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Smart Phone Gets Driver Out of a Speeding Ticket

Roblimo posted more than 3 years ago | from the buckle-your-seatbelt-and-turn-on-your-GPS dept.

Crime 254

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Sahas Katta writes in Skattertech that a traffic cop pulled him over while driving home and gave him a speeding ticket but thanks to his Android, he ended up walking out of traffic court without having to pay a fine or adding a single point to his record. "I fortunately happened to have Google Tracks running when an officer cited me for speeding while heading back home from a friend's place," writes Katta. "The speed limit in the area was a mere 25 miles per hour and the cop's radar gun shockingly clocked me driving over 40 miles per hour." Once in court Katta asked the officer the last time he attended radar gun training, when the device was last calibrated, or the unit's model number — none of which the officer could answer. "I then presented my time stamped GPS data with details about my average moving speed and maximum speed during my short drive home. Both numbers were well within the posted speed limits," says Katta. "The judge took a moment and declared that I was not guilty, but he had an unusual statement that followed. To avoid any misinterpretations about his ruling, he chose to clarify his decision by citing the lack of evidence on the officer's part. He mentioned that he was not familiar enough with GPS technology to make a decision based on my evidence, but I can't help but imagine that it was an important factor.""

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The smart phone got him off? (5, Insightful)

BrowserCapsGuy (872795) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320558)

Guy gets a ticket, goes to court dressed respectfully, treats the judge with deference, geeks out to a clueless judge about his nifty new GPS toy, asks the cop something he heard a previous defendant's lawyer ask about lack of evidence that worked, and is found not guilty. The judge goes out of his way to note the GPS evidence played no part in the decision. How is this a story about a smart phone getting someone out of a ticket?

The glossy phone got him off? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35320580)

How is this a story about a smart phone getting someone out of a ticket?

Judge:I hereby sentence you to...OH NEW SHINEY!

Re:The glossy phone got him off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35320794)

It's clear as day that this judge and cop don't golf together. If they did, Katta would have been sentenced to hand out Bible tracks in Libya until dead.

Re:The glossy phone got him off? (1)

Frangible (881728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321242)

That's "Bible tracts". Love, Grammar Nazi

Re:The smart phone got him off? (2)

cstanley8899 (1998614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320608)

I doubt the judge was clueless about GPS but just wanted to move along quickly. So the GPS probably helped because it showed to the judge that the defendant was competent and trying to be honest. But to be official the judge didn't declare it as evidence since that would just take extra time (like bringing in a GPS expert).

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

MichaelKristopeit353 (1968162) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320650)

the GPS data didn't show anything as it could be falsified extremely easily.

you're an idiot.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35320884)

So could the records of the radar gun in all probability.

I don't know what sort of data GPS satellites store with regards to IDs of receivers in contact with it, but being military in origin, I'd imagine there is something there for that. Also ,it was probably assisted GPS and therefore logged on the server giving correction data and helping with the calculations.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320896)

So could the records of the radar gun in all probability.

In which case, it's your word against his, and the cop wins by default.

It's not just that GPS records can theoretically be falsified -- this is a smartphone app. It would be easy.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321698)

A "GPS" app that takes a starting location and a maximum speed and calculates the "average" speed, "maximum" speed and timestamps necessary between that point and your current location to not have been speeding would sell like hotcakes. "But officer, I couldn't have been speeding, my Android GPS says so."

Re:The smart phone got him off? (2)

resin8 (113625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320918)

The GPS unit in your phone or car only receives signals from the satellite, it's not a 2 way communication.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

MichaelKristopeit333 (1966806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320930)

a custom app could store an arbitrary data set relative to received GPS signal at the time of being pulled over. such data obviously never should, and never was evidence in any court case.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

MichaelKristopeit339 (1967532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320964)

So could the records of the radar gun in all probability.

the probability or possibility of an officer of the law tampering with evidence is not relevant, as the state assumes such things do not happen.

you're an idiot.

cower some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321682)

you're an idiot.

cower some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Do you use Vim macros to store your boilerplate insults in? It would probably save time in the long run.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321200)

There is special handling on scientific evidence. Namely before something can accepted as scientific evidence like DNA, ballistics, etc, the court must have some sort backing that the science is valid. Most of the time that involves the court asking an expert for their analysis of the matter. Both sides are free to present their own experts. The OP is right; this has more to do with the officer's testimony not being able to withstand scrutiny than the validity of the GPS data. IMO, the judge by his ruling and his comment.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320888)

Exactly. The Judge could have asked Katta the last time he attended GPS training, when the smartphone was last calibrated, or the unit's model number — none of which the Katta would be able to answer.

Just because the smartphone has GPS doesn't mean it's 100% accurate or that the software is reading it properly.

He let Katta out of the ticket because he was in a great mood and he put up a fight. I pay an attorney $45 to do that for me and I "get out" the tickets too without a fine. I have better things to do than wait 2 hours for my name to finally be called and argue with a judge that may or may not be in a good mood.

This is a story for the bar over beers, not a /. article.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35320976)

The burden of proof is on the prosecution, the defense does not have to be an expert GPS user, the cop does have to be an expert radar gun user to be the accuser/prosecution. His GPS data was just the zipper on the reasonable doubt bag.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (2)

shaitand (626655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321018)

"Exactly. The Judge could have asked Katta the last time he attended GPS training, when the smartphone was last calibrated, or the unit's model number — none of which the Katta would be able to answer."

He didn't get off because the judge was in a good mood. The judge didn't ask him those questions because the burden of proof is on the state, and its witness (the cop) not the defendant. Katta had no obligation to prove innocence but the state DID have an obligation to prove guilt.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321126)

The state had both evidence and an eyewitness. The defendant cant just pull out a pad of paper that claims he is innocent and get off; he must either discredit the states proof and witness, or provide evidence which does so, and unvetted GPS data wouldnt cut it if it were my decision.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321514)

and unvetted GPS data wouldnt cut it if it were my decision.

But the defense argument was that the state could not provide proof that the radar gun was ever vetted either. Thereby eliminating any real evidence.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (5, Informative)

shaitand (626655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320974)

The GPS is irrelevant. There are legal requirements for radar training and gun calibration. This is the standard way to get out of a speeding ticket. You know the whole innocent until proven guilty and the burden of proof is on the state thing.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321240)

The GPS is irrelevant. There are legal requirements for radar training and gun calibration. This is the standard way to get out of a speeding ticket. You know the whole innocent until proven guilty and the burden of proof is on the state thing.

Doesn't always work. My wife was in for a ticket when one cop on a bridge did the radar and another did the intercept, and she asked how he knew he got the right car. He said he just knew. She asked about how the constitution requires the burden of proof, and the judge said "This is traffic court, the constitution doesn't apply here!"

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321276)

That's because it doesn't apply. Notice that it's always state and local cops that write speeding tickets, and not federal cops...

You need to use local laws to get out of speeding tickets, not federal ones. If the cop is required to be trained every 6 months by state law, then you ask if he's been trained within that period. But that has nothing to do with the US Constitution, barring the provision where these rights are given to the states.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (3, Informative)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321684)

That is the most uninformed comment I've ever seen.

In every constitutional democracy the constitution is ABOVE everything. If a law, local or otherwise contradicts the constitution, it can be declared unconstitutional and derogated. If you have broken a law, and you can prove that the law was unconstitutional, you won't be prosecuted.

You don't need to ask permission to follow the constitution, and while following it, you can (in most countries) disregard laws if they conflict with the constitution.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321218)

Wrong. The judge cant accept that type of evidence unless there is a certified technician that can vouch for the validity of the data and corroborate it was not tampered with. Truth is the gun not being calibrated regularly is enough reason for a ticket to be dismissed, and most cops never calibrate their radar guns. The calibration frequency depends on the gun model, what makes the third question relevant.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321654)

No, the reason he didn't accept it as evidence is that it would:

a) establish jurisprudence.
b) held him liable.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321704)

Since its fairly easy to upload GPS information to the phone of your own creating and fake the timestamps, its not like its admissible anyway.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (0)

MichaelKristopeit352 (1968160) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320626)

How is this a story about a smart phone getting someone out of a ticket?

slashdot headlines are full of nothing but marketeering lies and ignorant hypocrisy.

slashdot = stagnated. that's how.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35320654)

How is this a story about a smart phone getting someone out of a ticket?

slashdot headlines are full of nothing but marketeering lies and ignorant hypocrisy.

slashdot = stagnated. that's how.

Perhaps you should just go back to 4chan then.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (0)

MichaelKristopeit353 (1968162) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320770)

i've never been to 4chan. you're an idiot.

cower some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic

Re:The smart phone got him off? (0)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320906)

i've never been to 4chan. you're an idiot.

cower some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic

You're leaving one thing unexplained.

If I didn't like a Web site and felt it had stagnated and was full of useless marketing and "ignorant hypocrisy" I wouldn't waste my time hanging around that site talking about how much I don't like it. Instead, I would go to a site more to my liking.

You're a fairly active poster. You went to the trouble of creating multiple accounts. You obviously invest a chunk of your time in this site. Now you complain about how much you don't like it. That is "ignorant hypocrisy" and it's yours.

I anticipate you'll do some more name-calling, talk about how badass you are because you use what you claim to be your real name, etc. The one thing you could do that would surprise anyone would be to answer me and explain why you're not the very hypocrite you're whining about. That is because the facts are clearly against you and you, sir, are too cowardly to admit when you're wrong. It's the one thing you don't have the guts to do.

Maybe you can fix that character flaw of yours before calling anyone else a coward or telling them how pathetic they are.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

MichaelKristopeit338 (1967530) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321000)

"When Injustice Becomes Law - Resistance Becomes Duty"
Thomas Jefferson

slashdot = stagnated.

cower behind your chosen pseudonym some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (0)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321064)

"When Injustice Becomes Law - Resistance Becomes Duty"

Thomas Jefferson

slashdot = stagnated.

cower behind your chosen pseudonym some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Prediction fulfilled. You have failed to answer a valid objection. Just like I said you would. You even failed the specific way I said you would.

For such a big brave man you certainly are afraid to answer a valid objection. Just think: you pride yourself on using your real name, and look down on everyone else for not doing the same. Yet you don't have the courage to do something almost everyone here is willing to do, and that's respond to a valid argument. You just provided one reason to consider you a coward and two reasons to consider you a hypocrite.

This is fun so far, at least for me. Though it's really not very sporting of me. It's like trying to have a battle of wits against an unarmed opponent who can only repeat himself like a broken record.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

MichaelKristopeit338 (1967530) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321128)

you certainly cowered as commanded.

the causality is you're completely pathetic.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321160)

you certainly cowered as commanded.

the causality is you're completely pathetic.

At this point I am beginning to feel sorry for you.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

avgjoe62 (558860) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321730)

No, no, don't stop!! Poke him some more - this was fun watching - and besides, the popcorn is ready now...

Re:The smart phone got him off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35320632)

It sounds like reasonable doubt to me. It helps to appear to be reasonable. Sounds like the phone served as an impartial witness which trumps mere table pounding.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320642)

How is this a story about a smart phone getting someone out of a ticket?

It's a Motorola ad...

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320644)

Guy gets a ticket, goes to court dressed respectfully, treats the judge with deference, geeks out to a clueless judge about his nifty new GPS toy, asks the cop something he heard a previous defendant's lawyer ask about lack of evidence that worked, and is found not guilty. The judge goes out of his way to note the GPS evidence played no part in the decision. How is this a story about a smart phone getting someone out of a ticket?

None really; this is just another "but with a computer!" type of story. The only notable aspect to it is that the judge was willing to consider both sides and didn't instantly assume that anyone who contradicts a cop must be a liar. That is, most traffic violations do ultimately boil down to your word against the cop's especially when it's something other than speeding.

I wonder if the guy had to pay any fees. In my state, they have a nice racket going. Here, you have to pay a "court fee" that's sometimes more than the cost of the ticket itself. You have to pay this even if you simply pay the ticket and never go to court to dispute it. You have to pay this even if you dispute the ticket and are found not guilty, so a cop can be completely wrong and still make you pay something (isn't that nice?). I wonder what my state tax dollars are being used for if they are not funding basic government functions such as the court system.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320862)

In general you don't pay any court fees if you are found not guilty, or the case is dropped or dismissed.

If you lose (i.e. you just pay the fine, you take defensive driving, you go to court and lose) then you pay the court fees, and whatever other fines are imposed on you.

Not that I even know what state you're in, but I've never heard of one where you had to pay court costs when you prevail in court.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320912)

I live in a state similar to the previous poster. Why should I have to pay "court fees" when I don't contest the ticket? If I chose to simply pay it and move on with life there are no court costs and therefore no justification for "court fees".

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321096)

I live in a state similar to the previous poster. Why should I have to pay "court fees" when I don't contest the ticket? If I chose to simply pay it and move on with life there are no court costs and therefore no justification for "court fees".

I think a judge still has to sign off on it in order to make it official. I can see how there might be some non-zero cost for that.

What I don't understand is why I am paying state taxes if that money isn't for basic government functions like the court system. I should either pay usage fees or taxes. Requiring me to pay both is double-dipping.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (2)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321260)

It boils down to punishing you for being accused even if you're not guilty. I think that's just wrong. I think if you're found not guilty they should have to reimburse you for your lost time, or be punished themselves for false accusations. It would only be fair.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321294)

Maybe I wasn't clear ... when you just pay the ticket, you basically plead "guilty" and waive your right to a trial. You have lost, and the "court fees" are part of the fine you have to pay.

But ... if you go to court and win, or you get them to dismiss the charges somehow, then you've won, and you do not have to pay court fees or anything else. (Any money you paid for a lawyer or expert witnesses is gone, of course.)

Perhaps it's not fair that you have "court fees" if you never went to court, but the court still has some paperwork and stuff to do on your behalf, and you've been found guilty (if you just pay the fees) and so they charge you the penalty. Consider them to be part of the fine.

If you do actually go to court and lose, the court fees could cost a lot more, especially if you had a jury trial. (The specifics would vary from place to place.)

Re:The smart phone got him off? (3, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320668)

Its a story about how no judge is going to establish a precedent wherein evidence not under the court's or police department's control will be admitted. Its the same sort of hissy fit they throw when you video some cop doing dirt [slashdot.org] .

Its their game and we are not allowed to play.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (5, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320714)

Its a story about how no judge is going to establish a precedent wherein evidence not under the court's or police department's control will be admitted. Its the same sort of hissy fit they throw when you video some cop doing dirt [slashdot.org].

Or it's a story about a judge who is presented evidence that could very well be fabricated but didn't need it so ruled as he would have ruled anyway and ignored the piece of information which would then have to be vetted, analyzed and contested by expert witnesses.

"Your honor I wasn't speeding because I had the particular Radar Gun re-calibrated by a certified repair facility and it was 15mph fast. Also I have tinfoil underwear which gives me the illusion of looking like I'm moving faster than I am."
"I dismiss the speeding ticket against you... but I do so ignoring the claim about your underwear."
"OMG IT WAS THE UNDERWEAR!"

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320926)

Where can I purchase this underwear you've described?

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1, Funny)

Hittman (81760) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321296)

You have to be a Mormon.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (5, Interesting)

LVWolfman (301977) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321084)

I went through a similar thing here in Las Vegas about ten years ago when I was working a paper route. I was driving a '92 Buick, sitting in the left turn lane of a major intersection at about 4AM. I sat through three complete cycles of the traffic lights without ever getting a left turn green light.

I had four choices:
1. Wait until the intersection was clear and safe and then carefully make my left turn.
2. Go straight on the green light for straight, but doing so from the wrong lane.
3. Back up to where I could get in the proper lane, but breaking the laws regarding reversing more than 150 feet on a public roadway or breaking the law regarding changing lanes within 150 feet of an intersection.
4. Abandon my vehicle and find a pay phone to call 311 (non-emergency police number) for advice and to report the malfunctioning signal.

I chose option one. Cross traffic was stopped as my direction had a green light for straight ahead.

Of course, there was a police office sitting in traffic to my right, who promptly hit the lights and sirens as I turned and pulled me over.

"I can't believe that you did that in front of me!" he yelled.
I explained what happened, he handed me a ticket for making an illegal turn and failing to obey a traffic control device, telling me to "Tell it to the judge."

It took me three appearances at the courthouse before I could see a judge just for the arraignment AND I had to pay bail BEFORE the arraignment because I was pleading not guilty.

When I gave the judge my plea, he called me to the bench and offered to convert it to a no point parking ticket. I refused and told him "I'm not guilty your honor, taking the deal would be admitting guilt."

He sighed and said "Ok, I'm not supposed to hear testimony at an arraignment but tell me your story".
I did.
He then said "And you want me to make a ruling regarding which was the proper choice? You're not getting from me. CASE DISMISSED!"

He then told me quietly, "I'd have done the same thing in your situation."

Yes, it cost me more in time off than the fine would have been, but it was the principle of the thing. Plus I really wanted a judge to rule on the situation.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321544)

So neither you, the cop, nor the judge were aware of the actual Nevada laws on broken traffic lights, eh? Basically, you treat it as a stop sign. Most states have similar laws, and often require waiting through a certain number of cycles or minutes. http://www.ehow.com/list_6847632_traffic-laws-nevada.html [ehow.com]

Re:The smart phone got him off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35321744)

Broken = not lit up at all, numbnuts.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

Idarubicin (579475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321110)

Its a story about how no judge is going to establish a precedent wherein evidence not under the court's or police department's control will be admitted....

It's a (non-)story about how no judge is going to establish a precedent wherein evidence derived from a device not tested or examined by the court or by expert witnesses is implicitly assumed reliable. The court wasn't willing to accept radar gun evidence where the operator couldn't prove he had been appropriately trained or that the device had been properly calibrated; why would the court accept the (putative) output of an untested smartphone app?

Re:The smart phone got him off? (2)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320670)

This doesn't even have anything to do with the GPS itself. You're pretty much always going to get out of a simple speeding ticket if you take it that far.

The one time I was ever cited a speeding ticket, I jumped through all of their hoops (so-called mayor's court twice for the tiny village before finally getting to the real court) before being told out in the hallway that the case was being dismissed because they "wouldn't have time for it today". Of course, I showed up on time on each occurrence, was well dressed, and had a briefcase full of documents showing just how fucked up the timeline had been in relation to my trial. Between my general presentation and the way I had handled the village's mayor earlier when he tried to dick me around, I'm sure they were in no mood to waste their time. :P

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320772)

Was it really worth your time?
I had a situation where I got pulled over as part of a speed trap (this was perfectly legitimate one that I shouldn't have gotten caught in, but I was just a little bit out of it that day and it didn't register what the presence of the cop cars up ahead meant). I was driving for a living at the time, so I contested it to get out of the points. They scheduled 15-20 of us on the same day at the same time. A police department representative showed up and offered us a deal, no points and a reduced fine. One guy decided that since the officer who wrote the ticket wasn't there he was going to fight even that. The judge told him, "OK, you can go. We will send you a letter telling you when we schedule your hearing." The fine I paid was less than the amount it would have cost me to take off another day to come back.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (2)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321078)

My schedule worked out to the point that I only had to take one day off of work. Of course... the entire thing took several hours, over the course of about five days, which ran for two months. It probably wouldn't have been worth the time or trouble for most people, and that's exactly what the cops count on. Personally, the satisfaction I had afterward made up for it all. But that's just me, and I love sticking it to the government, and especially to cops. Never mind that the circumstances were highly questionable and my pride and honor were at stake. Besides, because of it, my record remains absolutely spotless. ;)

Re:The smart phone got him off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35320694)

How is this a story about a smart phone getting someone out of a ticket?

Because Slashdot "editors" are fucktards?

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

jappleng (1805148) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320786)

Hey, they may be fucktards but they are editors and above you. Respect them like you should respect the law (lol jk editors!). Actually I'm not sure what lesson this article is trying to convey but here in California, they would take away your smartphone so you lose your evidence :( At any rate, you shouldn't be hiding in the shadows as an anonymous coward while calling people names, that's dishonorable and very rude.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35320752)

The judge went out of his way to make sure he didn't set a legal precedent. He didn't want his name possibly being linked to a ruling when he wasn't sure of the technology. The officer's inability to prove the findings were legitimate was all that was needed anyways.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

singingjim1 (1070652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320842)

You beat me to the punch. My response is, stop imagining what was an important factor. This is such a non story. My lack of faith in the /. editors is growing more disturbing.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (2)

Tehrasha (624164) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320882)

No kidding. People get out of speeding tickets for the very reasons he stated, -without- GPS data, all the time.

Re:The smart phone got him off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35321134)

One time I got a ticket for something that wasn't even illegal and didn't involve driving. I went to court with a copy of the California statute that said what I was doing was not illegal. I had been ticketed for riding in the trunk of a car, which in California is legal was legal as long as no body parts protruded from the trunk (think riding in a pickup). The judge told me, and I quote, "I don't care what the law says, guilty!"

Re:The smart phone got him off? (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321172)

He also may had prayed the previous night, proving God is not only real, but that he can get you out of tickets.

Seriously, a judge going out of his way to clarify something is not part of the ruling is not just to avoid precedent. Officers failing to calibrate the radar gun alone can lead to bad readings and will get a ticket dismissed.

cool story bro (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320604)

Dunno about your phone, but my Droid's GPS is /not/ a precision instrument; it's routinely off by dozens of feet.

Dozens of feet over a quarter mile (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35320636)

gives you a 2% error in speed, or 25 +/- 0.5 mph

Re:cool story bro (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320852)

The absolute positional accuracy of a GPS sensor is not important in this case. Any error present tends to remain the same, or nearly so, from sample to sample (high precision). This keeps the cumulative error small for relative measurements like when computing the mean velocity between sample points.

Re:cool story bro (2)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321136)

Presumably the navigation data is filtered intelligently. A talented undergrad can write a decent Kalman filter, so I'd assume the one Google uses is decent also.

Taking the precision into account, knowing that cars move in straight lines and curves (not jaggies), and that the velocities change relatively smoothly, you can get a much better estimate of the velocity than simply taking the difference of two positions and dividing the time. It won't account for constant biases, but those won't affect your velocity estimate anyway.

Re:cool story bro (2, Informative)

chgros (690878) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321752)

GPS doesn't measure speed by looking at how your position changes; it uses the doppler effect, which is fairly accurate.
http://gpsinformation.net/main/gpsspeed.htm [gpsinformation.net]

i can't help but imagine less ignorant hypocrisy (1)

MichaelKristopeit400 (1972448) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320610)

no evidence -> no case... judge explicitly states the "GPS evidence" did not weigh at all, the same as a note from mommy was presented that swore her little angel would never speed would weight.

keep imagining, moron.

you're an idiot.

shocked... (0)

Roskolnikov (68772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320612)

By his own admission he was using google while driving.

Re:shocked... (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320696)

There's a big difference between having a GPS tracker running and actually looking at the screen.

Clocked at 40? KM/hr perhaps... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35320614)

25 MPH happens to be approximately 40KMH.

Me thinks the cop was incompetent or malicious and had the setting on Metric....

Do police radar allow you to choose units?

(Imperial police should not use metric units)

Re:Clocked at 40? KM/hr perhaps... (1)

jappleng (1805148) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320804)

That's actually a very good point, and another thing I would like to add is that every time a cop stops someone for speeding they should be able to archive video evidence until it can be purged. Maybe that's how it's done usually? I don't know, heck, I have never really seen inside a police car before so I have no idea how things are done in the police world. I only have police academy to help me visualize how it might be...

Phone got him off -- Judge avoided precedent (2)

tgrigsby (164308) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320620)

I'm going to guess that, yes, the phone got him out of the ticket, but only because the judge wanted to avoid setting a precedent by expressly ignoring it. I'd say his evidence was clear enough, but the judge wanted to avoid being the judge to rule that an app on someone's mobile device constitutes indisputable evidence, and the lack of evidence on the officer's part gave him the necessary out.

Re:Phone got him off -- Judge avoided precedent (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35320942)

No. The phone is irrelevant. The judge only made that statement to avoid phone data being used in the future.

What got him off was the questions about training, calibration, and model number of the radar unit. This is get-out-of-a-speeding-ticket-101.

Re:Phone got him off -- Judge avoided precedent (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35321256)

Traffic court, like small claims, does not set precedent.

Re:Phone got him off -- Judge avoided precedent (1)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321378)

They can set a persuasive precedent, I think that's what most people here are referring to.

Where did that happen? (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320672)

The last time I was issued a speeding ticket (around 10 or more years ago) I never met with a judge. I went to argue that the ticket was bullshit, as it required my ~80hp car with 3 men (including myself) in it to have accelerated from 0 to 45 in about 10 feet. However when I went to argue against the ticket I was greeted by a district attorney (DA) instead of a judge. I was told if I wanted to meet with a judge I would need to schedule another date beyond the one that I was there for, or I could talk to the DA and see if I could get a plea deal from them.

The DA saw I had a spotless record, and gave me a deal where I paid a lesser fine, and no offense was reported in my name provided I was not pulled over again in their county for at least 1 full year. I took that deal because I didn't want to go back there, and have never been in that county since.

Nonetheless my understanding is that my experience was fairly typical. I have heard that few jurisdictions place a speeding ticket in front of a judge immediately.

Re:Where did that happen? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320706)

It still sucks if you're not actually guilty, but I understand the temptation to take the deal.

Re:Where did that happen? (1)

jroysdon (201893) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320782)

Around here you always want to protest the ticket and put up whatever evidence you can and hope the officer doesn't show. You can do it via the mail as well (just write your facts, again, hope the officer doesn't send in anything). So long as you don't incriminate yourself, and the officer presents no evidence, you must be found not guilty.

Plus, even if you are found guilty, you can still opt to go to traffic school and have it removed from your record (but you have to pay the fine), so long as you haven't been to traffic school in the last 18 months.

Re:Where did that happen? (2)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320830)

Around here you always want to protest the ticket and put up whatever evidence you can and hope the officer doesn't show. You can do it via the mail as well (just write your facts, again, hope the officer doesn't send in anything). So long as you don't incriminate yourself, and the officer presents no evidence, you must be found not guilty.

Plus, even if you are found guilty, you can still opt to go to traffic school and have it removed from your record (but you have to pay the fine), so long as you haven't been to traffic school in the last 18 months.

And this would be false. If the officer doesn't show, the judge will issue a continuance if he so chooses. Just because someone doesn't show up doesn't automatically mean the case is dismissed. More of then than not, the judge will set a later court date. Now, if one of the parties habitually misses the court date, then yes the judge is likely to dismiss. However, there is no law requiring the judge to dismiss a case because one of the parties didn't show up.

Re:Where did that happen? (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320750)

/sunday morning quarterbacking that nobody would probably actually do:

Should have played hard ball. If you point out that the reduced fine would be smaller than the Judge's time then you could point out that by their own admission your crime was worth less than meeting with the judge and should therefore be $0, or they could spend the extra. Leave on the probationary clause though to make them feel like it's a fair trade. ;)

Racket (4, Insightful)

cdn-programmer (468978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320970)

You participated in a racket and were ripped off and now you are proud? Its clowns like you who don't fight that encourage them to continue the racket.

I had my car towed across the street once... a construction crew wanted to dig up my side. I have no problem with that. What I didn't like was the ticket for parking in the no parking zone. The issue is the no parking zone showed up probably at 7 am in the morning after I left.

You better believe I fought them! racket. Ont he way home from winning (for the wrong reasons... racket remember) I met my neighbor who had also been parked. I asked him why he didn't get a ticket. He said he did and he paid it.

Its people like my neighbor who encourage this abuse by paying.

Rule of thumb. Fight ALL tickets. Never allow them to profit from the racket and we'll hopefully get the racket more under control.

Re:Racket (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321184)

Not necessarily all...

I got a ticket that was blatantly my own fault. I had parked directly under a no-parking sign.

I missed it when I parked (this was on Wilshire in the Westwood area, where there is ZERO parking).

Is the submission credible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35320682)

Is there any evidence to back the author's claim? because it reads like a junior high fib.

Cell phones interfere with the radar (0)

yalap (1443551) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320722)

Those new phones interfere with everything and it threw off the radar. Isn't that what happened? No, all you have to do is clock one person at the beginning of the shift and don't reset it all day. Much easier than actually using it.

In a world full of speeders (1)

makubesu (1910402) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320904)

the cop has the rotten luck of pulling over the one honest guy.

My judge throws these out automatically (4, Informative)

Mad-cat (134809) | more than 3 years ago | (#35320910)

If an officer testifying in my jurisdiction's traffic court can't say when they were trained in radar, when their radar was calibrated, and what model of radar they use, the citation is automatically dismissed. I have certifications for all three of those that I present in evidence immediately after giving general testimony. The smart phone is completely irrelevant to this case.

Essentially, lacking the predicate to introduce the radar into evidence, the officer was saying "he was speeding because I said so, and therefore I wrote him a ticket." Of course the judge threw it out.

New Jersey Traffic Court version (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321022)

I was once in a traffic court in New Jersey dealing with other matters, so I got to watch them do the easy cases first. The officers all start off saying "Here's my radar gun, model X, I calibrated it first thing that morning, here's the results, blah blah." I have no way to tell if they're telling the truth, but they've at least got the story down to say they're doing everything by the book.

Last time I actually got pulled over for speeding was years ago, out in the Colorado mountains. Cop stopped me, said "Sir, we clocked you at 64mph, we're within township boundaries so the speed limit's 55", and he and I both knew I hadn't been going anywhere near that slowly, and that he was giving me a number that I couldn't argue with, plus it sounded like it was just under the boundary between the cheap ticket and the expensive ticket, and I apologized and said I should have been paying more attention, and he let me off with a warning.

Calling BS on this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35321020)

Been around long enough to know this doesn't actually happen. Good story though.

Lack of evidence, not presense of the GPS (1)

erice (13380) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321068)

The key was challenging the officers training and the calibration of the radar. The GPS was completely unnecessary. That fact that the officer could not validate his radar reading meant that, in the eyes of the law, he had no evidence. No evidence = case dismissed. If the calibration date were given but it was a little old, *then* the GPS data might have been useful. If the radar were calibrated recently, the defendant probably would have lost. An officer of the law wielding an official, calibrated instrument vs a consumer device of unknowable accuracy whose data could have tampered with is no contest.

Nope, it was the lack of evidence. (2)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321156)

The GPS data is no better than your word; it could be easily faked.

It is not from an independent, trusted third party.

Basically the whole story about the smart phone and the GPS data is a long-winded way of entering a "not guilty" plea.

I've seen an inexperienced, young cop in traffic court lose something like eight cases in a row because he could not produce evidence.

Everything from speeding, to red lights, to parking more than 30cm from the curb.

I had a brilliant defense planned against my charge of running a yellow light, but I didn't get a chance to present it; the judge asked the officer for evidence first, and since there wasn't any, all I had to do was enter my plea of no guilty.

I don't understand why he bothered to show up that day, other than to get paid.

Doesn't always go that way, though (3, Interesting)

JohnnyComeLately (725958) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321262)

I crossed a cop for about 3 hours in Vista County (San Diego). The judge recessed twice for a break during my cross. By the time I was done I'd gotten him to admit he had no idea how the thing operated (beam width, etc) and didn't know a single warning from the owners manual. I even pointed out his unit had been duct taped (an aftermarket modification). Still found guilty. The lack of certificate was your ticket killer.

Re:Doesn't always go that way, though (1)

mpascal (1158165) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321406)

I saw a trial in Glendale, CA of someone cross examining a cop for an hour for a radar ticket. He was amazingly good but he lost. The cop had all his paperwork in order. The defendant got some recognition from the judge though. He got the fine reduced to nothing pleading poverty and he got to go to traffic school which is almost never granted AFTER a trial.

Re:Doesn't always go that way, though (1)

Deputy Doodah (745441) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321566)

Vista is a city located in San Diego County.
There is no Vista County.

Imma get that app! (2, Interesting)

tkprit (8581) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321320)

I think the state couldn't prove its case, and judges tend to respect people who at least try to put up a decent defense (road was empty and relative in ER) — showing up with an app that showed your top speed and avg speed, that's more impressive than a sob story any day, imo.

(I always have to delete my in-car computer data when pulled over... my top speeds fall in category of wreckless driving, and I'm paranoid cops will check it out. But good for this guy staying @ or under speed limit... or 'adjusting' the data before the trial.)

Re:Imma get that app! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35321476)

my top speeds fall in category of wreckless driving, and I'm paranoid cops will check it out.

That sounds like a very safe speed to me.

Lack of evidence (1)

s4dfish (672747) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321340)

If the officer can't testify that his radar device is properly calibrated than there's no evidence that anything it provides is valid. But go ahead and think it's your phone...

Its not the smartphone. (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321364)

In Germany its a standard recommendation that if if the police catches you when speeding to ask for the calibration protocol of the device. There is a good chance you never will hear again from them.

And as a physicist: i agree. A meter which you have not calibrated and tested as prescribed in the instructions is worth nothing - there is no evidence that anybody was speeding; i would agree that he was speeding if the difference of measured vs allowed exceed the calibration range.

Re:Its not the smartphone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35321478)

    In the US it is also a standard recommendation that you ask about calibration if fighting a ticket. If it is not well documented or calibrated within a set amount of time, you beat the ticket. This is a non-story.

GPS and Radar measure different things (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321444)

It is quite possible for GPS to measure 25 MPH and Radar to measure 40 and they both be correct.

Radar measures instantaneous speed while most GPS software records position deltas over much much larger time scales (many seconds) to conserve resources (battery,cpu,storage)

The 5.0 invest great deal of time and effort selecting areas where vechicles are most likely to exceed the posted limit at a given locale even if only for a few moments.

Re:GPS and Radar measure different things (1)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | more than 3 years ago | (#35321758)

Wouldn't you need to accelerate and decelerate exceedingly quickly for you to have an average speed of 25 within the, let's say, 3 seconds it takes your GPS to update if you went 40 for, at least, an instant during that time?

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