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Burden of proof ?

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posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 12:38 PM
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Well, I'm speechless....! I thought it was a joke initially, but it seems not. This may seem trivial to some, but the fact that a Supreme Court Justice can come out with this kind of idiocy is quite simply beyond belief.


Ohio Supreme Court Rules Officers Can Just Guess How Fast You’re Going

Source


In what has to be one of the biggest violations of common sense and burden of proof in motoring news this year, the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that officers can “visually estimate” how fast a person is driving… and give them a ticket for it.
Thanks Ohio Supreme Court for giving cops the green light to make up speeding tickets.
Supreme Court Justice Maureen O’Connor said “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.”
Hey “Supreme Court Justices” why don’t you guys get this part of what laws are supposed to do through your thick skulls. It’s safe to say that officers might be trained to identify speeds, and they might even be great at it – but it blasts the notion of burden of proof being on the state out of the water. You didn’t just blast it out, you nuked that fish to dry land. There is no factual evidence when officers have the ability to do this, “I think you were going 120 mph.”
Where is the public recourse for police officers who abuse their abilities? We have to take an officer’s (the state) word that we committed a crime? Did you guys even go to law school?



[edit on 6-6-2010 by D377MC]

[edit on 6-6-2010 by D377MC]




posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 01:07 PM
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Actually, law enforcement are allowed (legally) to rely on their experience and training in many instances. Speed isn't always one of those recognized areas but I don't see why not.
Gang signs is the first thing I thought of related to this. Many officers, not to mention specific tactical and gang units, are specifically trained to identify specific hand and/or other gestures that wouldn't mean a thing to me. They use this training and experience to identify gang members allowing them to legally interact with same.
Burglary tools, a murder/kidnap kit. Just thought of those as well. Seeing some duct tape, a shovel, plastic ties and some rope in a guys trunk or finding a pair of wire cutters, some pliers or other mundane tools on a guy might not mean much to everyone and would not be illegal in and of themselves but police might have a different take on it based on their training and experience (and the totality of the circumstances at hand).



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 01:22 PM
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reply to post by D377MC
 


While I 100% understand where you're coming from with this, I see both sides of the issue.

In extreme cases this could be used to catch speeders going 95mph+ when an officer doesn't have the appropriate equipment to prove their speed; on the other hand this could be someone going 35mph on a thin road, making it seem as if they're going much faster.

I agree that if you "know" someone is speeding you shouldn't need to prove it, but at the same time I would hate it if I were going 2 miles above and I was pulled over because the officer "knew" i was going faster than I was supposed to.

In closing, interesting find, and I look forward to see others opinion on this. Peace.


Unseen



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 01:58 PM
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35Foxtrot - You are clearly missing the point. By not giving someone ticketed for speeding a chance at contesting an officer's opinion of their supposed speed, they are taking away the legal burden of proof required in every case, in every court of law in the United States. This law is unconstitutional, that's the point. What about a person who isn't speeding, but "fits the description" or offends another questionable belief an officer may hold. I am on the side of law enforcement, but no one is above the constitution, except police officers in Ohio, I guess. This is a step in the wrong direction; giving police officers the right to be judge, jury, and executioner opens up some dangerous doorways. By the way, in your example you stated something related to an officer's ability to spot equipment in a vehicle that might suggest the person is a criminal. Does that mean if a cop finds duct tape, plastic ties, rope, wire cutters, and other tools he believes are "mundane", as you put it, he should arrest the person on site? What is a mundane tool to you could be tools of the trade to another.

The point is, this is not a question of ability, but of constitutionality. The police, nor the government, should ever be able to enact laws that infringe on the constitutional rights of the citizens of this country. That is what our founding fathers had in mind, to design a system where the rights of the government never exceeded the rights of the people governed. What next, a cop drives by your house, hears loud music, kicks down your door, and throws you in cuffs on the floor with a boot on your neck because it has been his experience that people that listen to that kind of music loudly are all drug dealers? This is an exaggerated example, but the kind of legislation here you are supporting could lead to this type of activity in the future. Read the United States Constitution and maybe you will get a stronger sense of what 'We the people' actually means. This law is not it.

ct



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 02:16 PM
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nly reply to post by cthomas
 


"Burden of Proof applies to burdens in court. A ticket is an accusation, not a conviction. The state still needs to prove every element of the crime (or violation in the case of speeding) beyond a reasonable doubt. So, all is not lost. The cop's skills at estimating speed can still be attacked. And, in fact, it might even be turned to the driver's advantage.
"Tell me, Officer. Isn't it a fact that you didn't turn the radar on because you KNEW he wasn't speeding. You didn't want this jury to know the truth, did you?"



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 02:22 PM
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An officers judgment of speed is only good enough proof when looking for a bribe.



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 03:25 PM
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Originally posted by cthomas
35Foxtrot - You are clearly missing the point. By not giving someone ticketed for speeding a chance at contesting an officer's opinion of their supposed speed, they are taking away the legal burden of proof required in every case, in every court of law in the United States. This law is unconstitutional, that's the point. What about a person who isn't speeding, but "fits the description" or offends another questionable belief an officer may hold. I am on the side of law enforcement, but no one is above the constitution, except police officers in Ohio, I guess. This is a step in the wrong direction; giving police officers the right to be judge, jury, and executioner opens up some dangerous doorways. By the way, in your example you stated something related to an officer's ability to spot equipment in a vehicle that might suggest the person is a criminal. Does that mean if a cop finds duct tape, plastic ties, rope, wire cutters, and other tools he believes are "mundane", as you put it, he should arrest the person on site? What is a mundane tool to you could be tools of the trade to another.

The point is, this is not a question of ability, but of constitutionality. The police, nor the government, should ever be able to enact laws that infringe on the constitutional rights of the citizens of this country. That is what our founding fathers had in mind, to design a system where the rights of the government never exceeded the rights of the people governed. What next, a cop drives by your house, hears loud music, kicks down your door, and throws you in cuffs on the floor with a boot on your neck because it has been his experience that people that listen to that kind of music loudly are all drug dealers? This is an exaggerated example, but the kind of legislation here you are supporting could lead to this type of activity in the future. Read the United States Constitution and maybe you will get a stronger sense of what 'We the people' actually means. This law is not it.

ct


Thanks, I'm glad you understood and framed the issue immediately. This is mind-blowing to me and should be to anyone with legal training: it quite simply opens the floodgates to abuse, with no safeguards in sight.

I really have to wonder when I see articles like this: where the hell are all the lawyers and why the hell is no-one incensed at the legal implications of this?



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 03:44 PM
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Regardless of whether you agree with this premise or not I believe it sets a horrible precedent. We all know that there are quotas for how many tickets, arrests, etc. cops must make in many cities (proven in NYC). If a cop is behind on his quota he could just pull anyone over and hand them a ticket with no proof and without fear of any punishment or argumnet. How anyone supports this ruling....

Isn't there some phrase like innocent until PROVEN guilty in our legal code? This case grossly redefines "proof".



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 03:47 PM
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Originally posted by cthomas
35Foxtrot - You are clearly missing the point. ...
ct


No. I'm not. You can still attempt to refute the officer's accusation.

It bothers me when people simplify things so much just to try to make a point. No one is making anyone sole arbiter of guilt. We still have courts and all elements of a crime must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Still.

It also bothers me when people draw things out to extreme examples or try to use the worst case scenario to prove they're right. If you have cops willing to do what you're claiming (whatever you were going on about "fitting the description" or upsetting some officer's belief and that officer charging that person with speeding) you've got bigger issues - and unimaginative cops. Yes. Some cops are bad apples. Most are not. The bad ones get weeded out. Most often by trying to do just what you fear - bending the law to suit and/or enrich themselves. We have laws to deal with that. If a bored cop wants to try to get me on some trumped up charge, let him try. I guarantee I'll do my best to defeat his arguments and allegations (if I'm innocent...) and maybe weed out a bad cop.

I used "mundane" to apply to an inexperienced/untrained person's opinion of said tools. Sorry for the confusion.

Those tools cannot be used by themselves to prove anything. Kinda my point. And kinda why I included a "totality of the circumstances" disclaimer. However, if you have someone who has allegedly shoplifted and you are concerned with charging that person for a crime not happening in that officer's presence, those same tools can be used to prove an intent to defeat security devices based on the experience and training of that officer (and his judgement of the totality of the circumstances). In some states that makes it a felony (and therefore arrestable even if the officer did not see the alleged crime himself).

I have read the constitution. Several times. Top to bottom. I take it seriously as I've put my life on the line to defend it. Daily. For a LONG time. No one is subverting it or trying to.

But. I don't get where you're coming from with the no laws should ever infringe on anyone else's constitutional rights. They do. And they should. There are some messed up people out there that I do not want to have any rights beyond to draw air and maybe eat a little... I'm kidding a little here but what about insane people? What about incarcerated murderers? They're still citizens. The only thing stepping in the way of their exercising of their constitutional rights is that they broke a law and were convicted in a court of law. Same way it works for everyone from speeders to pedophiles. By your reasoning that "The police, nor the government, should ever be able to enact laws that infringe on the constitutional rights of the citizens of this country," we should be barred from passing any law making anything illegal as it would result in the curtailment of someone's constitutional rights.

You know what? I don't like paying taxes. I won't follow that law either because it's gotta be unconstitutional, right? It infringes on my constitutional right to the pursuit of happiness. Taxes make me extremely UNhappy... See? I can draw things out to the extreme too. Only in my case, I'm joking to show the absurdity.

My POINT was not that any of this is right or wrong (although I clearly don't have as big a problem with it as you do) by the way. It was that this is not NEW. Experience and training are commonly used by law enforcement. No one has messed with the burden of proof. It's still there and the state is still required to meet it before those evil scheming cops lock you in the windowless cell while circumventing the courts.



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 03:54 PM
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Originally posted by time91
Regardless of whether you agree with this premise or not I believe it sets a horrible precedent. We all know that there are quotas for how many tickets, arrests, etc. cops must make in many cities (proven in NYC). If a cop is behind on his quota he could just pull anyone over and hand them a ticket with no proof and without fear of any punishment or argumnet. How anyone supports this ruling....

Isn't there some phrase like innocent until PROVEN guilty in our legal code? This case grossly redefines "proof".


How does it redefine proof? The courts are still there and all elements of a crime must be proven the same way in any criminal case.

No one is aboloshing the court system.

Also, I'd be interested in seeing your proof from NYC of quotas for the number of arrests an officer must make in a given time.



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 04:26 PM
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Originally posted by 35Foxtrot
How does it redefine proof? The courts are still there and all elements of a crime must be proven the same way in any criminal case.

It expands upon eyewitness testimony for tickets without any proof. Eyewitness testimony judging speed is different from murder, robbery, etc. because it requires an estimation based upon someones vision. Its ridiculous to think a cop can know when someone is speeding unless someone is going WAY over the speed limit, and even then they could just make it up.



No one is aboloshing the court system.

...Ok.


Also, I'd be interested in seeing your proof from NYC of quotas for the number of arrests an officer must make in a given time.


There have been many reports all over the news (mainstream and alternative) as well as these boards.
NYC Police have ticket quotas
NYPD arrest quotas
NYPD officer reveals quotas, corruption



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 06:18 PM
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While appealing something like this would be next to impossible, thanks to the ruling of the supreme court, a peaceful protest would be fun. Pay the bill in pennies. It's legal tender, so they're required to accept it.



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