Sunday, June 13, 2010
The Big Police Speeding Case
Last week, the news and printed media reported extensively about the Ohio Supreme Court's holding that police officers can pull someone over (and prosecutors can convict if necessary) by using, essentially, their visual estimate of speed. In Barberton v. Jenny, the Ohio Supreme Court said it was constitutionally permissible to have an officer with the proper amount of training and certification to competently testify about a driver's rate of speed - without the necessity of a radar or laser gun or without the use of a technique called "pacing" (where the officer follows a driver for a certain distance "pacing" his or her speed) or airplane spotting. The Court said there was no constitutional prohibition on this visual estimate as long as the officer had the necessary training and certification. The Supreme Court of Ohio overruled the position held by the Cuyahoga County Court of Appeals, and has issued a decision that is not setting very well with the general public. As a practical matter, most police departments will not use this method of speed detection. The writer of this blog has yet to speak to a single police officer who says they intend on trying this new method out. Ohio stock in laser and radar equipment may take a dive if this method becomes popular.