend two days in jail was waiting for her when she drove over from Washington to the crash scene, she said, and asked Peterson if he could release her.

Peterson declined.

“You also failed to pay a fine,” he said.

The fine was $213.

“No good deed goes unpunished,” said Peterson, who explained he had to honor Simpson’s wishes.

Wallace, who had already served one of the days while waiting for her first appearance, was released Tuesday afternoon after serving two days behind bars.

“If I had known I had a ticket, I would have taken care of it,” Wallace said.

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