FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
In Ohio, if a cop says it looked like you were speeding, he can write you a ticket - no proof needed. Makes things so much easier for law enforcement if they don't have to be bothered with the burden of proof. True story.
The state's supreme court ruled five-to-one that independent verification of a driver's speed isn't necessary... things like laser guns or radar or actually clocking how fast you're going. The court says an officer's visual estimate will work as long as the officer is trained, certified by a training academy and experienced in finding speeders.
Supporters say that officers undergo extensive training where they have to visually estimate the speed of vehicles within one or two miles per hour of the actual speed.
Nonetheless, law enforcement officials insist they won't be getting rid of their speed guns; and that it's rare for officers to give tickets based solely on their observations. But the state's highest court says if they want to, it's quite all right.
The case stemmed from the appeal of a traffic ticket issued near Akron, Ohio in 2008.
In that case, a police officer ticketed a driver because he said it looked like the driver was going too fast.
Without any technical assistance, the cop determined that the motorist was going 70 miles-per-hour when the speed limit was 60. The driver says the court's decision "stinks." The driver is right.
Here's my question to you: What else will police be able to do without proof if they can now give speeding tickets if they simply "think" a car is going too fast?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Steve in Bedford, Texas writes:
Dear Jack, It sounds like speed traps throughout the Buckeye State will be wallowing in more ill-gotten cash than a Wall Street bank! More practically (and less sarcastically), this ruling will erode the sort of community trust law enforcement needs to do its job correctly, and I hope the Ohio legislature will reverse this mistake during its next session.
Ex cop writes:
I was trained by a highly regarded, 10-month law enforcement academy. The "extensive" speed estimate training was limited to about two hours of guessing the speeds of cars driving by. This is an inappropriate decision by the courts. Even police must be kept honest – and "thinking" or "guessing" a car is going too fast does not cut it.
I went to training to stay out of Ohio. So far it's working!
Nik in Austin, Texas writes:
Jack, Don't act so surprised. Law enforcement officials have been overstepping their authority for decades and the court system always supports them.
As long as people still have the right to fight the ticket in court, it shouldn't matter. Without proof, I can't imagine these tickets will hold up in court.
Nothing new. I once got a ticket because the cop could "hear" my motorcycle was speeding. Very impressive.
Did you see the blown call in Detroit's almost perfect game yesterday? Yes, even highly-trained professionals get it wrong.
That's what you get for living in Ohio.
Might as well just skip sobriety tests, too. If you appear to be drunk in the eyes of the law, you are drunk (so long as the officer has been well-trained in identifying drunk people). What could possibly go wrong?
Now it's only logical that the Supreme Court of Ohio rightfully considers validating ESP, "hunches" and palm readers!
The US Supreme Court elected a president with a 5-4 Vote.
Anything is possible now-a-days!
To give a ticket without radar gun evidence is just a waste of time and money. Any decent lawyer will easily be able to convince a jury that visual estimations of speed are very faulty. So the defendant won't be found guilty, but will have to spend time and money defending himself. The court will be tied up with cases it has little chance of winning.
Some crimes don't have radar gun like tools for enforcement. If a driver's car is really loud, a cop can give the driver a ticket based solely on his own perception. (Should a cop have sound meters, digital cameras, video cameras, etc. at all times?)
When a officer has a tool he should use it. When he doesn't use the tool, he is wasting the defendant's and the court's time.
This is ridiculous!!! What's next?? Locking people up because a cop suspects they ran a stop sign?? Or maybe they think you jaywalked earlier in the day... A bad precedent is set here, based solely on self interest, and absent of any due process... The Ohio courts should be ashamed!!
They CAN guesstimate to for a ruling against an accused speeder, and DNA testing CAN'T be used to help determine if a convicted killer was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death. Hmmmm...
I imagine this will result in police being able to arrest someone on suspicion of public inebriation, even without a breathalyser test.
Well, the cops could say that because I live in a low income area and I look like a drug user they are going to arrest me for my own good and put me in prison to prevent me from becoming a drug user or pusher.
They will estimate blood alcohol levels. And last Friday nigh I had about 8 officers try to do that to me, but after nearly an hour of trying to say I was drunk I was given a seat belt ticket and released.
This is rediculous!! To a certain point, yes you can detect someone was speeding after being trained how to use visual signs, timing and practive. BUT to hold up in court, no!
Is this just a way for police departments to collect money from speeding tickets without having to spend it on the equipment that detects a speed?
Arizona has "radar cameras" up all over the place, these are rediculous, sup-d up SUV's with thousands of dollars in camera and radar technology to catch speeders, when all I have seen it do is cause a mess and accidents on the highway from everyone slamming on the brakes when the see one!
Just increase the speed limits on the highways!
I think the burden of proof really has to be with the officer, and a good attorney should be able to prove that the specific officer could not estimate that closely. However, with evidence that the officer had been trained, I can see where the court was unable to move beyond this point.
Without looking at the entire evidence, and reading the specific court opinion, however, I hesitate to say that it means this. All I have is what is reported, which is one person's opinion of another person's opinion.
I belive that there should be technocal assitance for all police across the nation. additional the technocal assistance should be for all areas of law enforsement.
Next thing you know, we'll be going to war without proof of WMDs.
It means a there would be a tremendous increase in "broken tail light" infractions – especially in Arizona.
Saint Augustine, Fl.
Bar the doors, cover the windows, and hide the women and children!
I saw a guy yesterday that looked like he was going to committ a crime. If I had the proper training on how to identify criminals could I have arrested him?
In that case, they just might want to take a pass on pulling me over any time soon............Safer that way!
This ruling, in my opinion, directly contradicts the 1895 ruling by the Supreme Court in Coffin v. United States, which states that a man must be innocent until proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he is guilty. I'm not a scientist, but I don't think a cop saying 'Ah, I'd say he was going between 3-15 miles over the speed limit' cuts it in a court of law in these United States. Is it really that hard to pull out the speed gun and point it in the general direction a car? Why not just get the dang evidence?
It opens the door to a lot of things. For the court to say "...an officer's visual estimate will work as long as the officer is trained, certified by a training academy and experienced in finding speeders..." is simply subjective, when it should be objective.
I'm not a lawyer but I always thought that verdicts were based on evidence and fact. So if I witness a bank robbery and tell the court, 'yeah, I think he's the guy', will that stand up? I sure hope not. Objective facts is all that should be used, not someone's estimate.
In a residential area it doesn't take magic powers to discern that somebody is speeding. I live at thend of a dead end street, yet I am often surprised by drivers speeding past my house as I am backing out. They do a quick u-turn with their tires squeeling, or they jump the curb and cross the field to the next street. The police may easily stop them for that without proof. The charge could be called 'Wreckles Driving and Endangerment." A policemans observation is usually better than a radar.
"Judge he looked like he was going to rob the bank so I shot him to be safe. I did not KNOW for sure he was reaching for his wallet while he was standing in line."
Come on Jack, what do you expect from a state that does not train their drivers to use turn signals... At least I guess they don't teach them, or maybe vehicles sold in Ohio have optional turn signals.
Whats whats next? Cameras at worksites having your wife watch your every step?
Well, you said it all Jack, "it's Ohio !" chuckles.... Need I say more ?
Problem. A number of years ago I was travelling at a steady speed on cruse control. Staying at that speed, I started overtaking a car in the right lane. But just before completing the pass, that car sped up, so it's front bumper was a half car length in front of my front bumper. It then slowed back down and finally dropped behind me. During this same time, I saw a highway patrolman on the frontage road speed up to match the speed of that car as it sped up. He got onto the freeway at the next on ramp, pulled me over, and cited me for going even faster than he "correctly" clocked the guy I had eventually passed. Will the certified training of police include being aware of such situations?
This ruling ignores the fact that cops are often expected to come up with their quota of traffic tickets. The question of how fast someone is going is going to be shaded by how much the cop is behind in his or her quota of tickets for the month.
There is one word to describe it. Ridiculous.
well, I guess that means I will no longer drive in Ohio. Probably will boycott Ohio. Sounds to me like they're condoning guilt without proof of guilt. Where's the constitutionality of this? Umpires make mistakes (costing a pitcher a perfect game), last time I checked, police officers (no matter what "training" they've had to calibrate speed of a vehicle) are simple humans as well. Shame on Ohio. If I were from the Buckeye state, I'd definitely be challenging this all the way to the Supreme Court!
It is getting ridiculous. Cops have too much latitude. In Connecticut, if you "overreact" to being mugged in your own dark driveway, using pepper spray. The mugger can be given immunity to prosecute the homeowner. The homeowner can then get sentenced to a year in prison. Self-defense isn't legal in Connecticut. Each day, I wake up wondering whether I really live in the US, and whether the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the US Constitution are merely child stories.
How about search your car if you look like a crook. How about search your person if you look suspicious. Why are judges making laws anyway?
How about the Arizona Immigration Law, well both are based on "reasonable suspicion."
Oh, that's just great. See how this plays out in Arizona. Someone doing 36 in a 35 zone get pulled over, not as much for speeding, but for "looking Mexican", It's almost as if they conspired to set this up..
Well, in Illinois and Maryland, its already illegal to videotape an on duty police officer. A man in Maryland has already been charged for videotaping an off duty police officer who drew his gun and didn't identify himself as a police officer. With the recent strings of not so stellar conduct of police officers lately, I wouldn't be surprised if other states adopt laws of this sort.
This is outrageous! First in Arizona police can pick you up for looking like and illegal immagrant, and now this! With all of these laws coming into effect the next thing is going to be giving people DWI tickets because you look drunk, or arresting you because you look like you might have murdered someone! When does the invasion of our personal rights end!!?
the forefathers would be horrified Jack, this is what happens when the police unions are allowed to write laws, step by step to a police state
Jack, this isn't new. It has long been the law that any witness (not just the police) can testify as to their belief of speed.
Jack, I was already afraid to drive through Ohio because of infamously aggressive traffic police. Now I would avoid Ohio by driving through Indiana if possible. Police already get away with way too much, this just makes me angry. Isn't this unconstitutional? Maybe I should start a "boycott ohio" facebook group.
well Jack, we seen aan umpire make a mistake at first base. I suppose a few misplace calls by the police can't be much worse. Just for thought,,,, let's boycott Ohio.
Next thing they' be able to ticket you for thinking about speeding by the look on your face.
So whats next? I'm black..so if I drive a BMW then a cop could pull me over and shoot me because he "Thinks" I'm a armed drug dealer
This is a gross oversimplification of the truth.
I had a talk with an officer some time ago about this very subject. The training required for them to be considered 'capable' in this is beyond extensive, at least for the officer I was talking to (from Florida).
In order to be considered trained, the officer had to go up against a radar gun and correctly identify, within 2 mph, the speed of passing cars. In order to qualify, he had to correctly clock *dozens* of vehicles. If he messed up, he had to restart the entire evaluation.
People, remember: police are doing their best, in sometimes horrible circumstances, to make this a better place. They hate writing tickets. It's not fun for them, either.
Stop using the word "think". The police officer is testifying with his or her professional opinion in a court of law. In his or her expert opinion, a driver was exceeding the speed limit and a ticket was issued. This is no different than any other professional opinion, and can be taken in to consideration by a judge.
Does the driver have any proof that they were not speeding? No. And in this "he said, she said" balance, the tip of the scales of justice go to the informed, expert professional – the police officer.
Is there room for abuse? Yes. But I, for one, still respect police officers and their very difficult positions. And when it comes to speeding, there are very few of us that aren't guilty at one time or another. I just wish more would get caught.
Gives new meaning to "police state"...
Would'nt this be against the constitution or bill of rights? The state should have to prove with evidence the crime was committed. This should end up in US Supreme court. It's like a expert cop can say, I believe you murdered some one without evidence but my expert opinion. This can not be happening in America.
Oops, my foot strayed from the crosswalk. Ticket!
"What else will police be able to do without proof..."
This may easily lend itself to abuse, but I don't the concept is so bad.
I highly doubt most police officers will be able to say "You were going precisely 78 mph in a 55 mph zone." I more see them saying "You were speeding in a 55 mph zone, so I'll write you up at 65 mph."
How in the world is this even possible? So I'm to believe that one can be trained to "estimate" the speed of a moving vehicle? How is it lawful to cite someone based upon a human estimate? Kinda makes you feel like we are headed towards the 'future crimes' predictions depicted in Minority Report. And don't even get me started on how this is okay, yet some people are upset about officers in AZ asking for proof of citizenship after they've pulled someone over for actually committing some other offense.
This is the most absurd ruling I have seen. Perhaps the MMS is working under a similar premise. If they think an oil well is safe then it is. That stinks too!
Anything that will make it cheaper for them to issue tickets and receive fines. The entire traffic citation system is set up to make money. I thought I was innocent until proven guilty but in traffic court you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent. So in court you will be found guilty if the officer shows. So the question is what other right will the system step on so that they can make money and the people will not complain about until it is too late?
In answer to your question cops will be able to do anything they want EXCEPT ask about your immigration status.
Does the names of Abner Louima and Amadou Diallo ring a bell?
I respect law enforcement with some in my family serving. But you have to understand that folk have biases and bring them to the job.
This ruling shows how inept we've become when we let those whom are so far removed from the common person, making decisions that affect the rest of us.
I cant believe they can assume the speed of a driver and give them a ticket on just the thought of the cops assumtion!
I would like to see these Certified Officers prove to us that they are capable of the correct amount of speed the driver is driving within 1 or 2 mph! Put them Officers, who are all Certified to a CNN Test Live!!! have them Prove it! Take Care... God Bless, AKA, Saint Louis ZoZo...
Well Jack, skipping the Miranda warnings and waterboarding J-walkers, stopping people to check their papers are becoming part of the landscape. With the state of Texas re-writing history, anything is possible, and the saying "well I remember when", will not be a cliche'.
I understand police have a hard job to do but look at the officer who was caught on tape kicking the guy in hadcuffs recently. Its not the good hard working cops we need to watch out for its the bad apple that spoils the bunch. Who would have believed that guy that he had been treated like that if there were no camera close by to catch it. Police need to have a checks and balaces system in place where other cops arent in charge of checking up on other cops, but instead objective outside sources who can tell the truth about the way police treat american's today.
Well, I'm not sure what the best response is to this question. But I see a parallel here that I can't omit.
It seems reasonable that a policeman should have some sort of proof that a person was speeding.
But at the same time, when an officer in Arizona asks for "proof of citizenship" during a routine traffic stop, why is it that they're lambasted for doing so? Isn't the cop supposed to ask for identification anyway during any stop? Why is it such a stretch to ask for proof of citizenship too?
I don't think it's unreasonable for citizens to have definitive proof from the police that they have committed moving violations. And I don't think it's unreasonable for citizens to PROVIDE proof of citizenship if asked for it by the police.
If citizens want proof from police, then they should also be willing to provide proof TO the police. It's a two way street.
I spent 25 years as a cop and went though the training of which you speak. After 5 days of estimating vehicle speed, confirmed by radar I was always able to estimate a vehicle's speed within 2 mph. It's not rocket science to tell if someone is going too fast. Have you ever been passed by a speeding car and said to yourself, "Holy Crap" that idiot's speeding.
I can understand that a car can look like it going too fast. I often see police cars doing as much as 70 mphs with and without sirens on my 35 mph street. I'm sure no court would believe me.
They've already don'e it, Jack. Didn't you catch the SCOTUS change to the Miranda Warning recently? When all our rights are gone, they'll stop or ask for more. This deficant's gotta stop!
Good; now they can replace radar guns behind home plate and "estimate" the speed of pitches using off-duty cops.
The real problem is not that they do this when they are actually going to write a speeding ticket - it is that the traffic stop is often just a pretext for further investigation (toss your car, order field sobriety tests, etc.). Basically, the police can stop you at any time they feel like it and then use the stop as a segue into investigation for other crimes. In my jurisdiction cops will routinely pull people over for alleged 'speeding' just so they can stick their head in your window - if they suspect booze or drugs for any reason you will get pulled out and hassled. If they think your clean, they just wave you on without even a pretext of having a reason for the stop. When they do make a "quota" arrest for drug or DUI, however, you can bet their report will claim you were speeding. No evidence necessary other than their say-so.
If cops only need to think you are speeding, it's only a matter of time before they start arresting people in Ohio for "thought crime." You know, like thinking about robbing a bank or thinking about beating up that jerk that just cut you off in traffic, or thinking about.....speeding.
I think this is outrageous! If an officer can pull someone and give them a ticket without any evidence then how long will it be before they can arrest someone just because they suspect something? If you ask me the justices in Ohio don't know what they're doing by ruling this way (just my opinion). Perhaps it should go to the Supreme Court of the U.S. and they should make the right decision.
that is completely ridiculous that the police can issue speeding tickets off of a meer assumption. "extensive training" !! according to who?? i thought what goes on in virginia was bad with all its common wealth laws........ looks like we have competition in ohio with all the "high cheer" decisions.
Seems to me the Arizona law works the same way. A police officer thinks you are an illegal alien and he can stop you;of course you have to look hispanic.
Officer: "Wow she's hot. Wait, I mean, I think she is unlawfully carrying a weapon. I better give her a pat down just in case."
And later: "Hey! I thought she might have a weapon on her! Beautiful lady, bad neighborhood... You know?"
The point is, personal bias and behaviors will now interfere with a cop's duty. A republican cop seeing an "Obama-Biden" sticker, well yeah that car probably IS going way too fast. Same goes for a democratic cop and seeing "McCain-Palin." Welcome to America!
Is this a rhetorical question??? I'll tell you what they will start doing...that ruling gave police the liberty to start handing out speeding tickets left and right. without the burden of proff..Oh, and by the way they'll probably start handing out tikcets to hispanic looking people for not carrying their immigration documents as well. Give them an inch and they'll take a mile......
If Ohio needs to increase revenue from traffic vilolations, then say so.
I wish the five "high & mighty" officials get caught in their own speed trap.
Yes cops can reasonably suspect anything including but not limited to speed limit violator, an illegal immigrant, a tax cheater, an infidel, let cops put em all behind the bars without the proof.
Jack, Well, the cops could say that because I live in a low income area and I look like a drug user they are going to arrest me for my own good and put me in prison to prevent me from becoming a drug user or pusher.
Ohio just took the gauntlet for "dumbest state." I wonder what Arizona will do to get it back.
Whatever they damn well please Jack. Which is exactly what they will do in Ariz.
Jack, that not too unusual. I just moved from NJ where I received a ticket for speeding and contested it. At the time of the incident I was TOLD that radar had clocked me but when I asked to see the readout I was told that it is automatically cleared. I asked to see a printout and told that they don't produce printouts. Isn't this the same as the Ohio guessing? Later I found out that NJ buys radar guns that ONLY have a visual display. Where's the hard-copy proof? How convenient for the police departments!
This tears it! I bet Ohio "elects" the supreme court justices.....probably right out of an outlet mall. Look, what extensive training?...the law of physics requires a known starting point, and known end-point, and some feel for time....a universal standard....such as a watch, not one-mississippi, two mississippi, or, one one-thousand, two one-thousand. The caveat to all this is what is the perception of the start and end point if you do not have a distance measure of where they are at in relation to the officer's own position....So, again, I ask you, what is the extensive training...does the certificate hang in the squad car that Officer Bill has successfully passed the "how many hour" extensive I can guess your speed course (I presume it will be right next to the supreme court declaration of "aahh go ahead, I said you could do it")?
I can see it now, Cop pulls over and searches a vehicle cause in his/her experience he/she looked like the type to have drugs, or an illegal weapon.
Or how about No more need to administer any type of test for drunk driving, if you look drunk to the officer, you are drunk, off to jail you go!
So then as in the speeding situation it's an officers word against yours, so you better have more credibility than any police officer or your out of luck!
Did the judges in that court understand the president that they are setting? When did we get rid of the basic tenents of our justice system?
I always believed that I had to commit a crime to get a ticket not just have an officer think i had. Whats next.
Soon a police in one of those states will arrest you only because he thinks you are a criminal. Like in Arizona they see you and cause you look like a Hispanic you have to show documents. Soon they will change it, and they all would agree that they should put them in jail or may be hang them up. It happens before in Germany on Hitler's time. No empathy at all.
I find it hard to believe the police in Ohio can give you a ticket for something they can't prove and the police in Arizona can't or won't arrest someone they know is an illegal immigrant. What is wrong with this picture?
This being about speeding draws attention away
from the fact that the police are being given an unfair right to further intrude into our lives. While I know police never lie, what is to stop an officer from claiming anyone is speeding. In short this clearly translates into a right to pull over anyone, I have a feeling you agree....I really needed to get that off my chest.
So.... How much longer before you are charged with Murder just because a police officer thinks you killed someone? No Body, No Murder Weapon, you just appear to be a murdering psychopath. What kind of jail time will that carry? Life in prison, on looks?
Everybody knows tickets are a rigged game. You can get your day in court, if you want to waste your time.
The result is predetermined - guilty.
The only way out is a procedural error, i.e., the other side doesn't show
If a cop in Ohio can ticket you because he "thinks" your'e going too fast, who knows whats next? Maybe cops in Arizona can detain and arrest you because they "think" you look illegal. Or maybe a cop anywhere can just arrest you because they "think" you might commit a crime. The law is going in the wrong direction. What happened to burden of proof? Not to mention that it's not like there aren't bad cops out there (not a lot, but enough) who could just outright lie.
Hi, I just saw your piece on cops visually giving tickets.
I live in CT and in the early 90's I was given a ticket on I95 for exactly the same "POWERS OF DEDUCTION" .... The officer was NOT in his vehicle (ie not maning his gun) when I passed by.
But, there was an actually name for this crime. After going to court and battling with the prosecutor, they finally decided on this charge instead of the full ticket;
"Driving Unreasonably Fast, Yet Not Exceeding the Speed Limit". The magistrate also assured me that the Officer was trained visually to TELL if people are speeding.
We were all shocked by this and when I approached the Magistrate of the court to complain about the "LESSER Charge" he basically said to me: "I'd be gratefull sonny, it's the best you're going to get".
I've been telling this story for years now and it finally seems to have happened elsewhere.
It makes me angry,
"O" from CT.
In depth training? Giive me a break, visual speed recognition is taught when you certify for the use of a RADAR gun. Total time commitment maybe 1 hour.
Imagine that Jack. Police in Ohio can look at a moving vehicle and decide without looking at a radar gun whether or not a driver is speeding! Ummmmm, almost like AG Eric Holder looking at the Arizona Immigration Bill and claiming it is unlawful without even reading the actual Bill!
In Michigan we have some areas that have.."No Right turn on Red between 4pm and 7pm"
Driver. "Um officer. What did I do wrong?"
Cop. You made a right hand turn on red roughly...uh....sort of...well...in the vacinity of 4pm.
Driver. It's only 2:30.
At the rate civil liberties, privacy and judicial rights are being eroded in the US, it won't be long before the US will be considered a police state and then we'll have to change the national anthem.
Well, Jack ... what the heck can we say that isn't redundant ... we're going like "bats out of h..." directly into a police state. This is serious business going on ... a State Supreme Court has just sanctified the most subjective type of judgment ("I think they broke the law") to be used by law enforcement. This is undoing what has taken many decades of uphill battles by human rights defenders to put in place, i.e., non-subjective approaches to enforcement (are you listening Arizona). But, hey, we're going to kill the planet in a few years anyway, correct?
what difference does this make? with the current makeup of the supreme court and their recent decisions, (miranda, campaign contributions) more and more liberty will be taken away from us. this is only the beginning.
A Republican cop could see me and think I look like a Democrat that could be elected POTUS so he will arrest and imprison me to prevent me from being exposed to all the corruptions of being a world leader.
So I would tell people to avoid driving to or thru ohio!! Reason why,lets say an officer thinks he is in jepordy of lossing his job maybe I should write some tickets or a community low on funds lets write some tickets!! People think it wont't happen you are very mistaken !! All agencys need checks and balances. I have great respect for proven officers of the law. Glenn
Along that same vein, may we also convict a cop when it appears that his lifestyle would suggest that he is on the take because his house and car are way too nice to fit a cops salary.
This is completely ridiculous! I understand intuition, but allowing any individuals with considerable authority to make binding decisions without the presentation of evidence can only lead to corruption. Why on earth would any court allow this? Why should police officers be exempt from the burden of proof?
As a recently retired police officer, certified by the State of California for working with Radar, I have to say that using an officer's own estimation judgement is rediculous.
In my particular case, being certified consisted of judging random cars on the highway and noting their approximate MPH. If we were within 5 MPH, on 15 of them, we were then "Certified". If the public only knew...
Honestly, I was maybe within 10 MPH in my opnion, as i was never good at judging MPH. But I ONLY used my estimation it in conjnction with a daily-calibrated / tested radar gun for writing tickets.
Sounds like someone is trying to save money at the taxpayer's expense (literally). Think about it, it immediately removes a citizens right to inspect any evidence against them, i.e. officer training, was the radar gun calibrated prior AND after the violation? This is a paramount defense that I, as a citizen now, want...
Love your show!
In Harris County, if a police officer does a field test for illegal drugs with less than .1 gram of a controlled substance, the test destroys all the evidence. At trial, a jury had to take the word of a police officer or a lab technician that it tested positive; there was no evidence that you could show to the jury or have independently tested. Our newly elected district attorney. Pat Lykos, has said that we can't, in good conscience, keep trying these cases. The Houston Police said: "We just won't arrest them." No matter what the law is, police officers will find a way around it until people are fed up.
The law will become irrelivant. The"letter of the Law" will have no more meaning. An officer is a person with personal beliefs with their own interpritations of reality... This gives an officer the ability to interprit the law and that is the job of a judge... Bottom line, it is unconstitutional. I'm a guy from AZ, but the new law SB1070, which is working by the way, would face even more feirce criticism of officers operated that way.. This law depends on the letter of the law! JonnyB, AZ
Hello Jack....I think that if you get stopped for a crime or suspected crime and police are attemping to ID you and you don't have any ID at all they should be able to check to see if your here legally in the country........
Surely the emphasis is on the police to prove that a crime has been committed?
Next, they'll be coming into your house to look around as "from the nice car in your dfriveway it LOOKS as though you're obviously stealing things".
We opened the dangerous door with the Patriot Act. We now see more and more enticements to get rid of all those messy legal obstacles and simply act on what we "think" is the case. No need for any of those messy facts, either. Fascist, totalitarian nations usually start by granting unlimited power to authorities.
If the Officer is trained and can consistantly judge the speed, and is regularly verified by a certifying trainer then yes they should be able to use their judgement as a determining factor. Any other aspect of their job that meets those type of requirments should also be available for their use. Yes there is some bad apples but the vast majarity of Officers work really hard to protect our safety, why would you want to tie their hands to keep them from doing that?
what happend of being inacent till proven guilty
to many laws are made fore ease without prof of law
thats not the way i see this as the same as Arizonas new law
This could get ugly. An African American male walking out of a bank may now register in a cop's mind as, "He might have robbed that bank, I better check him out." We might as well be returning to the era of witch trials. Personal bias is now the law.
For crying out loud Jack! You phrased this like we ought to throw all the cops in jail since none of them can be trusted. If jobs weren't so hard to find I expect a lot of cops would quit with all the accusatory media attention of late.
How were speeders ticketed before the lazer gun? Will we ever trust our police force? Can you put a percentage on the number of police that would deliberately issue a ticket to someone who was not speeding? Or are you saying they are all corrupt? If they are what does that say about the rest of us? Are we all corrupt too?
We need to start putting some level of faith and trust back into our police force!
Concerning your report on Ohio cops writing tickets based on their thinking we were speeding. I'm not the least surprised. I am an escort for oversize loads, those huge trucks with the smaller vehicle leading or following. About a year ago Ohio started writing these big trucks tickets for going into the fuel stops. Their excuse is that the truck has gone off route when they pull off the freeway for fuel. They do this even though the federal law says they can go as much as a mile off route for fuel. The cost of this unreasonable ticket? $1,500.00 for each offense. If a driver complains they say "you should have planned where you would run out of fuel and included the turn into the truck stop in your application for the route permits". So when they say that the cops can now write a speeding ticket with no technology to support that, I am not surprised.
Good blog Jack. Cops already have way too much power that they abuse. Regularly.
It's just another attack on our civil liberties,and later on they'll say "you no longer have any rights because you didn't do anything about it ".What are they going to do next?Arrest you because you look like your going to commit a crime .And why should the police have to have a warent? you look like you might be guilty of something,That should be enough to get arrested as long as the officer has be trained to spot criminals.
James Brice Indianola, Iowa
Speeding is almost always a matter of perception when it comes to highway driving. If the speed limit is 60 and a car is going visibly faster than traffic ahead of or behind it, then that driver is very probably speeding.
There are ways to visually measure the speed of a car based on the local environment, that could include stationary objects in the background, the stripes on the highway or merely the relative speed of one car passing another. A well-trained and experienced officer can easily tell if a car is going ten miles over the speed limit or faster.
Even so, by law the burden of proof should be on the officer writing the ticket, not the defendant. If the officer gave sufficient proof by his description of the events, then the driver can and should be judged guilty.
Hell no, I love to speed and I got a police radar. If there's no need of proof then what's the point of having a court.
From Springfield, Illinois. My son was once pulled over for wearing a ball cap. Honest. He was sitting at a red light when a Sangamon County cop pulled up next to him. He proceeded to pull him over, harrass him and search his car. He claimed it was because he was wearing a ball cap and THOUGHT he was part of a gang. He was not doing anything suspicious, just sitting at a light waiting to make a right hand turn. It was just the ball cap. The cop even told him so. Mind you, my son has never been and never will be affiliated with any gangs. Unless, of course, there is a gang known as The CUBS.
In a case like this, I think the officer's opinion should be treated as an expert opinion and the court must decide how credible.It should not just be based solely on the the fact that the officer was trained. The officer must present his reasoning for judging the speed.
They were writing speeding tickets long before radar guns were invented. So there are reasonable ways to estimate speeds without radar guns:
1. If there is no other traffic and police car is not driving along aside the offender, the estimate can only be very coarse. If the car was going 70 in a 30 zone, then I think the officer can credibly judge that the car is "well in excess" of the limit. I don't think he could judge with any precision less than 10 mph and the higher the speed, the less precision.
2. If there is other traffic moving at a consistent flow, then officer can make a guess of the flow speed withing 5 to 10 and then state that the offender was passing that "5 to 10" over or "well in excess".
3. If the police car is driving at a certain speed and is passed by the offender in the same direction, the officer can credibly judge "5 to 10 over" his or "well in excess".
Ohio is way out of bounds with this one. If an officer fails to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a driver is exceeding the posted speed limit, then how can any fair and just court find the defendant guilty? Any person cited with a ticket has only to plead not guilty to this charge and then it becomes the officer's responsibility to prove the citizen's guilt. There is no way any amount of training can take the place of a certified Radar Gun. In no American Court system should a case of he-said/she-said be sufficient to find a defendant guilty of any charge.
Thanx for the heads up on Ohio Jack. I thought Texas was bad but they don't have the right to guess at how fast you were going. I understand now why you put those judges nominated to The Supreme Court through so much crap. If 5 out of 6 judges can think this is ok you have some serious judicial problems down there. I would take the bus.
Police in AZ can stop anyone if they think they have violated any law and ask if their "papers are in order".
By the way, if they are interested in stopping crime, why not reward the undocumented 95% legal residence if they help the police catch the criminal 5%? (drug dealers, mules, etc.)
The 95% are more often victims of crime and abuse than any US citizen
I will not judge. I am offering a more effective way to combat the crime along the border
So does that mean that I can go as fast as I think it is okay to go? Maybe I did not think I was going too fast?
As Wise as the Ohio Police. New York Finest and Ohio Wisest. We getting there...
now they can put you in jail if they think you are speeding and keep you there if they think you are dangerious jim michigan
Jack, knowing that a court in the United States, even a state court, would set a precedent so ripe for abuse makes me so angry I can barely compose my thoughts in writing. The rule of law makes a society's progress possible because it brings order and confidence to the daily activities that make our economy and society function. When it gets tossed aside in favor of the opinion of authorities, we slide backwards. We might as well break open that case in DC that holds our Constitution and light it on fire because the Bill of Rights is apparently completely devoid of any meaning.
I think this opens too many doors for corruption within the police force. I don't have a problem with an officer being allowed to pull someone over if it looks like they were speeding, but he shouldn't be able to write a speeding ticket without evidence to back it up in court. Racism and prejudice is still a big issue and I feel like this could be used as an excuse for an officer to give a ticket to anyone he doesn't like.
So we wait for police to "have proof" that a murder is about to be comitted before acting? Photograph the perp slitting the throat? That obviously isn't acceptable is it? So if an officer is trained to judge speed (no more difficult than it is to fudge a radar reading) then why do we object to that? If that same speeder killed a child in a crosswalk, would you think differently. Stop being paranoid people. There are enough freedoms of the press, checks and balances and lawyers in this world to keep us pretty much ok. What really prevents us from progressing are these believe that the civil liberties groups fills every liberal head with; you CAN choose to fight everything and prevent what you don't want, you CAN choose civil disobedience, you CANNOT be held accountable for your actions, you ....... you get the message.......
It's simple Jack, police are given WAY too much discretion. No politician is going to criticize the tactics of the police department b/c they don't want to be seen as soft on crime. Most of the punishment doled out by law enforcement agencies don't fit the crime. Those tickets produce an enormous amount of revenue – another reason for them to be less concerned about providing proof.
As we have been learning over the past few years, with new technology in surveilence and information sharing, police officers are not as honest and strong morale figures that judges would give them credit for.
If anything, there should be a stricter burden of proof.
Year by year we keep inching closer and closer to a police state...
WOW.....Interesting reading..............Hey OHIO.....speed read this....OOPS was I going to fast? Hey, Officer, how many words a minute did I type? C'mon....take a guess...was I speeding?
A couple of years ago, my wife fell asleep behind the wheel, ran off the road and hit a tree. The airbag saved her, thank goodness, but a highway trooper – after viewing the damage to the tree and to the car, visited her in the hospital and ticketed her because he 'believed' she was speeding. Knowing the part of Texas this took place, she knew better than to contest the citation.
It feels like our personal rights are sliding a slippery slope. First we don't have to read the Miranda rights to people arrested for terrorism. What's to stop a peace officer from arresting all suspected criminals as terrorists in order to avoid giving them their constitutional rights, and then charging them later with the real crime they were arrested for. Now peace officers in Arizona have the right to violate the fourth admendment preventing unreasonable search and seizure if the suspect "looks" like an illegal. Now this new law letting peace officers charge the suspect with speeding without any evidence. I can't even imagine how many ways that could be misused. One word "quotas".We're not turning into a socialist state we're turning into a police state.
So much for civil liberties. One can only hope that those in Ohio law enforcement are so appalled by this decision that they will pull over said judges without cause and issue speeding tickets until we all think they can come to their senses.
oh, and by the way, if you don't agree with the ticket, you can always challenge it in court. Let a jury WEIGH the officer's training, integrity and record against yours.
Not only have I been stopped because it looked like I was speeding but I also got a ticket for not having a seat belt on. I had pulled over when cop directed me to, took off my seat belt to lean over to get registration out of the glove compartment...I told him that and cop said...No I don't think you had your seat belt on...and so I got both that and a speeding ticket. I was not speeding either...maybe 60 in a 55 but not enough to be pulled over...I live in Ohio.
When they can break into the wrong home on a raid and kill the residents, or stop people for the crime of being brown in AZ and demand papers, nothing surprises. All they have to do is tell us they're keeping us safe, and we'll follow right along. We've been programmed.
It is interesting that this law makes just as much sense as the Arizona Law you asked about last hour, but your personal feelings about it are completely different. I guess this ruling is unpopular because you and the rest of White America might actually be caught in this net, unlike the racial profiling that will happen in Arizona targeting Latinos.
First of all, let me say I agree with all the commentary on how this particular judgment leaves something to be desired.
With that said, I'm not sure following a slippery slope theorem towards the next abuses committed by law enforcement is the wisest course.
It is, of course, dependent on each and every one of us to work to ensure our government does not take away our freedoms – but spreading terror or ire on "might be's" does the general public little good, and a lot of potential harm.
Let's face it, there's enough corruption, cheating, lying and criminal acts being perpetuated by our government and law enforcement officials that we really don't need to go looking for future acts. Let's deal with the ones on our plate right now.
What else might they do? How about deporting people for looking like they are in this country illegally? I am all for the AZ law so long as the culprits actually are in this country illegally. Combine Ohio's disdain for evidence with the supreme court's recent ruling on Miranda rights and you would think Bush 43, Cheney, and the other neo-fascists were running the country from the shadows.
In minnesota I got a ticket just the other day because a cop said I wasn't wearing a seat belt. When he pulled me over I was wearing it, but I still got ticketed.
There's no way something like that should hold up in a court of law, but it will.
Welcome to the Hood. They will do what they want as they have been doing in my neighborhood for a long time. Not a word from the people who felt it was ok bec it was over there. It has now been blessed by the courts and sure to spread to the burbs and beyond.
May as well be the law because the da, judge, and police officer can basically do whatever they want once you are in front of them anyway. I was told in Texas that the court doesn't have the burden of proof at all, it's on you and you didn't buy a lawyer so you are guilty even though I proved that the guy that was at court wasn't the officer that pulled me over, and discredited his technique , and the Judge still said pay the clerk on your way out!!! It has turned into a revenue generator. They were making financial arrangemnets with people who couldn't pay, and accepted credit, and debit cards prior to even going to court so this doesn't suprise me. I've been telling people we are already a police state in America!!! The day Mr. Gates was beaten and arrested at his home opened my eyes to the police. Officer friendly has never given me the benefit of doubt, and I don't expect it???
Well, if this scenario is applicable to Arizona. They will have an excuse to pull anyone over because the officer "thinks" you are speeding and then ask for your proof of citizenship because he also "thinks" you are an illegal resident as well.
You are powering an individual to the point where their solid and good judgment could be clouded for such level of responsibility as well. I wouldn't want to be an officer under so much pressure once he starts getting all these calls of litigation against him because He "thinks" he is right to make his decision making...
Hello Mr. Cafferty
I think the issue on cops being able to issue tickets to people whom they think is going to fast is out ragious! What happen to "Innocent until PROOFING guilty"? I understand that this is america, home of the free. But this country is also base on the TRUTH, a person has to provide proof to claim his or her guilty. And in Ohio not being able to show proof is violating the values and what america stands for...THE TRUTH. Anyone can lie on a person but we simply can't allow anyone to take advantage of us. Cops are human and they can miss judge lots of things. Ohio needs to comply with America and show proof of being Guilty. I mean what's next? they won't need proof to show murder. Will they just pick someone out of the blue and put a murder case on a person who had NOTHING to do with it because they can't find the one who did it?. I like to say this to Ohio and the police dept.... BE PROFESSIONAL AND STOP BEING LAZY!!! DO YOUR JOB BE FAIR AND DO IT RIGHT!!!!
Gee I think it's nice that in the State of Ohio that a man's ( okay lady's too) word is his bond. Not only that, but that the Ohio State Supreme Court believes it! Experts are often allowed to testify in a court of law based upon their observations. Proof of instruction and recurrent certification of the officer's ability to estimate speeds of moving vehicles within the guidelines established by law is the "Proof" Why? Because they said so. Good enough for me.
Jack, this decision is terrifying. Police officers are egotistical enough as it is, without giving them any more power. Now, police officers are the judge, jury, and executioner (of tickets) for all speeding offenses. I could realistically see this flippant attitude toward proof carrying over to all other traffic offenses, and some misdemeanor offenses, such as disturbing the peace, or noise violations.
Welcome to 1935 Los Angeles.
This is nothing new, cops have had this ablity to enforce eye speeds in California as well, and it has been around for years. I don't understand why some Americans can be shocked and angry at Law Enforcement officers for doing their job that the states and federal government provided for years. The same goes for the Arizona law, this law has been around for years but was never enforced because of the federal government not allowing the criminal process to proceed in court so agnecies don't enforce it. It may be new to those outside the law enforcement field, but this information is all old news, get over it or change the politics who make the rules.
Here's a test. Look at a sport motorcycle or a new Mustang going 60, and then look at a Ford Focus, or Pinto going 70, and then without knowing what their speed was, guess who was going faster. Your more than likely, to gravitate towards the vehicles historical perception rather than the actual facts, and ticket the one in the sport vehicle, while missing grandma flooring it in the pinto!
They can do whatever you can imagine. The constitution is a very well crafted document but no lolnger has any relevance. The idea that public servants work for us is mythology even though we pay them.
From SouthWest Florida here...
The vast majority of officers are honest, hard working and diligent in their duties. But there are indisputably a certain proportion of bad apples in the police force, who definitely do abuse their power.
This gives the bad cops yet one more way to inflict abuse.
Even if we assume that there are NO bad cops, at all, the fact still remains that police officers are human beings, subject to errors in judgement, moments of distraction, and emotional variability.
Since tools are available to take these all too human factors out of the equation... tools such as Radar, Lidar, breath tests, drug analysis kits, and etc... it is a no-brainer that the police force should use those tools, and it is also a no-brainer that this court decision is OUTRAGEOUS!
"They hate writing tickets. It's not fun for them, either."
LOL...you've never been to Ohio, have you?
Toward the end of the months, they kick up the amount of tickets they give out tenfold to bump up revenue for the city/county/state.
You'd be hard pressed to drive an hour in any direction in Ohio and not see 4-5 cops writing tickets.
(Of course I don't have equipment to prove that, but that's MY best estimate.)
They LOVE writing tickets because it keeps them from having to fight real crime and put themselves in real harm's way.
"I could go bust a meth lab or a drug dealer or a violent criminal but I'll spend my time writing tickets because it's cushy, my car is air conditioned and I can sit down while I do it."
They hate writing tickets..LOL...
Seriously. What state are you from because I want to move there.
I've always thought the slogan on Ohio license plates should read "The Police State." Those guys are way too enthralled with their state highway patrol. Do they still film mangled corpses in wrecks to show to high school kids in driver's ed?
i love personal liberty as much as the next guy. don't get me wrong. however i see people all the time driving aggressive and too fast. i don't need a speed gun to know he needs a ticket. we all drive a little fast sometimes but for peat's sake do it like you know what you're doing. be safe out there. let's just hope that the authorities don't abuse it either.
You're no lawyer, Jack. Opinion testimony -particularly that of an expert in the subject matter, a many cops who ticket speeders would be- most definitely constitutes proof which the finder of fact has the choice to believe or disbelieve. You don't have to like this, but please to lecture to us on legal topics about which you are clearly under- or mis-informed.
No doubt this will end up in violation the 4th Amendment. You should not be able to detain someone based on a single person's judgement. That said the testimony of a police officer is usually more valued than that of an ordinary civilian in a court of law. Should be interesting to see how this plays ouy.
As you indicated from your research, this is a tool avaiblable but not commonly used. I can assure you that the police are very cautious when using this to enforce speeding violations. Get this: the police can also detain and arrest a person based upon an odor of marijuana emanting from his or her person. They don't even have to have the substance in hand or in sight. .Relax, you tend to sweat the small stuff.
Any other state I would be surprised but no Ohio. I left Ohio years ago and never looked back. Most people with any common sense did too.
That probably explains how kooks can get to the bench on the state supreme court. This just gives me even more reason to avoid choosing any vendors there so I don't have to deal with some testosterone laced trooper looking for an out of state plate.
Cops will do whatever they think they can get away with. This ruling only makes it easier for cops to impose their wills onto the public. Naturally, the Ohio police departments will not have to provide any kind of verification proving that an "officer is trained, certified by a training academy and experienced in finding speeders". Who certified the officer? Who certified that the training academy's training is adequate and not subject to abuse? This only gives me another reason to avoid Ohio and the Midwest in general.
The police have an unwarranted obsession with speeding. Driving every day, I see plenty of obviously unsafe driving behaviors: Entering the freeway going slower than the freeway traffic, slowing down for a mile and blocking the right lane prior to exiting the freeway, driving on the inside shoulder to shortcut freeway ramps, changing lanes without signalling. If the police need technology like radar to prove you did something wrong, it probably wasn't all that wrong. They should focus on the obvious unsafe driving instead.
hmmm, were there no speeding tickets before radar?
now this is bs, down where i live the cops pull ppl over saying there speeding and as soon as the person says i want to see the radar they just write warnings ohio needs to change that. as a ohioian i am furious with this.
Well, my defense will be that in my estimation the police office was drunk and therefore his judgement was tainted when he estimated my speed.
Not just Ohio Jack I had a Bozo Cop in Palmyra NY come up with the line he could visually judged my speed within 1 to 2 MPH as 5MPH over speed limit. This was going around a corner where he was in error about even what the speed limit was and he misrepresented where he picked my up. I had been following a Propane Tank truck for 2 miles well back from it. Basically we give these guys a gun and badge and they think their Gods gift to the USA. Here they speed by on our highways talking on cellphones .only to pull into a Donut Shop. When they're off duty get caught speeding or worse DWI they often get a pass. Just checkout the Police Abuse of Authority in Greece NY.
this happened to me years ago in Florida.
The police officer, told me he could tell that I was speeding
but didnt have any proof just his word agaisnt mine.
You can't "estimate" that someone killed another person but it's okay to "estimate" someone's speed? An "estimation" is just a "guess".... Well I "guess" that we're all guilty of something then and I "guess" we should all be given tickets and jail time hell I "guess" even if there's not a shred of proof or evidence(which by the way we are entitled to by our constitution) the law better lock us all away in prison. I "guess" at least you got 3 hots and a cot right?
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
I think this country has gone "MAD" this country is lawless both in regards to the rogue cops, as well as the criminal element. It's time that the "HIGH" Court is relieved of it's duty they all appear to be either over medicated or not taking their medications this is absolutely crazy this country will not be satisfied until the people of this country are running through the streets acting like it's the wild west. it's coming just let them keep on doing stupid things remember these people are products coming from the same sick society as those they find regular people undesirables and charge them for crimes even when they know the cop lied people are getting very tired the paradigm will shift soon the politicians Will be running for cover these people are not going to stand for any more abrasive stupidity that only impacts the middle and poor class
This doesn't automatically mean your guilty. If issued a ticket in this fashion you have the right to put the "extensive training" on trial. I suspect another case will establish such subjective evidence as difficult to win with. Could be fun to watch these idiots drain more of the states money ( their own pension accounts) with such trials.
Come on.... this is the USA, the land of the FREE... what a joke!!!!
the police can send you to jail if they "think" you might be here illegally–in arizona, anyway. the language in arizona sb 1070 is vague (probably purposely so) to allow law enforcement the right to detain any one for any reason. "lawful contact" can mean almost anything and it's lack of explicit definition is why there is fear of racial profiling.
Jack, this isn't unique, and yes many states already allow this. New York for one, has long allowed testimony of a properly trained officer to provide estimates. Must be a slow news day if this is all ya got.
@Lon: The US Supreme Court didn't elect a president. They decided an issue with the election that was before the courts.
@Jon: What country do you live in that civil cases get juries? Here in the US juries are only used in (some) criminal cases. Civil cases are heard before a judge.
Was the cop in this instance stationary? In motion? Did he have visual references of other cars doing 60? His own car doing a particular speed?
If I were standing on the side of the road I wouldn't be able to accurately tell the difference between 60 and 70. But even without training, if I'm driving 60 it's easy to tell if another car is going 10 mph or more faster than I am.
I wonder what else that police can "observe" but not require any proof of in the future, and they can take you to court over that too.
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.
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