After more than a year in court, a women proved 3rd grade teachers right… grammar matters.
Back in February of 2014, Andrea Cammelleri was cited for leaving her pickup truck parked on a street in West Jefferson, Ohio.
The ordinance she was charged with violating stated it was illegal to park “any motor vehicle camper, trailer, farm implement and/or non-motorized vehicle” on a street for more than 24 hours.
During the bench trial, Cammelleri argued that “the ordinance did not apply because the language prohibits a motor vehicle camper from being parked on the street for an extended period of time.”
That’s: Motor vehicle camper.
Not: Motor vehicle, camper.
“The trial court held that when reading the ordinance in context, it unambiguously applied to motor vehicles and ‘anybody reading [the ordinance] would understand that it is just missing a comma,'” court documents state.
She was initially convicted but immediately appealed the case.
More than a year later, Judge Robert A. Hendrickson of Ohio’s 12th District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of proper grammar… and Mrs. Cammelleri.
“By utilizing rules of grammar and employing the common meaning of terms, ‘motor vehicle camper’ has a clear definition that does not produce an absurd result,” the decision said. “If the village desires a different reading, it should amend the ordinance and insert a comma between the phrase ‘motor vehicle’ and the word ‘camper.'”
No word if there has been an outbreak of campers parked all over West Jefferson, Ohio since the ruling.