Man fights the law and the law ... lost

Marvin Thorp just wanted to make a point. Little did he think he would get out of his speeding ticket. Thorp, 61, of Fayette, got a speeding ticket in Wakeman on his way home from visiting his in-laws in Middleburg Heights on March 20.
May 6, 2011


Marvin Thorp just wanted to make a point. Little did he think he would get out of his speeding ticket.

Thorp, 61, of Fayette, got a speeding ticket in Wakeman on his way home from visiting his in-laws in Middleburg Heights on March 20.

He went to Norwalk Municipal Court April 14, contesting he was pulled over in an unmarked car. Judge John Ridge continued the case until Thursday, when he agreed with Thorp, saying the "officer is not competent to testify."

So just like that, faster than Thorp was driving through Wakeman, Ridge ruled him not guilty.

Thorp explained why he pursued the case instead of just paying the fine.

"I am trying to make a point and I don't think it is right the people who are hired to 'protect and serve' should do this," Thorp said before the he went to court Thursday. "Three times since then I have been back through Wakeman and each time the police have had people pulled over.

"Why don't they have better signs put up. Protect me. Serve me. I swear I am profiled because I have a nice car. When they pulled me over I was civil. They know they won't have trouble from me. That's all my speculation and there is no way I can prove that."

Thorp had pictures of the police car, which were included in Wakeman Solicitor Randal Strickler's briefings.

It is white with a light bar and no markings on the doors. It says "police" on the trunk and the department's Web site on the back bumper. "It's (the police markings on the trunk) not distinctive and he had it parked so you couldn't read it anyway," Thorp said. "The light bar looks like a car-top carrier until it is lit."

There is a Wakeman police shield on the front quarter panels and Emergency 911 stickers on the back quarter panels.

Thorp, a retired teacher, makes the trip often.

"My mother- and father-in-law who are in their 80s live in Middleburg Heights and they are in failing health," he said. "I refuse to use the turnpike if I can help it because they cut a corner of my grandfather's farm, took it, eminent domain, and told him one day your grandchildren will drive on this free. In 1991 they did pay off the loan but they put in on the ballot and the people voted to keep it a paid road.

"The people who put the wear and tear on it, the ones who drive coast to coast, should pay but the ones like us (from Ohio) who paid for it (originally) should drive it for free."

Thorp talked about the day he got his ticket.

"Driving home, I'm heading west on 20 and as soon as I get to the town limits it changes from 55 to 35," he said. "There is a warning sign but I am heading into the sun and could not see. Coming from the west to the east it goes from 55 to 45 to 35.

"He took the speed as soon as I got into the town limits. A speedtrap is a speedtrap is a speedtrap. The car is not marked properly."

Thorp cited Revised Code 4549.13, which states a police car shall be marked "in some distinctive manner or color."

"White is not a color -- it is a neutral. I am an art teacher," Thorp said. "Because of that, the next section of the revised code says if there is an officer driving that car he is "incompetent to testify if the judge rules that car is not marked properly."

Thorp defended himself, and, according to the old saying, "I am an idiot," he said with a laugh.

(He also said his wife called him an idiot for fighting the ticket).

"I was going a safe and reasonable speed," he said. "They don't set up speed limits to catch people, but to protect people."

Does he have any law experience?

"I love Judge Judy," he said. "I didn't go to law school. My little brief I sent in was one page. The brief I got from him (Strickler) has seven pictures taken by the chief of police and six pages. He also has an affidavit from the chief of police."

Wakeman Police Chief Tim Hunker said Wakeman has been writing tickets from the same car for two years.

"We marked the vehicle, we thought, in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code," Hunker said. "Ours is a minimum marked car. According to the court we are not competent, so we are going to make changes. We write more tickets with the car with full details.

"We will do what it takes to be in compliance with the court. We are going to make it right with the court tomorrow morning."

Thorp contended Wakeman is a speedtrap. Is it?

"Define a speedtrap," Hunker said. "Do we make you speed when you come through town? No. We have dropped considerably the number of tickets we have written since the late 90s and early 2000s. This minimal marked car has not changed anything.

"We only write tickets on about half of our stops," he added. "I think that is a pretty good percentage."


Fibber Mcgee

You take away the tickets and you take away the budget for the village.


They better get that car marked quick!! Good for you Marvin, it's no secret that Wakeman is a speeding ticket waiting to happen if you go over the posted limit. In the meantime, SLOW DOWN!!!! Speed kills.


Good for you! I would never stop for a car unless I knew FOR SURE it was a police car. Just too dangerous now a days.


Good Job! It's about time we stand up to Cops who think they are above the law! Years ago the majority of Cops around here were good men, would treat you well, give more breaks than tickets because they genuinely cared about the public who, by the way, pays their wages. These days, Cops have a chip on their shoulder, think they are better than the 'regular Joe' and use their employment to intimidate and overpower. In Wakeman especially, ie. the Officer who arrests people for DUI but drives under the influence himself.

Richard Cranium

Attn Chief Hunker: Definition of a speed trap = Most commonly, it refers to strict enforcement speed limits using techniques or criteria which evidence suggests aren't purely motivated by road safety. (per wikipedia)

Another definition of speed trap = Wakeman, Ohio

It is what it is.

Richards Brother

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained personal attacks. Discussion Guidelines


Don't hate people just because they're smarter than you.

Richards Brother

White is not a color - it is a neutral. And 4 is a number. Now we are even. LMAO

Richards Brother

Dear people of Norwalk, please take responsibility for your actions. A 'speed trap' wouldnt be necessary if people were not speeding! I dont think I can say it in a more simple manner than that. I recently received a speeding ticket on Rt 6 and was polite and courteous to the officer who pulled me over. I paid the appropriate fine prior to the day it was required. Why did I do this? Because I was speeding and was responsible for my actions! Stop making excuses and grow up. Your BS rationalizations might have worked for your mommy and daddy but they shouldn’t be permitted in the big boy/girl world! Damn crybabies.

Richards Brother

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained personal attacks. Discussion Guidelines


Wow, who peed in your Cheerios? Wakeman is notorious for pulling people over for no reason at a new car? You'll be followed for a month. Forgot to click off your highbeams? First question out of their mouth is "Have you been drinking?". My husband had a headlight go out as he left for work at 4 A.M. and was pulled over in town (on his way to work) for the headlight being out (where are you going to get a headlight in Wakeman at 4 A.M.?) and the officer walked up to the truck with his gun drawn. So I say good for this guy for standing up to the Fife's in this town. I have a lot of respect for law enforcement, but in this town it's a joke. They'll pull over people for stupid reasons, sit up at the gas station and run your plates while you're getting gas, but don't bother to inform residents when a sex offender moves in town (and before you pipe up that it's the sheriff's responsibility, Wakeman PD probably good and well knew that guy moved in, right by a bus stop, and didn't bother getting the word out.)
I think you should go back to bed and try waking up on the RIGHT side this time.

Richards Brother

I think you should consider moving or run for public office so you can show us the correct way to run a small town.


I did move. Thanks for the concern. And if I ever decide to run for office, I'll announce it here. You'll be the very first person I contact :)

Richards Brother

Awwww, thank you.


The first thing I think of when referring to Wakeman is "speed trap".


@ Richards Brother,

Chief Hunker is that you?!?!?! Someone sure is salty.

former local

Reporter should find out how much money comes in on tickets the last few years, compared to total budget of village. It's all public information. It would be a good follow up.

Richards Brother

Dear people, I am not salty, no one took a leak in my breakfast cereal, I am not the Chief of Police and I am hard pressed to believe an art teacher is smarter than I am. It is actually you who conbstantly complain about the police who are salty. If any of you can run the town better then why dont you run for Mayor? Your constant criticism of the police department is sickening. I bet you would be the first ones to complain when the police aren’t there to protect you if someone broke into your house. You are hypocrites who want something for nothing. If you dont like the way the town is run you could always MOVE. SMF1; you expect me to believe a police office had his gun drawn as he approached your husbands car for a head light being out? Get real! If your police department is so corrupt perhaps you could turn them into the state; unless the state is part of the conspiracy too. LOL! Free entertainment doesnt get any better than this! Thanks y'all ;)


Hey believe what you want, that's exactly what happened. My husband was floored, to say the least (and he's not one to be easily shaken). I merely used it as an example of what the members of the Wakeman police department are heart is not shattered that you don't believe it, trust me ;)

"...and I am hard pressed to believe an art teacher is smarter than I am". Wow. How pompous can you possibly get?

"I bet you would be the first ones to complain when the police aren’t there to protect you if someone broke into your house". Uh, nope. Problem would have been already taken care of.

You're an interesting poster. And salty wasn't the first word I thought of when I read your posts.


Holy cow! I think you're the one giving the free entertainment. A simple post stating you disagreed with what this guy did would of been sufficient but ranting in multiple posts insulting the man you don't even know in way that completely have nothing to do with the article itself is outrageous. i.e referring to him as a POS and looking at him makes you sick. He fought a speeding ticket, he didn't murder someone. I could understand such harsh feelings toward someone you didn't know if they were a murderer, rapist or pedophile but because of a not guilty plea over a SPEEDING TICKET? Come on now, grow up.


Down by Republic is also notorious for "speed traps." People say they get followed for miles and then pulled over after their license plates and DLs were run through the system. The speed limit signs are also posted in a manner in which the motorist does not understand what the MPH is and where the speed limits become effective. They have a "Mayor's Court" in which the village gets to keep a significant amount of the fine.

Count yourselves fortunate to have a impartial judge who follows the law.


Great job Mr. Marvin Thorp "WINNING"

Retired teach after 30 years your speech shows you are surely a no it all.....
Gas @ $4.19 a gal. second trip to court, PDB i thank you should have paid the ticket..
Your ticket was less that your gas... HA HA HA


From the looks of your two posts I don't think you should be one to be commentingon anyones speech.. or whether or not they are a "no" it all. just sayin.


I hope he speeds thru town again, and maybe they will hold him 72 hrs and see how he likes that law. Then ticket his smart @$$, Before he kills some kid for j walking.
Sounds to me as if he thanks he can drive as fast as he thanks is save...
Just go's to show he more than likely thanks he always has the right away...


He's a teacher, opps was a teacher for 30 yrs, opps years...
He said "ME ME ME"
Were did he teach, just asking because I'm not sure he understands right from WRONG?


Dude, your spelling is atrocious! Put a sock in it, you sound dumber every time you post.


Don't you mean NCustomF
Ha Ha Ha
How you like that


Uh, no dumba$$, I was raised when it was NFC.

Marcus M

White is a color as defined in the ORC, Wakeman's problems was the size of the lettering and logo on the side of the police car.

Marcus M

4549.13 Ohio Revised code-Any motor vehicle used by a member of the state highway patrol or by any other peace officer, while said officer is on duty for the exclusive or main purpose of enforcing the motor vehicle or traffic laws of this state, provided the offense is punishable as a misdemeanor, shall be marked in some distinctive manner or color and shall be equipped with, but need not necessarily have in operation at all times, at least one flashing, oscillating, or rotating colored light mounted outside on top of the vehicle. The superintendent of the state highway patrol shall specify what constitutes such a distinctive marking or color for the state highway patrol.
White being a color or not is not the reason the citation was dismissed, the law states "distinctive manner or color." The reason Wakeman lost was the term "distinctive markings", size of logo and lettering and placement.. Everyone has noticed the color or lack of same of the highway patrol cars I hope. This article is just another example of this poor excuse of a newspaper and its big brother the Registerag trashing law enforcement. People beat tickets every day, why is it news?