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  1. #1

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    Default If you drive in Ohio...don't!

    http://www.dispatch.com/live/content...d.html?sid=101

    From The Columbus Dispatch:

    OHIO SUPREME COURT
    Police officer's estimate good enough for speeding ticket
    Justices uphold citation against Akron-area driver
    Wednesday, June 2, 2010 11:23 AM
    By James Nash
    THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

    Attention lead foots: Police don't need radar to cite you for speeding.

    The Ohio Supreme Court ruled this morning that an officer trained to estimate speed by sight doesn't need an electronic gauge to catch speeders.

    The 5-1 ruling was a defeat for 27-year-old Akron-area motorist Mark W. Jenney and speeders across the state. Jenney had challenged a visual speed estimate by a Copley police officer, but a trial court and the 9th District Court of Appeals upheld his conviction.

    The 8th District Court of Appeals, based in Cleveland, has ruled that police need more than sight alone to meet the standard needed to convict someone of speeding.

    "The Eighth District stands alone in holding that an officer's visual estimation of the speed of a vehicle is insufficient to support a finding of guilt, and we agree with the courts that have found the opposite," Supreme Court Justice Maureen O'Connor wrote for the majority. "Rational triers of fact could find a police officer's testimony regarding his unaided visual estimation of a vehicle's speed, when supported by evidence that the officer is trained, certified by (the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy) or a similar organization, and experienced in making such estimations, sufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant's speed. Independent verification of the vehicle's speed is not necessary to support a conviction for speeding."

    Justice Terrence O'Donnell dissented, saying that courts should have more discretion to determine the credibility of an officer's visual speed estimate. Chief Justice Eric Brown, who joined the court after the case was heard, did not participate in the ruling.

    During arguments in the case, lawyers for the state and for Barberton -- the venue where Jenney's case was heard -- argued that police can cite drivers for other infractions such as following too closely based on their visual judgments alone.

    Jenney's lawyer responded that there should be more than just a visual impression, but he could not say whether a radar or laser speed measurement would be necessary.
    Anyone who has ticked off a cop in Ohio better get busy makin' nice!
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    Oh god....please dont let the Communistwealth of Virginia hear about this!
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    They must need more money.
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    Wow, that's...terrible.
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    If anyone lives in Ohio out there, you best not be voting for those who passed this law.
    If you will it, dude, it is no dream.

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    Well, while it sounds scary, I would suppose that it all depends on the circumstances. Does it take a genius to know when somebody is travelling at 60 mph in a 30 mph zone? No. Our street is limited to 25 mph, and you can pretty much tell by engine noise, and the braking effort needed to stop at the end of it, when a vehicle is at least 10 mph over that. If you're a Police Officer used to guessing who's speeding while on traffic duty using a device in the past, wouldn't you become fairly accurate at guessing who's speeding, even without the device?

    Similarly, when travelling on the freeway at 65-70 mph, do you need to be a genius to estimate somebody is doing at least 75 mph in the 65 mph zone when they pass you out? Probably not. The problem, obviously, would be any abuse by an unscrupulous Officer that such a precedent might allow. How on earth could you defend yourself in court against a "bad guess"?
    Alea jacta est!

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    I've always hated driving through Ohio. On I-75, everyone is afraid to speed more than about 5 over. The truckers don't speed either, but they will block both lanes for miles just to overtake another truck that is going about 0.3 MPH slower.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kex View Post
    Similarly, when travelling on the freeway at 65-70 mph, do you need to be a genius to estimate somebody is doing at least 75 mph in the 65 mph zone when they pass you out? Probably not. The problem, obviously, would be any abuse by an unscrupulous Officer that such a precedent might allow. How on earth could you defend yourself in court against a "bad guess"?
    60 in a 30, yes, easy to identify, but 75 vs 65 on the interstate? No way. Very difficult to judge visually, especially if the vehicle is alone with no reference. Tire noise and engine noise vary greatly between vehicles and the size of the vehicle can play optical illusions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kex View Post
    Well, while it sounds scary, I would suppose that it all depends on the circumstances. Does it take a genius to know when somebody is travelling at 60 mph in a 30 mph zone? No. Our street is limited to 25 mph, and you can pretty much tell by engine noise, and the braking effort needed to stop at the end of it, when a vehicle is at least 10 mph over that. If you're a Police Officer used to guessing who's speeding while on traffic duty using a device in the past, wouldn't you become fairly accurate at guessing who's speeding, even without the device?

    Similarly, when travelling on the freeway at 65-70 mph, do you need to be a genius to estimate somebody is doing at least 75 mph in the 65 mph zone when they pass you out? Probably not. The problem, obviously, would be any abuse by an unscrupulous Officer that such a precedent might allow. How on earth could you defend yourself in court against a "bad guess"?
    Shocking, our local California defender defending even more restrictive and subjective lawmaking.


    I once got a ticket in Ohio, as a passenger, for not wearing my seatbelt. It was somehow considered a moving violation. I was not driving. Eff you Ohio.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billbillw View Post
    60 in a 30, yes, easy to identify, but 75 vs 65 on the interstate? No way.
    Next time you're on the interstate at a normal speed (within 5 mph of the posted limit, for example), and another car goes by at what seems to be a significantly faster pace (but not outrageous) try and catch it up and see what it takes. I'm not convinced it's that hard to guess to within 10 mph if you have "training".

    Very difficult to judge visually, especially if the vehicle is alone with no reference. Tire noise and engine noise vary greatly between vehicles and the size of the vehicle can play optical illusions.
    Difficult, yes; impossible, no. Hence, the need for "training" or experience, but how do you determine how much of that is sufficient for court worthy accuracy?!
    Alea jacta est!

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kex View Post
    Next time you're on the interstate at a normal speed (within 5 mph of the posted limit, for example), and another car goes by at what seems to be a significantly faster pace (but not outrageous) try and catch it up and see what it takes. I'm not convinced it's that hard to guess to within 10 mph if you have "training".

    Difficult, yes; impossible, no. Hence, the need for "training" or experience, but how do you determine how much of that is sufficient for court worthy accuracy?!
    I have no evidence to back this us...but I'm going to go out on a whim here and say that a reasonable person is never going to pass a cop speeding that much over the speed limit.

    Rather, this is going to be taken as an individuals traveling on the opposite side of the road...or if a policeman is stopped and 'looking' at people coming towards him.

    I'm also 90% sure, at least in Texas, that an individual can get pulled over for speeding if a cop car is keeping pace with the individual and using their speedometer as reference...I would imagine this goes for other states as well....and I'm also thinking comparing it to a speedo is not what they had in mind when they passed this in ohio.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobman1235 View Post
    Shocking, our local California defender defending even more restrictive and subjective lawmaking. ...
    Don't pretend to be obtuse. If you've ever been to L.A. you'll know that speeding is rampant here, so don't think that lawmaking here, or its enforcement, is nearly as "restrictive" as you might like to suggest.

    I'm ceratinly not defending "restrictive and subjective lawmaking", as you call it. I'm just not as cynical about law enforcement (and some of the excellent officers we have at our local Sheriff's station) as you must be, but yes: this law does seem to leave the door open to abusive enforcement ... it won't be the first or the last, and it all depends on how it is applied in reality.
    Last edited by Kex; 06-03-2010 at 01:44 PM. Reason: He he he! Milder language and added diplomacy!
    Alea jacta est!

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    There is a big difference between judging the speed of a car that is passing you in the same direction and judging the speed of a moving car from a stationary point, OR, judging the speed of a car traveling in the opposite direction. The article linked above doesn't give the details on how this particular infraction was observed.

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    I don't think it's stupid to require the burden of proof to be put on those in power.

    I know you're one of those who thinks that cops are all sunshine and rainbows from a fairy tale, but in reality a good chunk of them are douchebags on a power trip who barely got out of high school. If you tell them they can pull anyone over and give them a ticket based solely on their word that they "seemed like" they were speeding, and that is admissible, you are opening yourself up to a WORLD of hurt.

    As far as speeding being "rampant" in LA... on what planet? The only thing rampant in LA seems to be "going 20 mph below the speed limit" and sitting at green lights for 30 seconds.
    If you will it, dude, it is no dream.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobman1235 View Post
    I don't think it's stupid to require the burden of proof to be put on those in power.
    Especially when there are monetary gains to be made and the action of those in power contributes to their revenue stream.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobman1235 View Post
    ... As far as speeding being "rampant" in LA... on what planet? The only thing rampant in LA seems to be "going 20 mph below the speed limit" and sitting at green lights for 30 seconds.
    Either you have never been here, or you are flat out lying.
    Alea jacta est!

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kex View Post
    Either you have never been here, or you are flat out lying.
    I've been to and driven in LA many times. The vast majority of my experience has been sitting in traffic, and getting stuck behind Toyota pickups being driven far too slow because the driver is likely "undocumented" and either unfamiliar with American road laws or afraid to be pulled over.

    I don't know what "rampant speeding" means. Are there kids in ricers blowing down the highway at 100mph? Sure. I don't think any new laws need to be made to deal with them. There's already a subjective "reckless driving" law on the books in every municipality in the country.

    If rampant speeding to you means "everyone goes 80 on the highway", then... I hate to break it to you but there's rampant speeding on every highway I've ever driven on in this country, and that's quite a few of them.
    If you will it, dude, it is no dream.

  18. #18

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    Ok, there is more to this than the article revealed. If you go to the court case details, it has this:

    On July 3, 2008, Officer Christopher R. Santimarino was in a marked patrol car running stationary radar at southbound traffic on State Route 21 in Copley Township, Ohio. The posted speed limit in that location is 60 miles per hour.

    Santimarino observed Jenney driving a black SUV in the left lane of Route 21 in moderate to heavy traffic. Santimarino determined that Jenney was traveling faster than the posted speed limit, initiated a traffic stop, and issued Jenney a citation for traveling 79 miles per hour in a 60-mile-per-hour zone in violation of R.C. 4511.21.

    At trial, Santimarino testified that he had been employed as a patrolman with the Copley Police Department for 13 years. He testified that he was certified by OPOTA and had been working in traffic enforcement since 1995. Santimarino testified that as part of his OPOTA training, he was trained to visually estimate the speed of a vehicle. 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. Further, Santimarino testified that since becoming a police officer in 1995, he had performed hundreds of visual estimations. Santimarino testified that based on his training and experience, he had estimated that Jenney’s vehicle was
    traveling 70 miles per hour on July 3, 2008.

    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.2 Santimarino could not produce a copy of his radar-training certification when defense counsel requested he do so on the day of trial.

    Santimarino also testified that Jenney was traveling at an unreasonable speed for the conditions, given the other traffic in close proximity to his vehicle.

    In light of both his visual estimation and the radar reading, Santimarino initiated a traffic stop and issued Jenney a citation for traveling 79 miles per hour in a 60 mile per hour zone in violation of R.C. 4511.21. Santimarino testified that he reduced the rate of speed to 79 miles per hour to “give Jenney a break on the personal appearance in court,” which is required for speeds 20 miles per hour or more over the speed limit.
    Bottom line, the guy was doing 80+ in a 60, he was caught on radar, but the cop couldn't produce a radar training certificate, so the weight of evidence fell on his 'visual estimation' of 70, a much lighter ticket.

  19. #19

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    Like most cases, the specific case in question may be cut and dry but the precedent it sets is much more scary.
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    Time out.

    The guy was certified and tested and had to be able to estimate speed within 3-4mph, and he was off by 12mph in this case?

    How about we just stick to radar guns, ok? I don't want a cop visually estimating my speed if he's got a total margin of error of 24mph. I'm good on all that.
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  21. #21

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    No. He estimated 79. She was going 82. He dropped it down to 70.
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    Actually I misread. You're correct.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobman1235 View Post
    ... I know you're one of those who thinks that cops are all sunshine and rainbows from a fairy tale, ...
    Only the ones on Club Polk!

    ... but in reality a good chunk of them are douchebags on a power trip who barely got out of high school. If you tell them they can pull anyone over and give them a ticket based solely on their word that they "seemed like" they were speeding, and that is admissible, you are opening yourself up to a WORLD of hurt. ...
    That's where the problem lies, obviously, not the principles of law enforcement per se.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobman1235 View Post
    Like most cases, the specific case in question may be cut and dry but the precedent it sets is much more scary.
    As stated earlier, the point is: how do you defend yourself against an educated guess, although, in this case, enforcement seems to have been fairly reasonable, especially with the aggravating circumstance of "moderate to heavy traffic" at the time.
    Last edited by Kex; 06-03-2010 at 02:30 PM. Reason: Police Officers should be required to listen to music for an hour every day!
    Alea jacta est!

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    I've heard that's just to keep all the people from New Jersey from coming over.
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    Anybody living in this area should know better than to even attempt to try to speed. So whether she got ticketed because of radar or approximation, it's her own damn fault for speeding(I see everyday the amount of people speeding in this area). It's no secret the cops in these suburbs where I live don't have a whole lot to do lol. I've been pulled over in my truck just because according to the cop, my truck belongs in the mountains(mind you this was after midnight on a weekend in July, nobody else on the road) My brother was pulled as well in his truck and ticketed for bumper height, which he went to court for and the judge threw out the ticket cuz the cop didn't measure. He even asked my brother if the cop was having a bad day for giving him a ticket for that lol They also like to use the helicopters and planes a lot here to get you(my friend 2 weeks ago by helicopter:o) But anyways yeah, if you drive through Ohio watch your speed especially on main interstates like, I71, 77, 75, 80, 271. These are hot spots for statees. I saw 10-15 people pulled over this past Saturday morning within 5 mins of each other on I77.
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    WTF do you guys keep saying SHE? The defendants name was Mark!

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    Oh and I almost forgot, The cop involved is my dad's friend. He's actually a great guy, has helped my brother and I out before. And those arguing about how he could judge how fast he was going, the speeder was passing a trucker that was doing the speed limit(flew around the truck), hence not that hard to judge by eye. The guy just got his panties in a bunch because he thought "he's above the law". And yeah I knew that but for some reason went with she like the others, damn peer pressure lol.
    Last edited by greyford1979; 06-03-2010 at 04:04 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billbillw View Post
    WTF do you guys keep saying SHE? The defendants name was Mark!
    Because all I saw was his last name, jenney...LOL
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    Speeding is a vice not a crime. We need to stop prosecuting vices.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billbillw View Post
    I've always hated driving through Ohio. On I-75, everyone is afraid to speed more than about 5 over. The truckers don't speed either, but they will block both lanes for miles just to overtake another truck that is going about 0.3 MPH slower.
    Exactly my experience but on any highway in Ohio I've been on. Ohio has been out to get money from people for years, that is why they drive like that.
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