COLUMBIA They weren't singing for their supper but were raising their voices to lower their fines.

Every year, Columbia City Judge Tom DuBois allows minor traffic offenders to sing a Christmas carol rather than pay a fine or court costs.

Yesterday, the hallways of City Hall reverberated with semi-rousing versions of Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

Some in the audience joked that the resulting cacophony could very well violate the city's noise ordinance.

''Some people need a little help with their tunes,'' DuBois said and laughed. ''So we sometimes have duets and trios, even quartets.

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