Monday, December 14, 2009

Sounds sensible to us

The Ohio Court of Appeals has quite reasonably ruled that police officers in that state must use objective facts in order to cite a motorist for speeding, and that "the car sounded fast, and I could tell it was speeding just by listening to it" just doesn't meet that evidentiary threshold:

"In weighing the evidence and all reasonable inferences and considering the credibility of the witnesses, we conclude that this presents the exceptional case, where the evidence weighs heavily in favor of [defendant Daniel] Freitag," Judge Donna J. Carr wrote for the court. "The weight of the evidence does not support the conclusion that Freitag was exceeding the posted speed limit, specifically because [West Salem] Patrolman [Ken] Roth's testimony that he audibly and visibly determined that Freitag was speeding is not credible... It is simply incredible, in the absence of reliable scientific, technical, or other specialized information, to believe that one could hear an unidentified vehicle 'speeding' without being able to determine the actual speed of the vehicle."

Our header-equipped Chevrolet Nova just breathed a huge sigh of relief.

The speed differential that Patrolman Roth claimed to be able to distinguish with his fantastic auditory acuity, by the way? Well, the ticket he wrote stated that Mr. Freitag was going 42 in a 35 mph zone.

He's good, isn't he?


Bike Bubba said...

Physically, it's possible--someone with perfect or strong relative pitch could theoretically note that the doppler effect (which is how all radar/laser detectors work to begin with) was, say, 3 full steps instead of 2.5 corresponding to 35mph or something like that.....

...of course, that begs the question "why would someone with perfect pitch and intimate knowledge of the physics of the Doppler Effect working as a cop?"


Well done by the court.

Anonymous said...

The story I read stated that radar was also used, but that evidence was thrown out since the ticket didn't specify the brand of radar that was used and the court has only taken notice of one brand.