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Message-ID: <>
From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Need help with math problem
Date: Sat, 09 Feb 2002 02:45:06 -0500

"Carl A." wrote:
> "Dick" <> wrote in message
> > Since the readout was not recorded I would guess that the cop would
> > probably not even show up.
> Really?  It's the cop's word against hers.  I've always wondered whether radar
> guns come with a little printer that spits out the measured speed.

No.  The Stalker can be had with a printer but I've never seen a cop use one.
Mostly used by race teams for performance measurements.  The cop doesn't need
a printed record because he is presumed to be truthful, honest and accurate.

Traffic court, at least here and in Ga, the two places I'm most familiar with,
is completely cooked against you and FOR the state.  Your first encounter will
be roll call at 8:00AM (for day court; a similarly inconvenient time for night
court.)  You're not there, an arrest warrant is issued.  Then you wait.  The
judge calls all the defendants in and gives a little speech.  He tells you
that while you have the right to a trial, it is in your best interest to plead
guilty and pay.  If you elect not to, then if you're convicted, a lot of court
costs attach, plus in both Ga and Tn, points attach.  Plead guilty and points
usually don't attach unless you're 25 over or reckless driving or some such.
If you choose to proceed, you'll wait until you're called.  You're asked for a
plead.  If you plead "not guilty", the only thing that happens is that you're
given ANOTHER court date.  Designed to harass you into pleading.  The judge
has the option of making you post bond at that point.  Notice that so far the
cop has not entered into it.  He won't be there.

When you appear for your trial date, the cop won't be there.  Part of the
plan.  You have the right to have the case dismissed but the judge won't do
that.  He'll reschedule you yet again.  Now you have THREE days in court.

When you finally appear for the trial, if you're still so foolish as to
proceed, the cop will present his case  by rote, normally by reading the
ticket.  His testimony is presumed accurate and truthful.  He'll present the
radar data.  The radar gun is presumed to be accurate and infallible.
Therefore if you are to avoid a guilty verdict, you must prove a) that the cop
is lying, b) that the cop made a mistake, c) that there is something
technically wrong with the radar gun or its usage, or all of the above.  And
remember that the cop will have testified that he used the gun according to
department procedure and that is presumed correct.  The cop will sound like
he's reciting a script because he is.

Sometimes the cop comes up with not-very-creative reasons not to show up yet
again.  The usual excuse is that he's participating in an arrest somewhere
else.  In that event, yet again your case will be continued and scheduled for
another court date.

After you have your hearing and lose, you will pay some combination of the
following:  The full fine, court costs, a litigation tax (currently $72 here)
and sometimes an administrative fee.  Expect to have at least a couple hundred
$$$ added onto your fine.  If you're in a state like GA that gives you the
right to a jury trial and you elect that and you lose (the judge will charge
the jury that they MUST presume the cop to be truthful and accurate so only
someone who believes in jury nullification will vote not guilty, absent hard
proof to the contrary from you.), you'll pay a jury tax in addition to
everything else.  In the several cases in Cobb County, Ga that I sat in on to
see how the system worked, the jury tax varied between $1k and $2k!!!

You're going to spend some money but if your goal is to keep the state from
profiting from its fraud, the solution is to hire one of the high volume
traffic attorneys who advertise in the yellow pages and at truck stops.
You'll pay him a retainer of something between $100 and $200 (for simple
speeding). After you do that, the attorney will ask for a copy of the ticket.
He won't ask you any details because he doesn't need them.  The system doesn't
work that way.  He'll tell you that he'll call you when your case is resolved
and you leave.

Here's how the system works.  The attorney (or more likely a paralegal) goes
to the clerk of the traffic court once a week or so with a large handful of
tickets.  They have a pre-arranged deal where some small part of the
"retainer", something on the order of $35, is paid to the court. But as part
of the deal the "conviction" is not reported, points don't attach and your
insurance company doesn't find out.  They call the process by various names
but a pretrial diversion is typical. The record will reflect a dismissal but
with costs attached. You get a phone call that your case is settled in your
favor and all is well.

An astute reader will ask how the attorney does this, what leverage he has.
Easy.  He has an agreement with the DA that in return for the above procedure
(or some variation), the attorney won't clog the system by forcing full trials
on the couple hundred tickets he handles each week.  In return, the state gets
a smaller but steady and reliable cash flow.

I've personally beaten two speeding tickets, once by baffling with bullshit
and once by just having to have had my GPS system logging my speed when I was
stopped (remember that TRAX program I mentioned?)  The first case was back in
the early days of computing where color output was unheard of.  I had an 8 pen
HP plotter and a CAD system so I drew out the roadway, the cop's location,
where I was when radared and then some eye candy such as a plot of cosine
error vs angle from the road, beam divergence, locations of potential
interference sources and such.  The judge was so impressed by my color drawing
that he forgot about the case and we spent 30 mins or so chatting about
computers and how I generated the chart.

In the second case I had hard data from the GPS.  I also had a PE stamped
document prepared by a PE friend of mine attesting to the accuracy of my
system and my calculations.  And I added in a touch of bafflement by
bullshitting.  That one was still a crap shoot and the judge sat there for
several minutes before rendering his decision in my favor.  My commenting
while presenting my case that I was laying the detailed groundwork for an
appeal, if necessary, probably had a major impact.  They DON'T like having the
system clogged up with someone who appears determined.  Better to let him go
and proceed to the next victim.

The above description is how it works in Tn and Ga, states that classify a
traffic ticket as a criminal offense.  If you're in a state that classifies
the ticket as a civil matter to be resolved in an administrative court, you're
in much deeper doodoo.  Since you're not being prosecuted in a criminal
matter, constitutional protections don't apply.  Instead of a trial, you'll
have an administrative hearing. You will have no  right to compel the
production of documents nor to subpoena witnesses nor other evidence. (In a
criminal case, subpoenaing the radar gun, its calibration records, its
maintenance records, the tuning forks, the cop's radar training record and a
few other things will usually persuade the state to cut bait and minimize
their loss.)  You'll be presumed guilty and will have to "show cause" why you
should not be assessed a civil penalty (fine).  In other words, you have to
prove yourself innocent in the face of there not being the "beyond a
reasonable doubt" standard for conviction.  The civil rule of the
preponderance of the evidence will apply.  The practical choices are to pay
the fine or hire a traffic attorney.


Message-ID: <>
From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Need help with math problem
Date: Sat, 09 Feb 2002 01:52:27 -0500

"Carl A." wrote:

> It's a 1995 LSS with the standard engine, so 9 seconds may well be right.  Let's
> hope the judge doesn't know that.

Thinking that way, you WILL lose.  Regardless of what the Constitution and
your Civics class said, in traffic court you ARE guilty until you prove your
innocence.  You need to realize that the cop is assumed by the court to be
fully truthful and reliable.  You are not.  That some of the fine goes into
the judges' retirement fund (at least here in Tn) might have something to do
with it.

> Also, of course, 9 seconds would probably
> require flooring the accelerator -- something we just don't do past our teenage
> years . . .

Sez who?!?!


Message-ID: <>
From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Need help with math problem
Date: Fri, 08 Feb 2002 16:44:56 -0500

"George E. Cawthon" wrote:

> As a person very naive about the law, I once thought that
> facts and evidence were comparable.  Sitting many hours in
> court, waiting for a cases that weren't about me, I found
> that evidence just means what someone says is a fact.  The
> preponderance of evidence in one direction can't compete
> with a single piece of evidence that is a scientific fact.

I provide a variety of expert services (traffic radar, among others) to
attorneys.  One of my first attorney clients told me a little aphorism that
I'll never forget, "You check the truth, along with your hat and coat, before
you enter the court room."  Justice not equal to Truth, especially in the
court room.

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