Court Says Police In Ohio Can Just Guess How Fast You Were Going And Give You A Ticket

from the evidence,-please? dept

Forget faulty speed cameras. Don't worry about police just guessing when they can't quite make out your license plate on a red light photo. Fear not the police who misread driving through a green light as running the red. Over in Ohio, apparently a court has said that police don't need any real evidence at all to charge you with speeding. They just need to make a "visual estimate" in their own judgment as to whether or not you were speeding:
In a 5-to-1 ruling, the court said an officer's "unaided visual estimation of a vehicle's speed" is strong enough to support a ticket and conviction. A radar speed detector, commonly used by patrolmen, is not needed, the court concluded.

"Independent verification of the vehicle's speed is not necessary to support a conviction for speeding," assuming the officer has been trained and certified by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy or similar organization, Justice Maureen O'Connor wrote for the court's majority.
That won't be abused at all...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 9:53am

    I normally dont advocate violence

    Prepare your children. Teach them how to use firearms, they will need it.

     

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  2.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 9:53am

    "That won't be abused at all..."

    It's a good thing only the police have this power, otherwise it would be abused.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 9:55am

    Not sure why this is noteworthy.

    I thought this was always the case. How did police give out tickets before radarguns? By estimating your speed and then testifying against you in court.

     

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    Joel (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 9:58am

    Soooo...

    I'm guessing this is so Ohio can save money on the radar speed detector...well that sucks for Ohio, unless everyone there is a cop or related to one.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:00am

    Re: Not sure why this is noteworthy.

    Sure, but that's no reason to throw out the verification and accountability that radar guns bring to the table. It serves the public interest to impose both of those things on officers.

     

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  6.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:02am

    Re:

    LOL

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:05am

    In fact, the officer in this case had used a radar gun (but wasn't certified to use it--can it really be that hard?) which gave a speed even higher than his estimate.

     

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    FreemonSandlewould (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    Told by Cop teacher in traffic ticket school that this is highly inaccurate!

    got a bad ticket once. Had to go to traffic school here in Az to keep my license. Paraphrasing:

    "you can challenge a ticket done by eyeball because cops have been tested and they are terrible at estimating speed"

    ....but never mind that science stuff. Study schmudy. Weather it is the scam that is global warming or traffic tickets "we need da revenue" trumps all!

     

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  9.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:20am

    Re: Not sure why this is noteworthy.

    "How did police give out tickets before radarguns"

    By a method that was not verifiable and easily abused, hence the desire for technical solutions in the first place?

     

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    Bryan, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:20am

    Do they really use the radar gun or do they just say they used it. Who would know?

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:21am

    Ever see those "No Override EVER" signs?

    That's why this is happening. Money has to come from somewhere. Administrators' kids' cars aren't going to buy themselves.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:25am

    Re:

    That's why if you know you were speeding you ask to see the guns readout. If they won't show you the gun or say they turned it off...that's a major strike against them in court.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re:

    Unless you're in Ohio

     

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  14.  
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    DS, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:28am

    Speeding ticket has 2 parts?

    I thought a speeding ticket had two parts. The act of speeding which is the initial fine, and then the amount over the speed limit. For instance you blow through a school zone, the officer can tell you were speeding, but may not know by how much, so you end up getting just a speeding ticket with no additional amount.

    Any LEO's who can confirm or deny?

     

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  15.  
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    Bubba Gump (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:32am

    Re: Not sure why this is noteworthy.

    True enough.
    Once upon a time, the authorities could execute you on the spot for committing a crime. Perhaps we should go back to that, too?

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Unless you're in Ohio"

    Then you ask to see a brain scan, right?

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:36am

    A police state is arbitrary; police are little kings.

    You are still living in the 20th century where you had a semblance of rights. Only way to fight this is to take it to a jury, and to do that, you must submit a written motion at first appearance, otherwise you're deemed to have waived the right, and when to the real court (not traffic court), you won't be able to exercise your right to jury trial. It's a deliberate trick to deprive of rights. The whole system is corrupt and full of legalistic tricks.

     

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  18.  
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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:37am

    Welcome to the police state!!!

    Police are always right and you can never question them!!!

     

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  19.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:37am

    Re: Speeding ticket has 2 parts?

    "Any LEO's who can confirm or deny?"

    Well, I'm an Aquarius, but the last speeding ticket I got had a checkbox for speeding in different overage amounts. There was no checkbox for simply speeding, although I imagine they could get away with reckless driving if they really wanted to....

     

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  20.  
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    DS, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:38am

    Re: Speeding ticket has 2 parts?

    Hey, I was DS frist!

     

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  21.  
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    DocMenach (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:39am

    Re: Re: Not sure why this is noteworthy.

    How did police give out tickets before radarguns

    They would use a technique called "Pacing". They drive behind or in front of you at or above the speed limit. If you are behind them and you catch up to them, then they know you were going faster than the limit. If they are behind you and your distance from them increases then they know you were over the limit. It was an unreliable technique in that it was still difficult to ascertain the exact vehicle speed, and also allowed for the possibility of abuse by the officer, which is why better techniques (i.e. radar) were developed.

     

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    Stuart, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:42am

    Idiot

    On this one you are dead wrong Mike.
    Police have ALWAYS been able to do that.
    If you do not like then state that, but an "OMG new court decision" headline is utter fucking bullshit.

     

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  23.  
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    DCX2, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:43am

    Re: Not sure why this is noteworthy.

    I'm pretty sure that, before radar guns, they used two parallel lines on the road and a stopwatch.

    In fact, to this day, that is how local police officers in PA ascertain your speed. If you look on the ticket, you will see "distance traveled" and "time elapsed". Only state cops get to use radar.

     

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    Ccomp5950 (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:44am

    Re: Not sure why this is noteworthy.

    2 known points and a stop watch.

    Speeding tickets weren't given out as much back in the day as much as Reckless driving tickets.

     

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  25.  
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    DCX2, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:45am

    Re:

    Actually, yes, it can really be that hard. Radar guns are only effective for certain angles, and as you stray from that angle their accuracy degrades quickly. This is quite possibly why the radar gun's speed was higher than the officer's estimate.

     

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  26.  
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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:48am

    Re: Idiot

    So this was not a new court decision? And you needed to use bs to make your point why? Sad but the fact that you had to resort to foul language to make your point actually shows who the true idiot is.

     

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  27.  
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    Ron Rezendes (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:50am

    Re: Not sure why this is noteworthy.

    They used to pace you for a quarter/half a mile to get your speed. Of course this allowed the attentive driver to slow down and avoid the ticket while making the roads safer all at once but that doesn't generate revenue. Enter the radar gun and the driver who gets clocked pays the fine - BINGO we have revenue! Drop the expense of radar training and the equipment, add one badge, a bad cup of coffee and a lawman who left the house pissed off that morning and we have all kinds of revenue that day! No evidence required and the driver has no recourse but to accept the penalty, un-effin-believable!! A couple hundred years ago we formed a country after similar treatment from the British Crown. Hopefully, someone comes to their senses soon but don't hold your breath!

     

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  28.  
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    loki_racer (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:51am

    Re: You sir are a

    scholar.

     

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  29.  
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    Mike, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:52am

    Police =/= automatically brilliant.

    Police =/= automatically brilliant... do some judges not realize this? They are probably so used to their 6 figure salaries and beautiful homes that they have lost sight of the fact that police are inperfect. Moreover, here in Binghamton NY, police litered the streets with temporary no parking signs that read "10am-12pm". Police officers then proceeded to write tickets on all the cars parked in those spaces at 1pm. I confronted an officer (because I was parked in one of these splaces)... only to be told 12pm = midnight, and that it only switches to AM at 12:01-- as that is what he "rememebers from elementary school". They ended up throwing out all the tickets, but the morale of this story is some officers are just dolts... dolts who Id barely trust to make my sandwich well at Subway, let alone have authority to be issuing me tickets costing hundreds of dollars in direct costs (let alone indirect costs)-- especially since many of these officers have monetary and administrative incentives to offset defeicits with these damn tickets.

     

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  30.  
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    Haywood (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:52am

    Re: Idiot reading is fundamental

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – A simple educated guess that a motorist is speeding is all the evidence a police officer needs to write an ironclad speeding ticket, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

    http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2010/06/police_officers_visual_estimat.html

     

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  31.  
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    interval (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:56am

    Re: Idiot

    I think the difference here is that this court's ruling makes a cop's estimate sole, valid, & unquestionable evidence, which *may* slam shut any speed ticket challenges in Ohio. Before, and in other states, drivers have always been able to challenge a ticket. I personally know some one who challenged a ticket and got it removed. Also add to this the points system for insurance. People can have their livelihoods removed by any cop having a bad day in Ohio. Not so in California; CHP-issued citations get challenged here all the time and get removed. This is a bad ruling. It makes Ohio state police that much less transparent in their actions. Calling some one an idiot after saying something stupid makes one a what...?

     

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  32.  
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    rabbit, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 10:56am

    Re: Speeding ticket has 2 parts?

    i just got my first ticket (in texas) and the fine did depend on how much over the speed limit i was ticketed at.

    also, in states that use the point system for license suspension or revocation (such as new york), the points are based on the overage of the speed limit.

    http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/broch/c49.htm

     

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  33.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 11:01am

    Re: Re:

    It's called 'Cosine Error'
    There are mechanisms to correct for it.
    And most radars only noticeably suffer from cosine error at extreme angles and near zero range. Under all realistic circumstances, the numerical reading error introduced from angle is less than 0.5%, when means if you're going 50mph it might read you as going 49mph. Oh yeah, and the cosine error ALWAYS reduces the reading, never increases it.

     

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    Berenerd (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 11:05am

    Actually...

    If I were to be pulled over by a cop thinking I was speeding, and had no evidence other than his word, I would be forced to fight for an appeal all the way up to supreme court as that would be against my rights of "innocent until proven guilty" Its just his word against mine. I think I might need to make a trip out there this summer...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 11:09am

    Re: Re: Re:

    shadowing can be an issue, though there are solutions for that.

    as it stands, you can still misuse or misinterpret a reading from a radar gun (is it actually reading the speed of the correct vehicle or some different one, etc, etc, etc)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 11:28am

    So basically we're back to the times of the inquisition?

    I mean, people can get kicked out o of the internet based on suspicion alone and cops can ticket you based on opinion, just like in the times of the inquisition you could be killed just by having someone that hates your guts telling the authorities you are a heretic, with no proof whatsoever.

    Progress? We're going backwards!

     

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  37.  
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    Someantimalwareguy, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 11:30am

    Re: Actually...

    Hmm - what about putting a camera with time/date stamp in your car that only records the speedometer? Then if ticketed, you simply pull out the video to show you were not, in fact, speeding at all?

    I know there are holes in this as vid can be faked and speedometers have a serious level of inconsistency, but it is similar in output validity to an observer (regardless of whether he/she is a professional observer - ref: LEO) being able to determine that real speed.

    JMHO

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 11:31am

    Thank God...

    That this court doesn't have jurisdiction over Chicago. For Christ's sake, we already allow fucking LAW STUDENS to handle our minor traffic cases instead of an actual DA or attorney....

     

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  39.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 11:32am

    Re:

    "So basically we're back to the times of the inquisition?"

    No one expects the Traffic Inquisition!!!

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 11:39am

    Re: Not sure why this is noteworthy.

    You know .. your absolute need to disagree with Mike No Matter What kind of makes you seem like a huge douchebag.
    Just sayin ..

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 11:46am

    Re: Idiot

    Police have always been able to write a ticket whenever they feel like it, yes. Police have not always been able to defend those tickets by just saying "I thought he was speeding by [this much]".

    When I was 16, I was driving my 1987 Chevy Celebrity from my town to the next town over in NH, over windy, hilly roads that don't stay in good shape long because of frost heaves. I was going about 48 in a 40 zone, but the cop nailed me for 60. My parents were pissed that I got the ticket, but my dad, a former police officer himself, was doubly pissed at the cop, because he knows better than to think the car I was driving could go 60 MPH on the road I was driving on without crashing. He made me take it to court so he could have words with the cop, but the cop never showed. I'm really glad I had that safety measure when I was so young, and I feel bad for kids in Ohio now that it's gone.

     

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  42.  
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    Willton, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 11:53am

    Re: Thank God...

    That this court doesn't have jurisdiction over Chicago. For Christ's sake, we already allow fucking LAW STUDENS to handle our minor traffic cases instead of an actual DA or attorney....

    Is that really a problem? What makes you think that supervised law students cannot handle minor traffic cases in Chicago?

     

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  43.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re: Thank God...

    If they haven't passed the Bar, why are they representing the government in court? Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I thought that was a legal no no....

    And if your revenue generating traffic court system is so inundated with cases that there aren't enough lawyers to go around, then perhaps it's time you scaled the number of violations back a bit....

     

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    Sean T Henry (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 12:02pm

    Challenge the cops judgement based on the FACT that eye sight diminishes as people get older. The cop was trained 10 years ago and his eye sight has decreased by X% so the speed judgement based on what he learned at "the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy or similar organization" is out of calibration.

     

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    Richard (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Multiple reflections from other vehicles and fixed objects are also a problem. Also some devices need to know what range of speeds they are working with - otherwise they get it badly wrong. There was one camera in the UK that was giving out tickets for 70mph violations to traffic traveling at about 15mph stuck in a jam.

     

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    jjmsan (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    or the results of an eye exam

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Not sure why this is noteworthy.

    Thats why radar guns were made mandatory. Cops were abusing the eyeball it method.

     

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  48.  
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    Richard (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Re: Actually...

    In the UK lorries are legally required to carry a tachograph which does exactly that. A few years ago a lorry was ticketed for speeding by a cop who merely estimated his speed whilst following. The driver used the tachograph in court to show that he could not have been speeding( calling the manufacturer as a witness) and the judge still upheld the ticket initially. So - even a legally certified device doesn't overturn a police estimate. In the end the case made it into the media and was eventually overturned. It does show however that the stupidity of judges and policemen can be unbounded.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 12:14pm

    Video cameras are your friend.

     

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    btr1701 (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 12:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Thank God...

    > If they haven't passed the Bar, why are they
    > representing the government in court? Perhaps
    > I'm mistaken, but I thought that was a legal no no..

    Most states' bar laws have exceptions for law students who are registered at ABA approved law schools and working under the supervision of licensed attorneys. They usually have to have completed a certain number of hours toward their law degree before they are eligible to participate.

    It's kind of like the learners permit/drivers license system.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 12:21pm

    in other news

    Speeding violations in Ohio committed by Blacks or while driving a sports car are up 1000% this month

     

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  52.  
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    Willton, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Thank God...

    If they haven't passed the Bar, why are they representing the government in court? Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I thought that was a legal no no....

    Not if the students are supervised by a licensed attorney. I don't know the law of Illinois, but in New Jersey a law student may assist a practicing attorney in a case, including going so far as arguing the case in court, so long as the practicing attorney supervises and takes responsibility for the actions of the law student. This is one way many legal clinics are able to help and represent the indigent with regard to their legal problems. It's also a great way for law students to get practical experience before they graduate.

    And if your revenue generating traffic court system is so inundated with cases that there aren't enough lawyers to go around, then perhaps it's time you scaled the number of violations back a bit....

    I see. You'd rather the government allow people to violate the law with impugnity in order to save a couple dollars rather than utilize a free resource (unpaid interns in the form of law students itching to get experience) to help perform all of its legal duties. Good to know.

    Something tells me that your criticism is more of a personal issue than it is a challenge to the merits of the practice. Perhaps you would not find it so objectionable if you didn't encounter it while violating the law.

     

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    bob, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 12:24pm

    Nothing New Here

    This is just like the Peoples Republic of California, where the Highway Patrol has been doing this for years.
    Note: a judge received a ticket for speeding in California back when automobiles were a new thing and speed laws were first in place. The cop was using a speed trap where he would clock your speed between two distance markers and measure that to get your speed. This went all the way to the California Supreme Court. The outcome was that it was not legal for cops to do that. Now CHP gets the same certification for speed observation. They also can give you a ticket for speeding with out setting the speed over the limit that you were driving.
    We all know this is for revenue generation, not safety.

     

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  54.  
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    Hacker Man, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 12:32pm

    Making my black box

    If I lived in Ohio, i would go right to work on a home built data logger (GPS, accelerometer) to document what was actually happening so I don't have to rely on some officer's eyeball alone.

    http://www.123securityproducts.com/bdc200.html?CS_003=691061&CS_010=bdc200

     

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    vastrightwing, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 12:36pm

    Step 2: minimum speeds

    In order to counteract people trying to evade a speeding ticket by not speeding, the state will next enact strict minimum speeds. Now people will be ticketed for driving too slowly. Of course, the difference in driving too fast and too slow will be only 5 MPH. This will give the officers plenty of room for estimates and they should be able to estimate one way or the other and be right 90% of the time.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Soooo...

    It's fucking Ohio. Do you expect anything less from the armpit of America?

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Thank God...

    "in New Jersey a law student may assist a practicing attorney in a case, including going so far as arguing the case in court, so long as the practicing attorney supervises and takes responsibility for the actions of the law student."

    Fair enough, I was wrong. The practice still rubs me the wrong way, but it's apparently not against the rules....

    "I see. You'd rather the government allow people to violate the law with impugnity in order to save a couple dollars rather than utilize a free resource (unpaid interns in the form of law students itching to get experience) to help perform all of its legal duties. Good to know."

    THAT'S the conclusion you drew from what I said? Really? First, I don't know what "impugnity" is (some kind of all powerful but incredibly ugly dog, perhaps?), but the theory behind a legal system is to both punish and deter. The punish shouldn't be done for profit and the deter should be keeping people OUT OF THE FUCKING LEGAL SYSTEM. If neither of those are the case in any legal system, it needs to be fixed. Period. I think the need to bring on law students to help with the case load is an indication that cases per capita are on the rise. That's a legal system fail.

    "Something tells me that your criticism is more of a personal issue than it is a challenge to the merits of the practice. Perhaps you would not find it so objectionable if you didn't encounter it while violating the law."

    Not really. Had a car when I was in high school, but haven't needed one for the last ten years living in the city. I'm a proud non-auto owner. So this whole deal wouldn't be a problem with me personally, other than it's indicative of a larger problem: a corrupted legal system.

     

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    rooben (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 1:05pm

    Re:

    Many states allow you to ask the police officer to show you the speed results, and if they cannot produce them (i.e. didn't actually catch you on the gun, or if they cleared the results), you can have the ticket overturned. Believe this was in CA.

     

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    zbeeblebrox, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 1:09pm

    Re: Re: Soooo...

    It's just another reason to never, ever go to Ohio.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Ohio Resident, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 1:12pm

    FYI the legislation to correct this ruling is fast tracking through the Ohio Legislature already. It will be passed very quickly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    icon
    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re: Not sure why this is noteworthy.

    Notice the use of capital letters in the post. I think you're confusing this AC for the one that doesn't use the shift key.

     

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  62.  
    icon
    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Re:

    Thanks for the laugh! (I actually did laugh out loud, but I refuse to use the ubiquitous abbreviation...)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    icon
    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 1:34pm

    Re: Re:

    Our chief weapon is secrecy. Secrecy and faulty radar guns.

     

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  64.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hell, thank doG SOMEONE got it....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    icon
    jjmsan (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 2:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Thank God...

    You mean you think he would be happier if they gave him a ticket when he was not violating the law? You really don't like innocent until proven guilty do you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    icon
    jjmsan (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Step 2: minimum speeds

    There are already minimum speeds on expressways and you can be ticketed for going to slow.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Wolfy, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 2:27pm

    The only defense against this terrible ruling is to have a data recorder installed in your car if it doesn't already have one.

    BTW, "weather" is the stuff that happens in the atmosphere,
    whether or not you choose to believe it.

    Learn the Language. Use Punctuation. It really works!

     

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  68.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 2:50pm

    Re:

    "Learn the Language. Use Punctuation. It really works!"

    Capitalization and sentence fragment fail....

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 3:03pm

    Read the Case-- 82 mph in a 60 mph zone.

    Look at the Ohio Supreme Court verdict, and note the circumstantial details. The best evidence (and here I use the term in the historian's sense of the word, rather than the lawyers "reasonable doubt" sense) was that the defendant, Mark Jenney, was going 82 mph in a 60 mph zone, as indicated by the radar, in moderate to heavy traffic. In other words, he was zooming past other cars which were themselves going approximately at the speed limit, switching over into the slow lane to pass cars in the fast lane, just barely avoiding clipping the cars already in the slow lane, and generally acting as if he was running a moving slalom course. That is obvious and distinctive behavior, identifiable at a glance (*).

    The police officer, Christopher Santimarino, pulled the guy over before he killed someone, and then used his discretion to mark it down to 79 mph, just enough to put the speed below "intentional reckless driving," or whatever. It sounds like like Officer Santimarino is a good guy, who doesn't push harder than he needs to do in order to make his point. When it became apparent that the paperwork on his radar gun was not in order, he marked the speed down to 70 mph, again giving the guy the benefit of the doubt. I would guess, from Jenney's subsequent behavior, that he was probably on the verge of losing his license for other offenses, and that is probably why he fought the case.

    Obviously, Officer Santimarino was judging relative speed, not absolute speed, judging the speed of Mr. Jenney, relative to the other cars. It is reasonable to suppose that he could tell the difference between 2-3 mph relative speed and 20 mph relative speed.

    (*) I've been in a car which was doing that kind of thing-- once. Some years ago, I hired a taxicab to drive me from Philadelphia to Morgantown, WV, a distance of three hundred miles, for a negotiated fixed fee. I was moving, and it was simpler than trying to synchronize with the airlines. Running along I-81, which was a bit congested, the driver suddenly became impatient with the "peasants" in his way, and started doing slalom. Fortunately, he calmed down after a few miles, and we turned west onto I-68, where there wasn't much traffic, and he could simply go the speed limit.

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    CrushU, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Re:

    No fragments here.
    Imperative sentences, there's an implied subject of You for the first two. (You) learn the language. (You) use punctuation. It (subject) really (adverb) works (verb). SVO, SVO, and SV sentence structures. They're grammatically correct sentences. Which I admit is unusual, given that when correcting someone else's spelling/grammar, you yourself usually slip up.

    As for capitalization fail, I read it as emphasizing without going for all caps 'shouting'.

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 3:25pm

    @DH:

    Capitalization fail, yeah, but those are valid sentences. Two imperatives and a statement of fact.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    icon
    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 3:25pm

    Let's see - this is Ohio, home of Cleveland, Cincinnati, and other hellholes

    Here's a clue. Stay the hell out of Ohio, where the Kent State murders were simply papered over and forgotten by the authorities. If you think there is any possibility of justice in that wretched crap-hole of a state, you're hopelessly deluded. It has a good probability of being the crappiest state in the USA, and I will take great pains to ensure that I never, ever set foot on its filthy ground. Ohio is a pony-fellating state, which has an average IQ slightly above room temperature, which when you consider winters there, is pretty dismal. Should it simply sink into the earth, nobody would notice or care. Except the fools who still live there. The only state in the union that I can remember a river actually catching fire. It almost makes Mexico look like a legitimate state, but not quite. Yet.

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    CrushU, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Read the Case-- 82 mph in a 60 mph zone.

    In North Carolina, at least, that has a specific name and offense. It's called Weaving. It also really annoys me when I see people doing it.

    Still, the specific case sheds alot of light. If the officer was 'eyeballing it' by noticing that a bunch of cars on the highway were presumably going the speed limit and this guy was passing loads of them, it's a very safe assumption to say the guy's speeding.

    I'd say the details in this case are what make the difference, that the cop was using relative speeds to determine, not just saying 'Ah, he looks like he's speeding based on my gut instinct', which would not be a good thing at all.

    The reason I think Mike reported on this, is that this case is now on the books as case law and may be referenced back to. If the specific circumstances were mentioned in the ruling, it would be a Lot better.

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Not sure why this is noteworthy.

    "How did police give out tickets before radarguns? By estimating your speed and then testifying against you in court."

    You're a fucking idiot. Police did not just "guess your speed" before the advent of radar guns. Calibrated speedometers, lines on the ground and stopwatches, etc.

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re: Thank God...

    "What makes you think that supervised law students cannot handle minor traffic cases in Chicago?"

    Because I can apply to law school, get accepted, and be a law student. Until you've passed the BAR you aren't a lawyer and have no business practicing law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    icon
    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jun 9th, 2010 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Read the Case-- 82 mph in a 60 mph zone.

    Mr. Jenney would have a good argument that since it was "heavy trafic" the flow of trafic was well below the posted speed limit and thus, by going the speed limit himself, he was overtaking trafic. That is what I would counter with in any case.

    Of course if the officer was going with the flow of trafic as well and could see that trafic was close to the speed limit, that would shut that argument down. But if he was parked along the side of the highway then he's just assuming how fast the trafic was moving.

    He should have just cited him for reckless driving and been done with it. Much harder to argue against.

     

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  77.  
    identicon
    Willton, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 6:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thank God...

    You mean you think he would be happier if they gave him a ticket when he was not violating the law? You really don't like innocent until proven guilty do you?

    No, you idiot. Stop swinging at strawmen. My point was that he probably would not have encountered this aspect of legal practice if he had not violated the law. And without encountering it, he would not have found it objectionable.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
    identicon
    Willton, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 6:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Thank God...

    Because I can apply to law school, get accepted, and be a law student. Until you've passed the BAR you aren't a lawyer and have no business practicing law.

    I see. So it's not a question of whether the law student can sufficiently do the work so much as whether the law student has a license. Hmm, I seem to remember the folks at Techdirt having disdain for government licenses to practice a particular profession. Something about unnecessary barriers to entry....

    By the way, technically the students are NOT practicing law. They are merely learning the practice of law by assisting another lawyer who actually IS practicing law. The lawyer is the one responsible for whatever the law student does on his or her behalf. It is for this reason that the lawyer is rather choosy over which law students he or she decides to employ.

     

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  79.  
    identicon
    Willton, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 6:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thank God...

    THAT'S the conclusion you drew from what I said? Really? First, I don't know what "impugnity" is (some kind of all powerful but incredibly ugly dog, perhaps?),

    Sorry, should be "impunity." I thought it was spelled differently. My bad.

    but the theory behind a legal system is to both punish and deter. The punish shouldn't be done for profit and the deter should be keeping people OUT OF THE FUCKING LEGAL SYSTEM. If neither of those are the case in any legal system, it needs to be fixed. Period.

    So how do you think traffic violations should be addressed? The traffic laws were written for a reason, and despite your cynicical suggestion of a profit motive, I'm pretty sure they were written to help traffic move either more safely or more efficiently. So when such laws are broken, what should happen? Should the culprits just be given a stern talking-to? Or should the legal system provide an actual disincentive to breaking the law?

    If you think monetary fines are improper, what would you have the system do? Put people in jail for parking violations? Publicly shame them? What's your solution?

    I think the need to bring on law students to help with the case load is an indication that cases per capita are on the rise. That's a legal system fail.

    Believe me, even if the case load were small, law students would still be asked to work on such cases. Law students provide free labor, and when free labor is offered, people seeking laborers typically take it.

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    Willton, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 6:40pm

    Re: Read the Case-- 82 mph in a 60 mph zone.

    Oh come on, you don't actually expect Mike to read the case before rendering an opinion on it, do you? Please, that's just too hard...

     

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  81.  
    icon
    Peter Blaise Monahon (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 4:23am

    "I slept through speed class so I'm certified to assess legal speeds now."

    So now we have to have a court case challenging the accuracy of the training, and if it's accurate (hahahahaha!), then challenging the practiced success accuracy of the officer's mastery of the training (hahahahaha!). Eyewitness testimony has proven incredibly faulty and unreliable. The judge is a dolt.

    They keep moving the bar (so to speak) on how much a speeding ticket is worth. It's REVENUE for the Police, so that's their incentive. It's risk of loosing your license and paying exorbitant insurance rates for drivers, so that's their incentive.

    The real challenge is finding a good lawyer who can set precedent to toss this judge back into reality.

    Justice is not in the balance, apparently, it's in a pendulum.

    Justice is available, it just takes a little work ... okay, a lot of work ... to dethrone the Police and the Judge.

    I for one am all for tanking RADAR and LASER.

    However, I was stopped by a cop using a stopwatch to clock cars passing line markers on the highway!

     

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  82.  
    icon
    Peter Blaise Monahon (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 5:39am

    "your cynicical suggestion of a profit motive" hahahahaha

    I was stopped for speeding in Maryland, US, kept quiet all the way through the ticket, and as the cop walked away, I decided to be bold. I mentioned to the cop that he never said anything about safety. He turned and said, "We understand each other completely."

    In other words, speeding tickets are not for safety, otherwise the cops would drive in traffic to dampen people's speed.

    It's all about revenue.

    In Arlington County, Virginia, US, the driving safety class instructors tell us to avoid Arlington during our probation because the police give tickets on a whim regardless of our behavior on the roadway ... because they are incentivised by the one with the most tickets choosing their vacation days first. If a cop wants Christmas off, they must beat all other cop's ticket numbers.

    Speeding tickets have nothing to do with safety.

    Speeding tickets have everything to do with revenue.

     

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  83.  
    icon
    Peter Blaise Monahon (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 5:46am

    Do they really use the radar gun or do they just say they used it. Who would know?

    One cop turn his RADAR gun around to show me that he clocked me going 35 in a 25 zone. I could tell he was preparing for court, and wanted me to know I could not beat his testimony.

    For all I know, the RADAR gun was stuck on 35 all day and he used the same ploy on everyone.

    Testimony is all. Because it's a time-thing, there is no "evidence".

     

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  84.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 6:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Not sure why this is noteworthy.

    Hmmm. You do present a compelling argument there. Now it seems likely that this isn't the same one. I just am rather used to having the AC show up and blast Mike in every post I ever click to read comments on. We need a better AC labeling system or something.

     

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  85.  
    identicon
    Dave, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 11:48am

    They gotta be kidding - haven't they?

    A human estimate of speed is good enough? What total tripe. There are so many factors that could come into play here that I really don't know how this could ever be considered. I'm in the UK and I dread to think what would happen if this idea ever catches on here. I have very little faith in our police these days anyway. Seems to me they always want to take the easy option. Never mind REAL crime like assaults, burglaries and the like. Just go for the motorist every time. Nice revenue earner without taxing the force's collective brains too much. Despite what they say, it's pretty obvious that safety doesn't have a great deal to do with it.

     

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  86.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Re: Not sure why this is noteworthy.

    ... Are all so error-prone and fuzzy it's pretty much guessing to start with, save in egregious cases.

    You're the kind of person who'll cheer when they start arresting people for "Thinking bad thoughts" too, I'm sure.

     

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  87.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 2:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thank God...

    A gigantic number of "tickets" are completely made up -- and now cities and states are trying to remove the ability to prove it was made up, or potentially made up.

    That's called robbing people of due process, and assuming they're guilty; BOTH of these are aspects of "guilty until proven innocent" which by your own statements is something you tacitly support.

     

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  88.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Let's see - this is Ohio, home of Cleveland, Cincinnati, and other hellholes

    C'mon... that's not very nice to Mexico.

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2010 @ 8:22pm

    I once passed a police car on a two lane highway, while I was traveling (according to my speedometer:55mph) and all the time while approaching him thinking he's waiting for someone to pass him. But I'm going 55 and have nothing to worry about.

    Once past him, he pulled out, turned on the lights, and gave me a ticket for 57-58mph. He wasn't going to answer any questions from me.

    I was out-of-state, but on a regular weekend trip and decided to contest the ticket and request a Friday or Monday court date(which was granted).

    I waited for the morning in court and was called close to what I assumed would be lunch break. I was sitting in the 2nd row and overheard the prosecutor start to ask the cop about the details.

    Did you get him on radar? No.
    How did you estimate his speed? He passed me and I was going 55.
    When was the last time you had your speedo calibrated? Uh? I don't know?
    Get out of here!

    My case was dismissed about 30 seconds later.

    But I wasted a full day of work to get rid of a bogus ticket.

     

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  90.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Jun 10th, 2010 @ 11:27pm

    Re:

    There have been a lot of comments about how "speeding tickets are just revenue raising" and a few arguments over proper grammar (please, don't pick on mine) but none bring up another of Mikes favourite lines, and this post is similar enough for me to use it as an example.

    The example is simple, if a police officer "estimates" a speed on a regular basis, and is proven wrong or has the ticket removed on a large number of those tickets, eventually someone will take notice and that particular officer will have his credibility called into question. This is very similar to the "full disclosure" examples Mike is fond of, where if a blogger continually claims "this product is excellent" simply because they got it for free from the manufacturer, their credibility will being to go down the toilet.
    I'll admit, fighting tickets is a pain, and I personally don't do it, but if enough people are outraged, and enough people do fight them, and enough people get vindicated, then eventually an officers entire reputation may be put on the line, and it may have an impact on every case they were ever involved in.
    Cold comfort I'm sure.

     

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  91.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 10:30am

    Re: Re: Challenge

    > but if enough people are outraged, and enough
    > people do fight them...

    The system doesn't like it when you fight tickets.

    When I lived in Houston, the city went on a speeding crusade and started issuing thousands of tickets a month, of which a lot were quite questionable. A grass-roots campaign sprung up which encouraged everyone who got got a ticket to not only challenge it, but exercise their right to a jury trial (as speeding in Texas was still a criminal offense at the time). Well, the courts buckled under the strain of having to hear thousands of cases and the costs of empaneling and paying tens of thousands of jurors, to the point where the city council changed the law and imposed extra penalties on you for challenging the ticket and/or requesting a jury trial, even though that's theoretically the right of all criminal defendants under the Constitution.

     

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  92.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re: Read the Case-- 82 mph in a 60 mph zone.

    > In North Carolina, at least, that has a specific
    > name and offense. It's called Weaving.

    So what does the law require you to do? After changing from one lane to another, do you have remain in that for a specific time or distance before you can make anothe lane change?

     

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  93.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Jun 11th, 2010 @ 10:45am

    Re: "your cynicical suggestion of a profit motive" hahahahaha

    > In Arlington County, Virginia, US, the driving
    > safety class instructors tell us to avoid
    > Arlington during our probation because the
    > police give tickets on a whim

    My experience driving in the DC area is that the entire population seems to drive ridiculously slow. Whatever the posted speed limit, the vast majority of traffic is moving between 15 and 20 mph below it. There have been times when I've been on 395 and I find myself weaving in and out of traffic like I'm at Daytona, passing people like they're standing still, and when I look at my speed, I'm barely at 60. It's like driving on a highway full of scared 80-year-olds.

    Cops trolling for speeders on the DC highways pretty much *have* to get creative to meet their quotas.

     

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  94.  
    identicon
    Willton, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Challenge

    The system doesn't like it when you fight tickets.

    Talk about making a sweeping generalization based on a small sample size. It is incorrect to extrapolate your experience in Houston to what happens in every city in the U.S.

     

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  95.  
    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Jun 11th, 2010 @ 1:54pm

    In response to "btr1701," Peter Blaise Monahon, etc., etc.

    Consider the following:

    Jean-Luc Godard, _Weekend_:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062480/

    Louis N. Proyect's review of same:

    http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/culture/weekend.htm
    http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/

    Google Images for "+godard +weekend"

     

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  96.  
    icon
    silentsteel (profile), Jun 14th, 2010 @ 5:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thank God...

    So how do you think traffic violations should be addressed? The traffic laws were written for a reason, and despite your cynical suggestion of a profit motive, I'm pretty sure they were written to help traffic move either more safely or more efficiently. So when such laws are broken, what should happen? Should the culprits just be given a stern talking-to? Or should the legal system provide an actual disincentive to breaking the law?

    Actually, the profit motive argument gains legitimacy when you realize that before a certain point in our history (before the 55 mph nationwide) the vast majority of the country did not have speed limits. Law enforcement wrote a ticket if you crashed, usually for excessive speed, reckless driving, or what ever fit the situation. Once a national limit was put in place, and cities, counties, and states realized there was revenue to be brought in by ticketing speeders. Why do you think in good times, law enforcement backs off on ticketing speeders (5+ mph buffer), and in tougher times, the buffer can be as low as 1 mph?

    Just because cynicism irritates you, does not mean that it is misplaced.

     

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  97.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Jun 14th, 2010 @ 5:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Challenge

    > It is incorrect to extrapolate your experience
    > in Houston to what happens in every city in the U.S.

    You might have a point if that's what I had done.

     

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  98.  
    identicon
    Serve & Protect --What bullshit, Aug 10th, 2010 @ 5:54am

    Police Revenue Game

    Fuck this country and all it's parasitic middlemen, feeding off my hard earned dollars year after year. If I was younger, I'd leave this revenue trap of a country. But I'm over 60 and it's difficult to get out. These mother fuckin' piece of shit cops make criminals out of decent people. The whole country knows they are being scammed but don't speak out daily to everyone they meet because then they are just labeled as complainers. Suffer all you assholes for not making this infringement on our rights known to everybody you meet 24 hours a day until all the pigs are stopped and locked up. Oh yeah, and FUCK ALL REPUBLICAN ASSHOLES who fuck things up for everyone on a daily basis. Shoot the bastards when you see them, please. Tell them I sent you. Ralph

     

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  99.  
    identicon
    jimmy tener, May 28th, 2012 @ 5:48pm

    why? can't we see for ourselves?

    Just sayin ,,recently got a speeding ticket and asked the officer just so i can see for myself on his radar gun,,this particular superior officer,,said "No" i can not and i then said why not? his answer was i don't lie...I said then i don't think i was goin that fast and how would i know if you don't show me the radar,,you wont was this officer answer...Why? dont you have a RIGHT to see the radar ?? why? wouldn't the officer show me if he was not lying to me about going that fast...This is crazy they can acuse you of speeding without any evidence to show you..at least a print out of license tag and speed like they have in certain marked poles when you run a red light,that camera takes a pick of light ,what time,and tag of your car...at least your showed PROOF !!This it's a one sided only...The officer said he does not lie,,,think by giving me this ticket he just DID !! (( READ & BELIEVE !! ))

     

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  100.  
    identicon
    jimmy tener, May 28th, 2012 @ 5:52pm

    why? can't we see for ourselves?

    Just sayin ,,recently got a speeding ticket and asked the officer just so i can see for myself on his radar gun,,this particular superior officer,,said "No" i can not and i then said why not? his answer was i don't lie...I said then i don't think i was goin that fast and how would i know if you don't show me the radar,,you wont was this officer answer...Why? dont you have a RIGHT to see the radar ?? why? wouldn't the officer show me if he was not lying to me about going that fast...This is crazy they can acuse you of speeding without any evidence to show you..at least a print out of license tag and speed like they have in certain marked poles when you run a red light,that camera takes a pick of light ,what time,and tag of your car...at least your showed PROOF !!This it's a one sided only...The officer said he does not lie,,,think by giving me this ticket he just DID !! (( READ & BELIEVE !! ))

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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