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.
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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?