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Guess My Speed and Give Me a Ticket, In Ohio

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the well-it-sounded-really-fast dept.

Government 636

quall writes "The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that police may estimate your car's speed and issue a ticket if they believe you were speeding. The hearing threw out a radar gun as evidence because the officer was not qualified to use it, but apparently his guess was good enough. If you make your way into Ohio, I suggest driving 5mph under the speed limit because this leaves little room to dispute your ticket in court. The only chance you have is if the issuing officer decides to skip your hearing." I wonder whether the court would also accept a driver's own GPS log as exculpatory evidence.

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Oh no they didn't. (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451144)

" issue a ticket if they believe "

I think there's a law against that.

Re:Oh no they didn't. (5, Insightful)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451474)

There's a law against waiting till the cop is walking to your car, then put it in reverse, crank the wheel, floor it and flatten the crooked bastard, as well. The same sort of problem cropped up in Louisiana. Cops were targeting out of state tags and towing cars to impound for further inspection, even if you were speeding. Then you pay inflated rates for impound and your belongings were probably stolen and there would never be an investigation. So don't defend yourself against tyranny and injustice from crooked law enforcement by killing as many of the cockroaches as you can.
That would be illegal. But then so is jaywalking.

Re:Oh no they didn't. (5, Insightful)

DarrenBaker (322210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451650)

Oh, no, don't worry - vehicular law has a get-out-of-jail-free card (pun soundly intended) in that, because automobile operation and licencing are a regulated activity, your rights don't extend to cover it. Hence why RIDE programs are legal, hence why so-called 'routine' traffic stops are legal. It's a nice grey area that your local cops live to bask in.

Hmmm you don't suppose... (5, Funny)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451156)

that most of the judge's wages are paid from speeding fines?

Given that it is Ohio (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451220)

Given that it is Ohio, that is a valid question. Never mind locality-set speed limits.

This isn't so strange. (1, Insightful)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451162)

How do you think police issued tickets before radar guns were invented?

Re:This isn't so strange. (4, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451180)

Following the suspect with a certified speedometer.

Re:This isn't so strange. (2, Insightful)

dotgain (630123) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451288)

Or don't, and say you did.

Re:This isn't so strange. (0, Redundant)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451640)

Following the suspect with a certified speedometer.

Which, of course, requires visually estimating that your speed is approximately equal to that of the target vehicle.

Which just validates the idea of visual estimation of relative speed as a basis of a ticket.

Re:This isn't so strange. (5, Interesting)

NervousWreck (1399445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451208)

Yeah, but back then speeding tickets were a) not very common (according to people who were driving then) b) rarely paid because hearings degenerated into a lot of "did not" - "did too" ing. (educated guess plus anecdotes) c) not very high (matter of public record)

Re:This isn't so strange. (0, Redundant)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451682)

Yeah, but back then speeding tickets were a) not very common (according to people who were driving then) b) rarely paid because hearings degenerated into a lot of "did not" - "did too" ing. (educated guess plus anecdotes) c) not very high (matter of public record)

I don't think the "not very high" holds up when adjusted for inflation, and now, while tickets are regularly paid its because they are rarely challenged -- many (and by some accounts most) challenges to tickets succeed, most often because the ticketing officer doesn't show up to testify at all -- and part of the reason that they are rarely challenged is that in many jurisdictions, there are positive incentives not to challenge them (e.g., you can avoid negative reflection on your driving record if you pay the ticket and pay an additional fee to go to traffic school, if you challenge the ticket and lose, you don't have that option.)

Re:This isn't so strange. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451248)

Bumper Checks.

Re:This isn't so strange. (5, Informative)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451260)

In the UK, it used to involve two police officers.

One would drop their arm, raise a flag or some other indicator as a fast-looking vehicle passes...
The other would time how long it takes from the time that the first officer indicates to the time that the vehicle passes him. Since the two of them are a known distance apart, say 100 yards or so, it would be trivial to calculate the speed.

So if the driver was speeding or does something (braking like crazy to slow down) to raise reasonable suspicion, he'd be ticketed accordingly.

Re:This isn't so strange. (3, Interesting)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451404)

We still have that in Ohio, but it's a little more high tech. It involves a helicopter and painted lines at certain distances on the road. (The helicopter makes it more high tech.)

Though, this isn't what the story is about. I can't believe the SC voted it a valid technique. Now we have to have our lawyers figure out if a police officer is properly trained to issue tickets by guessing... I'm hoping there's a way to overturn this decision. (Yes, I'm claiming ignorance on how my government works in this regard.)

Re:This isn't so strange. (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451440)

There is some hope of maintaining independent calibration of the radar gun, your jolly officers can increase the apparent speed by standing a little closer together or using a quick thumb on the clock.

Uh yeah it's pretty strange (5, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451432)

How do you think police issued tickets before radar guns were invented?

Well if I didn't know any better, and thought there was no way to measure velocity prior to the invention of radar, I might do as you have invited me to do and imagine that they just guessed and that this was good enough.

But since I do know better, I don't have to imagine. What they actually did was to time how long it took you to go between two points of known separation. Amazing, eh?

Even as late as the 90s some officers preferred this method, and sometimes near speed traps in the city you could see the markings on the curb that they drew. When it was explained to me by an officer, I believe he said the preference stemmed from when radar guns were new and tickets based on radar guns were being challenged successfully, while the stopwatch measurement of a trained officer was more likely to be believed by the judge.

In any event, "guess" was never the proper method.

Re:Uh yeah it's pretty strange (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451644)

Even today it's used. GATSO cameras use radar to trigger but the setting used in the UK, they take two photographs and use road markings at known spacing to prove the car was speeding.

Personally I think this is a much better technique. It's easy to understand exactly how it works, and if you do travel 10m in 0.5 seconds then it's quite simple to demonstrate that you were travelling at approximately 45mph.

VASCAR (1)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451580)

Probably the same way I was given my speeding ticket, long after radar guns were invented. Have you ever seen two lines painted across the road, separated by some distance of maybe a few hundred feet? The officer is parked off to the side of the road, and uses a stopwatch to measure how long it takes you to pass between the two lines. If you look at the ticket, it will list the distance and speed.

Re:This isn't so strange. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451722)

Using a stop watch and telephone poles at known intervals. Do you think they just guessed?

Next Stop: Murder! (5, Insightful)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451166)

Look, just because there are no missing people, no unaccounted for deaths, or any evidence of any shape or form doesn't mean you didn't commit murder. I mean, you LOOK like a murderer. A trained police officer can't be wrong...

Re:Next Stop: Murder! (5, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451352)

    I've been stopped for suspicion of DUI before. Well, not stopped. I was standing outside my car talking to friends when the police showed up. The officer driving down the road, seeing us stopped and talking, could estimate my blood alcohol content. I've also been told I looked like I was going to buy drugs; speeding (without actually driving); and thinking about robbing a closed store (with my car parked in front, under a street light, on a busy street).

    Just a couple nights ago, I was (to the best of my knowledge) parked legally. I came out of where I was visiting, and saw a patrol car stopped in the road with his spot light aimed at a house across the street. I got in my car, and started the engine. The patrol car pulled up and he rolled down the window. "You weren't going to drive off while I'm running your plates, were you?" My plates?

    I played along nicely. I told him I'd wait while he did, and provided my license. In talking to him, it's illegal to park along any road in the county, even though it's not posted anywhere, and it's done all the time.

    Then we started having a nice conversation.

    We talked some more, and he said a lot of times when they spot a car parked on the side of the road in that area, it means someone's robbing a house, and they left the car in the road for a quick getaway. He was feeling me out to see if I had intended to rob someone, or if I was just leaving a friends place.

    He then warned me that besides being against the law, about half the time when they try to do a traffic stop in that area, the person will run, and that doesn't usually end nicely. Cars parked on the side of the road frequently get hit. He liked my car, and didn't want to see it damaged.

    Now he knows what I look like, and what my car is. If someone else is messing with my car, they'll get stopped. He knows I'm one of the "good guys", so it's less likely I'll be messed with.

Re:Next Stop: Murder! (4, Funny)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451612)

You post like a briber. Im hauling you in!

Re:Next Stop: Murder! (1)

MrLint (519792) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451466)

Yeah well ya know finding a murderer doesn't make money for podunk sheriff.

That's a lousy analogy (4, Insightful)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451548)

It's not analogous to condemning a person for "looking wrong". It's eyewitness testimony as evidence of a person's actions: "It looked like you were speeding" is analogous to "It looked like you stabbed that guy". Yes, eyewitness judgment can be wrong, but eyewitness judgment is not the same as "you look evil therefore you are guilty".

"You look like a murderer" is more analogous to "you look like a speeder". It is quite different from "it looked like you were speeding", and has nothing to do with the case being discussed here.

No evidence of any shape or form? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451714)

Look, just because there are no missing people, no unaccounted for deaths, or any evidence of any shape or form doesn't mean you didn't commit murder.

Bad analogy with the case at hand: eyewitness testimony is a recognized form of evidence in court.

Also, murder is a criminal offense, and thus has a different standard of proof than minor moving violations, which are not criminal offenses.

Guilty with no evidence? (1, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451168)

So much for a fair trial.

So by now, who hasnt wiped their ass off with the bill of rights?

Re:Guilty with no evidence? (5, Funny)

dnahelicase (1594971) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451372)

So much for a fair trial.

So by now, who hasnt wiped their ass off with the bill of rights?

In Ohio the officers might not be trained to operate the Bill of Rights...

GPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32451174)

would likely be mitigating evidence if presented on its own. There should be ample documentation indicating the accuracy of your particular GPS data as not capable of adulteration.

WTF? (4, Insightful)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451186)

If he can't be trained to use a radar gun properly, then he's not qualified to guess what speed a vehicle is travelling...IMO.

Re:WTF? (2, Insightful)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451204)

What is he doing being in the travel police when he can't use a radar gun. That man should either be forced to attend classes or BE FIRED.

Re:WTF? (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451338)

That man should either be forced to attend classes or BE FIRED.

Out of a cannon, into the sun.

Re:WTF? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451236)

There two completely different things, don't confuse them.

Just because you are certified to use a Radar gun doesn't mean you can estimate speeds. What you need to do is a bumper check.

Re:WTF? (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451382)

Okay, seen that term three times in this thread - can't find it on Google. What the hell is a "Bumper Check"?

Re:WTF? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451328)

From the article, he went to some kind of training school where they taught him to consistently estimate the speed of cars to within a few MPH. He could not, however, produce a certificate showing that he was certified to use a radar gun. I didn't know it was that hard. I also didn't know they trained officers to accurately estimate the speed of the car.

The problem here isn't the estimation, it's that we have to rely on the word of the cops. Which is kind of bad, because cops are known to lie. But really it doesn't change too much, because they could have lied about the radar gun, too. That's why police always ask, "Do you know how fast you were going?" or something similar when they pull you over, to get agreement before they go to court, to make the case a lot simpler.

GPS (5, Informative)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451190)

    It's doubtful that you could show an appropriate chain of evidence with the GPS. It's easily argued that you tampered with any such evidence.

    Ticketing for illegal speeds is pretty easy, most people confess to it.

    "Do you know why I pulled you over?"
    "I was speeding."
    "I saw you doing 80mph"
    "Yes sir, that's about right. I'm sorry."

    Voila, instant ticket for 80mph, and a confession to back it up.

    I did the opposite. You never *KNOW* why the officer stops you. You may have been speeding. He may be pulling you over for a burned out taillight, or your vehicle may match a description of one seen at a crime scene, or it may even match the description of a vehicle from a missing persons case. Don't guess.

Re:GPS (2, Insightful)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451252)

It's doubtful that you could show an appropriate chain of evidence with the GPS. It's easily argued that you tampered with any such evidence.

Ticketing for illegal speeds is pretty easy, most people confess to it.

"Do you know why I pulled you over?" "I was speeding." "I saw you doing 80mph" "Yes sir, that's about right. I'm sorry."

Voila, instant ticket for 80mph, and a confession to back it up.

I did the opposite. You never *KNOW* why the officer stops you. You may have been speeding. He may be pulling you over for a burned out taillight, or your vehicle may match a description of one seen at a crime scene, or it may even match the description of a vehicle from a missing persons case. Don't guess.

Amen to that. Any conversation with a police officer should start with you saying "Evening officer, what seems to be the trouble?" - don't offer anything up, ever.

Re:GPS (5, Funny)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451318)

Any conversation with a police officer should start with you saying "Evening officer, what seems to be the trouble?"

Unless it happens to be morning. Or early afternoon.

Re:GPS (3, Funny)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451442)

I still like to say "evening." Keeps them on their toes.

Re:GPS (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32451510)

Meow also works.

Re:GPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32451362)

Any conversation with a police officer should start with you saying "Evening officer, what seems to be the trouble?"

I would advise against this before about 5:30 pm, unless you enjoy drug tests. ;)

Re:GPS (1)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451698)

Thats why I always say "Hello, My name is Indigo Montoya, you killed my father. Prepare to ...... " and I let my voice trail off.

Re:GPS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32451300)

Just don't mention the dead nigger in the boot. I was taking it to the local dead nigger storage, but they were closed.

Re:GPS (0, Offtopic)

navygeek (1044768) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451508)

For once that isn't actually a Troll comment, but a halfway decent reference to Pulp Fiction.

Re:GPS (3, Informative)

chadplusplus (1432889) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451392)

That's the point of establishing a evidentiary foundation. You testify under oath as to: 1) Here's the process by how I acquired it; and 2) the printout is a fair and accurate representation of the data contained in my GPS log. While it may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, that's the basic gist of it. Most judges I've appeared before were rather lax with evidentiary issues.

If the cop wants to challenge the validity of it, he can certainly do that on cross examination - or even voir dire before the logs are admitted as evidence. I would be amazed though, if the cop knew enough law to be able to effectively challenge its admission.

Unfortunately, and this goes back to the earlier post about videoing police during official stops, the old school judges seem to have a presumption in favor of police, so its an uphill battle regardless. Your closing argument would have to be along the lines of: a) I like cops; b) they're good for society; c) they would never intentionally lie and mistakes are rare, BUT THEY DO HAPPEN; etc...

The above, while it is general legal information, does not constitute legal advice. No one should rely upon the above statements and no attorney-client relationship has been established thereby. If you have been charged with a crime, you should immediately consult a local attorney.

Re:GPS (5, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451496)

So since you use a powerful, bold disclaimer, if you accidentally omit it sometime, does your previous use of the disclaimer then imply that you are giving legal advice when you omit it?

Or is it so much puffery?

Re:GPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32451456)

I did the opposite. You never *KNOW* why the officer stops you. You may have been speeding. He may be pulling you over for a burned out taillight, or your vehicle may match a description of one seen at a crime scene, or it may even match the description of a vehicle from a missing persons case. Don't guess.

Remember, be a smug asshole. Make the cop hate his job more and more. He's the one with the gun, remember, and the friends back at the station who also hate their jobs because of smug assholes like you, and who has the authority to make the ticket worse if he's having a bad day because of the sheer number of smug assholes he has to deal with.

Solopsism and just plain self-centeredness is its own reward!

Re:GPS (2, Funny)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451614)

You're right. Next time I'm stopped, I'll confess to speeding, running a stop sign last week, and the fact that there are 5 kilos of heroin in the trunk next to the dead hooker.

    No, hold on. How about I let him tell me why he's pulling me over, and I'll graciously accept the ticket for the burned out taillight.

    (Just kidding about the contents of my trunk. I promise.)

oh...my (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32451198)

Really not doing much to change the stereotype of hicks-ville America are you guys.
You will be stopping and searching people on suspicion of being illegal aliens next. ......oh wait thats Arizona

Re:oh...my (-1, Troll)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451286)

Really not doing much to change the stereotype of hicks-ville America are you guys.
You will be stopping and searching people on suspicion of being illegal aliens next. ......oh wait thats Arizona

And you aren't doing much to change the stereotype that costal liberals are faggots that get off on the smell of their own farts.

Anyone should be able to estimate speed... (0)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451206)

If some car ZOOMS by it's pretty easy for me to tell its speeding, radar gun or not (I'm not a police officer). If you have even a modicum of experience driving and you can't estimate whether or not a car is speeding you should probably have your driver's license taken away.

Re:Anyone should be able to estimate speed... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32451324)

Bullshit. I often drive in slow speed areas, going slow but at high RPM, because I don't want to upshift. As I go down the street at 25 or less, I see people's heads perk up at the sound. It sounds like I'm going fast - or "zooming" around - but I'm not.

Moreover, studies have shown time and again that people estimate the speed of a passing car with wildly different estimates.

Re:Anyone should be able to estimate speed... (2, Insightful)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451360)

If some car ZOOMS by it's pretty easy for me to tell its speeding, radar gun or not (I'm not a police officer). If you have even a modicum of experience driving and you can't estimate whether or not a car is speeding you should probably have your driver's license taken away.

If you're talking about someone doing 50 in a 30, you're correct that it's pretty easy. But the difference between 60 and 70 isn't as obvious as you may think. Calling it accurately, and consistently? BS. That's why they have Radar and LiDar and all their other toys, so they can catch the minor offenders as well.

Re:Anyone should be able to estimate speed... (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451700)

The problem is that human perception can be influenced by factors. For example, if you take the same car and drive it the same speed on a single lane or a multi-lane highway, it will appear to be faster on a single lane. Our estimation of speed is based on reference. The more reference points, the closer the reference points, etc. These are all factors.

If you make your way into Ohio... (2, Insightful)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451214)

Thanks but in light of this, I'll make a huge detour.

No real difference (5, Interesting)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451224)

I'm from Ohio. I once got pulled over, and though I was speeding (and quite excessively), the officer didn't radar me. He wasn't legally allowed to write me a ticket for speeding so he just gave me a ticket for reckless operation. The speeding ticket would actually have been cheaper and put less points on my license. Bottom line: this doesn't change much.

Re:No real difference (2, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451480)

Ugh, I got a reckless op once in Illinois... I "changed lanes too fast". The court didn't even see it. they had some administrator tell me I was wrong because they knew the officer was a "fair man." I moved back to Ohio because I've had better experience here... but apparently we are getting as bad as IL.

They may have a point (2, Insightful)

alfredos (1694270) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451238)

Sometimes they are not set with their radar but a driver is going way too fast for the situation and the fact is obvious to any observer. Cops in motorbikes without radar come to mind, for example. They should have a way to ticket that driver. The problem, obviously, is the gray area. How fast is too fast? Is too fast if they estimate the driver is 50% faster than the limit?

Perhaps a common sense solution to that kind of situation would be just to stop the driver. The mere fact of stopping someone is usually deterrent enough; I know I don't want to be stopped by the cops even if they don't give me a ticket. I wonder if that would work for the general case?

Where I live, the cops can ticket a driver for driving negligently. That should be enough to cover the "too fast but no hard evidence" case.

Re:They may have a point (2, Interesting)

Jenming (37265) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451416)

If you are driving the speed limit it is trivial to tell if someone else is speeding without the use of a radar gun.
1) I am going 10 miles over the speed limit.
2) That person just passed me.
3) Is that person speeding? Not much of a gray area really.

Re:They may have a point (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451422)

I was driving a "little" too fast once.

A cop I saw crested about 3 little rolling hills in front of be stopped at the peak of the hill nest hill he was still there, I passed him at like 15 miles an hour and he pulled me over.

Apparently he slammed on the breaks and radared me. Didn't give a ticket though, just told me to stop driving like an asshole in his state (he did actually radar me, or was a very good guesser, as he pinned my speed, I assume he knew it would hold up though, radaring from the middle of the road, and that he really just wanted me to not drive like that).

Re:They may have a point (2, Insightful)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451464)

Observation based on a single eyewitness account who is biased against the accused (as the accuser).

Clearly Ohio doesn't subscribe to the concept of "presumption of innocence" i.e. "proof".

Re:They may have a point (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451492)

How will they pay the gas bill if they just hand out warnings? Apparently our taxes aren't enough.

W? (-1, Flamebait)

drumcat (1659893) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451246)

What happened, did W move from Texas to Ohio? This tramples so many basic legal principles, the bright lights of common sense need to be shone all over these cockroaches.

Re:W? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32451672)

W????!!!!! Have you seen the current bunch? W obviously had a low regard for the constitution, but compared to the crap currently being pulled what he did was child's play. It's time to make politicians a non-existent class and get back to regular citizens running the country. Vote 'em all out, regardless of party (yeah, your guy does it too) and start all over.

People overreacting much? (0)

GreatAntibob (1549139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451250)

The officer in question claimed that the other car was traveling more than 10mph above the speed limit.

I don't claim to be able to gauge speeds that accurately, but I can definitely tell if a car is going that much faster than the limit.

People got speeding tickets before radar guns, ya know.

Re:People overreacting much? (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451424)

The officer in question claimed that the other car was traveling more than 10mph above the speed limit.

I don't claim to be able to gauge speeds that accurately, but I can definitely tell if a car is going that much faster than the limit.

People got speeding tickets before radar guns, ya know.

Put this in perspective. 10 over a 10mph limit is easy to tell. 10 over in a 20, shouldn't be too hard. 10 over in a 60? Pretty hard to tell. Unless he's passing cars left and right, it's not going to be as simple as you think.

Re:People overreacting much? (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451694)

I had drivers ed once for a ticket (gravity assist*) and one person in the room had been ticketed for 1mph over the limit. When they need the money, or there is a new speed limit they want folks to be aware of, it's legal. There is no legal "buffer" over the limit.

* Two of the three? tickets (anyway, every ticket for the last 25 or so years) I have gotten since I was a teenager were at the base of steep hills. The police just set up, wait for gravity to speed you up and voila. The third ticket was sometime in my mid 20's doing 50mph on the 40mph feeder. They drove on the freeway, matched my speed, then got off at the exit and ticketed me.

Re:People overreacting much? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451664)

People got speeding tickets before radar guns, ya know.

Yes. They used stopwatches and known distances.

Your Honor : The Occifer's Guessed (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32451258)

WRONG !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I rest my case.

Fuck Ohio.

Yours In Michigan,
Kilgore Trout

Reading from the actual article... (1, Troll)

vandy1 (568419) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451262)

The article indicates the driver was going about 15mph over the speed limit. I'd say that was relatively easy to identify by sight. So what the majority said, which is in fact "given the totality of the circumstances", such an officer's testimony may be held to be credible. If you can show at trial that the officer has borne you a grudge since high school, that may well be another story. And of course it's not in front of a jury - its $50, for crying out loud!

Re:Reading from the actual article... (3, Insightful)

loners (561941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451366)

Not just $50, that is the immediate cost. Don't forget the $200 increase in your mandatory auto insurance for the next 3 years.

Re:Reading from the actual article... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32451542)

plus court costs -- at least $100 if not more

Big Deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32451296)

Officers in any state are trained in good judgement - this is no different than if an officer shows up to a domestic disturbance call... he is going to listen to both sides and then act on his judgement. We all take this for granted every day in our own profession, we are good at estimating, without calculating things we see all day long, to a very fine degree of accuracy. The idea that this cop needs a speed gun in order to properly write speeding tickets, aka do what he does hundreds of times a month, seems laughable. Maybe this is news to some, but cops give out speeding tickets without radar guns all the time, its not a big deal. In other news, they also don't call to get permission from their mom before drawing their weapon in the line of duty.

The ruling is pretty interesting (1, Informative)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451302)

http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/ROD/docs/ [state.oh.us]

Barberton v. Jenney, Slip Opinion No. 2010-Ohio-2420.

"Santimarino also testified that in addition to his training and experience in visually estimating vehicle speed, he was trained and certified to use the Python brand Doppler radar unit that he was using on July 3, 2008. Santimarino testified on direct examination that after he visually estimated the speed of Jenney's vehicle, he observed that the radar unit indicated that Jenney's vehicle was traveling at 82 miles per hour. Santimarino could not produce a copy of his radar-training certification when defense counsel requested he do so on the day of trial."

In order to be certified by OPOTA, Santimarino was required to show that he could visually estimate a vehicle's speed to within three to four miles per hour of the vehicle's actual speed, which he did

While I don't like ruling there is a certification process and they follow it. When I was in the military and got pulled over by the locals are AG told us in no uncertain terms, do not question the accuracy or honesty of a police officer in from the of the magistrate. You will show up in your Sunday best, use ma'am and sir where appropriate, and be a perfect gentleman. You may plead for leniency or such but never suggest any lacking on the arresting officer.

Re:The ruling is pretty interesting (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451568)

When I was in the military...

We are not all in the military. When you join the military you become the property and representatives of the government in most regards. You are held to a higher degree of behavior and anything less looks poorly on the training you received.

The rest of us are citizens that you protect. If you can't face the judge, who relies on you to protect his/her right to live their daily life and give a proper explanation as to why you were violating their trust... well, you see my point. (I hope.)

Re:The ruling is pretty interesting (1)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451638)

he could visually estimate a vehicle's speed to within three to four miles per hour of the vehicle's actual speed, which he did

Where does it say that?

Lying cops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32451304)

Santimarino said he observed Jenney speeding in a black SUV on Ohio 21 and later estimated he was driving at 73 mph... the radar read 82 or 83 mph... Santimarino said he decided to write Jenney a ticket for 79 mph.

So, he didn't know how to use the radar, and he knew that his misuse of it was causing it to read 10mph high, but he issued a ticket based on it anyway. This cop should be sent to prison for a while.

Old News (3, Interesting)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451322)

I have a good bit of family in law enforcement up in Illinois. This is SOP for officers up there. When they go through their training, speed estimation is one of the things they are taught, for things such as radar malfunctions and times where they are not in their car, (ie foot / bike / segway patrol). If they see somebody who "looks" like they are doing double the speed limit, based on the cars they are blowing by, then they can cite / arrest them on their powers of guesstimation alone. This has been around for awhile, but apparently only newsworthy until now.

Not saying I agree with the practice, but lets not blow this out of proportion as there is nothing new under the sun. Precedent shows that the officers word is statistically more "trusted" than yours by the judges, and thems the ropes, folks. Sigh...

Re:Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32451470)

I have a good bit of family in law enforcement up in Illinois. This is SOP for officers up there. When they go through their training, speed estimation is one of the things they are taught, for things such as radar malfunctions and times where they are not in their car, (ie foot / bike / segway patrol).

Well, I'd like to test that theory. Let's do a scientific test with many cars and see how good the officer's powers of estimation are.

And since fines usually vary with speed, an accurate speed is very important.

Re:Old News (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451658)

Well, I'd like to test that theory. Let's do a scientific test with many cars and see how good the officer's powers of estimation are.

And since fines usually vary with speed, an accurate speed is very important.

Not agreeing with the practice, just stating the existence of it has been known for awhile. Procedures like this are par for the course as far as government policy goes (or moreover strays) from a rational, analytical, and logical standpoint.

Honestly, I'm shocked that any serious court... (1)

soren42 (700305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451388)

would accept this type of citation.

It hardly meets the burden of "beyond a reasonable doubt".

I'm surprised it made it as far as it did. I hope the Ohio Supreme Court isn't an elected body — or their jobs will all be on the chopping block next election day!

Re:Honestly, I'm shocked that any serious court... (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451602)

Honestly, I'm shocked that any serious court... would accept this type of citation.

Why? Speeding tickets were allowed before radar guns existed, after all; speeding tickets based on anything but an officers observation of the speed of the car (possibly relative to his own car and speedometer, possibly not) are comparatively novel.

It hardly meets the burden of "beyond a reasonable doubt".

"beyond a reasonable doubt" is the Constitutional standard of proof required for conviction in criminal cases; most moving violations are not considered criminal violations in the Constitutional sense, and the applicable standard of proof is lower (I believe, in most jurisdictions, the standard is a simple preponderance of the evidence, as in most civil cases.)

Which means, when the only evidence is two witnesses, whichever witness the trier of fact finds most credible.

Juries? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451394)

This is the kind of thing where I would really want a jury trial for a speeding ticket. But I've heard that some legal gymnastics have been used to justify making traffic courts immune from the right to trial by jury.

Does anyone know if this is true, and if so, what the justification is?

Re:Juries? (1)

mshannon78660 (1030880) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451562)

In the few jurisdictions that I have direct experience in, you are essentially agreeing to waive your right to a jury trial in exchange for lower court costs. You can request a jury trial, and you will be required to post a bond equal to some percentage of the expected court costs (which are usually at least as much as the speeding ticket, and are non-recoverable). It used to be that you could go in front of the judge and plead no contest, and he would generally knock the fine down just because you showed up in court. These days, they don't want you to even do that - they basically have office personnel that are certified as some type of magistrate, and you fill out the paperwork with them to get the lowest fee - but it will be what the ticket was written for. Contesting in front of a judge now means additional fees, so it's generally not worth it.

Re:Juries? (5, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451636)

I'm starting to think that forcing the accused (in either civil or criminal proceedings) (and later found blameless) to pay for their defense and/or court appearance is a terrible injustice within our society.

5 MPH under? WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32451420)

I suggest driving 5mph under the speed limit because this leaves little room to dispute your ticket in court.

Uh no, this whole thing says you could be ticked for speeding even if driving 5 MPH under the limit. What that means to me is everyone should just drive whatever speed they want because it doesn't matter what the speed limits are, they apparently are only recommendations to be enforced by arbitrary decisions.

Been on tickets for a while (1)

prof187 (235849) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451428)

I remember seeing this on a ticket years ago. There were two boxes, one indicating that a radar gun was used, the other saying that the person was visibly speeding. I'm surprised it's taken this long to come up honestly. Though I was under the impression it was to get people who were obviously driving much faster than the speed limit, not for minor speeding.

What is next useing the EZ-pass times for Tickets? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451444)

What is next useing the EZ-pass times for Tickets?

Re:What is next useing the EZ-pass times for Ticke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32451630)

What is next useing the EZ-pass times for Tickets?

Too late, they have been doing that for years.

In other news... (4, Funny)

stagg (1606187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451494)

Ohio now allows police to guess whether or not pregnant mothers are carrying human offspring, or an animal hybrid. http://idle.slashdot.org/story/10/06/03/1422213/OH-Senate-Passes-Bill-Banning-Human-Animal-Hybrids [slashdot.org] In cases where animal hybrids are suspected, the Ohio police are to issue a ticket immediately.

Texas Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32451502)

This is similar to a Texas (and perhaps other states) law that puts evidence of Public Intoxication solely at the arresting officer's opinion. You can be arrested (and convicted) without any physical evidence.

More crazy laws (1)

kaptink (699820) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451536)

I'm interested to see this put to some scientific testing to see how acurate this method actually is. I think its crazy still and i'm just glad my government here in the UK is a tad more sane. I saw another article today about it now being an offence to take photos of police uniformed or plane clothed. Crazyness.

Don't visit NC (5, Interesting)

loki.TJ (959555) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451554)

I was written a ticket by a detective one morning. It was for 4mph over the limit. There was no traffic on the 5 lane road and I was in a business suit. After he left, I realized he had written the ticket to me, but was for a Ford Mustang. I drive a Dodge Charger.

So the court date rolled around and I showed up in court. The DA comes over and asks if I want to plead it down to an equipment violation. I tell him that wouldn't be legal as I didn't have any equipment violations and the detective wrote the ticket to the wrong type of vehicle.

The DA walks over to the detective and proceeds to have him write me a new ticket, making the change to the type of vehicle to reflect what I was driving. This was after the DA looked up my DMV records to find the correct type of vehicle.

We go in front of the judge and I have to question the detective. I ask him if he used a radar gun to clock me, which he didn't. I asked him if he was qualified to write tickets based on "pacing". He wasn't. I asked him if he knew how far down the road in either direction the speed limits changed. He didn't. This was relevant because I had just entered a 45 mph area from a 55 mph area.

The judge got tired of me reaming the detective and says "I really don't care what evidence you have, you're paying for the ticket. Dismissed." That was the end of that. Traffic court is a joke.

I would like to see this part tested (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451590)

Santimarino, a Copley patrolman since 1995, said he was trained at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy where officers have to be able to visually calculate speed within a few miles per hour of the posted speed limit to be certified.

Isn't that like an officer being able to tell the BAC of driver visually? There are many factors that can come into play in a visual determination that it is unlikely to be accurate. I'd like to see the certification and a demonstration of these techniques. Otherwise I'd have to call BS.

Apparently not... (1)

raving griff (1157645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451598)

I wonder whether the court would also accept a driver's own GPS log as exculpatory evidence.

Apparently not. [slashdot.org]

No faith in the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32451626)

I used to have some faith in the system. I believed that state troopers generally handed out valid tickets, and that if something was really wrong you could fight it in court and have half a chance. I have since been educated by a personal experience where three state troopers broke normally practiced procedures, accused me of doing something suicidal in a car that can't physically be done on ice, wrote and submitted a police report 11 weeks after the incident, and then lied in court by reading the bogus report verbatim. My guilty conviction on the ticket looked a little weird considering that my last ticket was in the late 1980s.

And then you read things like this, or the previous story about not being able to take audio or video because it might be interpreted as 'contempt of cop'. This is only traffic court, but basically having no standards for what evidence is required is what it comes down to. That is not reasonable.

And so I have no faith in the system, like many other people. I just hope when a squad car is nearby that the guy with the badge isn't in a bad mood because after what I experienced and what I've been reading I've got no chance in hell of fighting any ticket that might arise.

We have lost our way ..

Radar is often crap anyways (2, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451662)

By my experience you don't get to see any information on the radar until you show up to contest your ticket. At which point so much time has passed that you can't really be sure that the allegation hasn't been tampered with anyways.

Nonetheless fighting speeding tickets isn't that hard. In all my years of driving I have been issued tickets twice. Both times I went to court at the appointed time to contest the charge (two different counties of the same state, a few years apart). Both times because my record was clean I was offered a plea bargain - with "probationary" terms where they agreed not to report the violation as long as I was not pulled over in their county again for X number of months (or years I don't remember now). Either way I paid the plea bargain fine (one case lower another case higher than the citation) and was not pulled over again in the issuing county. For that matter, one of those counties I have never returned to since ...

Harder to get out of than you think... (4, Informative)

citylivin (1250770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451680)

I recently fought a speeding ticket in BC. I went to court, was prepared with radar gun manuals and specs, what I thought was the regulations regarding calibration and many other defences.

They were all struck down. Things that i learned:
- going down a hill, moving with the flow of traffic, not enough posted signs, and many other "commonly accepted" defences were explicitly stated by the judge as not holding any water.
- The police officer does NOT have to prove that the gun was calibrated in any way. His word that it was calibrated was "good enough" in the judges view.
- Police are trained to make a visual inspection of the speed. They MUST make a guess at your speed in their head before firing off the laser or radar gun. Their experience in estimating speed is treated the same as laser evidence.
- there is no "paper trail" on the gun, and they do not have to prove that the gun registered a certain number.
- the judge makes or breaks your case. its pretty much the whim of the judge whether you will get off on a technicality or not.
- bring some sort of previous case law that backs you up. I tried hard to find some relevant stuff, but obviously did not try hard enough.

So I lost, but it was fun actually, going through the motions.

Another thing i should say is that i was simply unlucky in the end. There were approximately 20 people there in the court fighting tickets, and 10 of them got to go scott free as their respective cops didnt even show up. No show = automatic win if you show up. So it is worth fighting every ticket and pleading not guilty, at least initally. Just dont expect to win if the cop shows up.

Just my 0.2 cents as I just did this a few weeks ago in BC canada. ymmv.

Judges... (4, Insightful)

doug141 (863552) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451706)

My uncle got a ticket for a speed higher than he was traveling, and the officer testified in court that speed was determined by time over distance between two very close markers. The officer thought the closer his markers, the more accurate the measurement. My uncle, a professor, tried to explain that human timing error meant that the closer the markers were, the LESS accurate the speed measurement was. The judge didn't understand, was frustrated, and finally said he thought my uncle was a speeder, and let the fine stand.

Fuck Ohio (1)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32451716)

Cant create hybrid clones, cant speed... WTF is that state coming too?

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