Advice from Court

Matthew asked for a bit of ‘advice’ for any buskers facing a hearing for either a wrongful ticket or arrest while Busking the NYC Subways.

My advice in a nutshell to any buskers facing a cop in court for wrongful ticket or arrest is be prepared ….I might even go so far as to say, even if for your own sanity, be overly prepared.

  • Know your facts as to exactly what happened; dates, times what exactly you were doing, when & where.
  • Study & know the MTA Rules & Regulations or have a copy with you as those are your rights in that pamphlet.
  • Be prepared to depose the Officer who issued either the ticket or ordered the arrest. Write and rehearse your deposition & if you need it,  get help from someone who has been through this for busking or anything for that matter. Do whatever it takes, but be prepared (as intimidating as this part may seem to read & digest,  trust me, the process will empower you).
  • Dress professionally – especially if you’re being wrongly accused of panhandling as that effort alone not only shows respect for the court, but already visually tosses the charge out the window if you look 100% put together & professional. One other thing dressing professionally accomplishes in my opinion is it allows you, the accused busker to more cleanly represent yourself as you look & hence feel like a ‘different person’ thus putting distance between you, the busker & you representing the busker. Trust me, it makes it a lot easier.
  •  And be respectful of the system even though we all know it’s rigged. The thing is the cops only know one thing ….being a cop. They are, on average not intellectuals. In the system underground their tools are tickets, guns & cuffs. In the courtroom they are without any of these tools. And unless they hire a lawyer to represent them, if you know your stuff and I mean really know your stuff the court can only respect you for that and it makes their job and by association your life a whole lot easier.

Heidi Kole