Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ohio Supreme Court: Racing into the unknown

OH, MY! The august Ohio supreme court has now ruled that it would take nothing more than a police officer's radar-less estimate to convict a motorist of speeding. Oh, you could go to court, but it's not likely that your word against the officer's would permit you to escape a fine. In other words, you will be guilty with no valid opportunity to prove yourself innocent. The 5-1 decision by the all-Republican court was covered by Justice Maureen O'Connor ,writing for the majority. She opined:
"Independent verification of the vehicle's speed is not necessary to support a conviction for speeding."
She did say the officer should have been trained and certified by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy. Oh? Certified to do what? Convict on the spot?
The ridiculous ruling is asking for trouble. Might we assume that a motorist might be cited not by dead reckoning but by profiling? Or by egregious line-of-sight error?
Fortunately, most law enforcement people are not buying into O'Connor's argument and say they will continue to rely on radar, thank you. Good for them!
And so to my hometown newspaper, which applauded the move in a Sunday editorial that warned: "Speeders, prepare to be unhappy," I would add: "Non-speeders, too." The current way of nailing speeders wasn't broken. So why did the court try to fix it?


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