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Editor's note

Three months ago, Times staff writers Graham Brink, Robert Farley and Amy Schatz began analyzing the computerized records of the 212,798 traffic tickets written in Hernando County since 1988. They were assisted by Times computer-assisted reporting specialist Connie Humburg and technology specialist Debbie Wolfe.

For today's stories, only data from 1993 through the first six months of 1998 was analyzed. The data base included all types of traffic tickets, including speeding, parking and DUI.

The accuracy of the numbers in the stories relies on the accuracy of the county's records. Data entries with obviously incorrect or incomplete information were excluded from the analysis.

Sunday's stories detailed how police officers use discretion in deciding who gets tickets _ and who doesn't. Today, the Times examines patterns in ticket-writing and what happens when drivers take their tickets to court.

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