Why I'm Here
I'm here researching primarily other peoples experiences in dealing with police encounters. It seems socially acceptable to just accept in public media and in courts the word of a cop as golden and truthfully, while it seems anyone else is clearly lieing if their story doesn't match the cops.
I've been a defendant in US courts over traffic violations in the past. I find it rather ironic that the court proceedings begin with "The state has the burden of proving the charge against you beyond any reasonable doubt", yet most court cases (traffic) amount to the cop saying you did something, you saying you did not. It just begs the question, how is just a cop saying something amounting to resolving a burden of proof beyond any reasonable doubt?
They say the state has this burden of proof, so why is there never any actual proof provided? Yet time after time people are found guilty in traffic court despite this complete lack of any proof?
I've been reading here for some time as a lurker. I read extravagant stories of items to request in court. Isn't this over kill? I mean after all, the State has the burden of proof. Why are you subjecting yourself to the burden of innocence when it should be the courts and the police who are required to provide actual proof of your accused guilt?
The legal system itself needs to be questioned. If your sworn testimony that you were not speeding is not substantial proof of your innocence then how can it be possible for the sworn testimony of a cop to be sufficient evidence, and often the only evidence of your guilt?
People complain about "Big Brother" traffic speed and red light cameras as if they are a bad thing. Live somewhere that does not have these devices and you risk the potential of even more big brother abuse. Places that have these devices seem to be better following the law, as in they are at least attempting to provide a degree of proof.
I'm not an advocate by any means for these devices, but past experiences have led me to feel as though my rights and privileges would be better protected if such devices were required in court findings as burden of proof for your guilt.
Here's why, people say things like "the police can't do this, they can't do that". Here's the reality, the police do what ever they want to do and if required WILL lie about it in court. Countless examples of this can be found, use your brain. "Police can't just stop you if you're not wearing a seat belt", police do this all the time, if need be, in court the cop will just lie and say he stopped you for not using your turn signal, noticed you weren't wearing a seat belt so he ticketed you for it. How are you going to prove your innocence in court that you did use your turn signal and he stopped you for no reason? You aren't, so what are you going to do, request the technical data on the windshield utilized in his car and try to argue this windshield design blocked his ability to see you were using your turn signal?
I think too many people here are taking the wrong approaches to matters by trying to think in ways like requesting the technician who certified the radar equipment be present (are you aware that by doing so you'll be required to pay for this expense, most technicians bill more than lawyer fees), or claims that the cop was using LIDAR at 1500ft instead of the required 1000ft. You don't have to try and understand technical specifics of a device used if your argument in court follows the color of law and holds the judge, state attorneys, and police to actually being required to "prove your guilt beyond any reasonable doubt" as the law requires. A cops word does not prove your case against you beyond any reasonable doubt.
The bottom line is cops go to school, and deal with the courts daily, they are taught how to lie to make their case against you. What needs to be questioned in court to win your case is the demand for the burden of proof actually be presented. This is the states burden, not yours. You should be able to set in the court room and not say a single word other than entering your plea of not guilty. The state must be able to prove beyond any reasonable doubt you are guilty, just a cop saying you did it does not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt when the judge deciding the case did not see the claimed event take place himself in order to make a ruling against you.
As a private citizen defending yourself you are also by law entitled special privileges in court that do not require you to cross all your t's and dot all your i's, the state is required to follow the specific letters of the law. If you hire a lawyer then you loose this privilege.
When in court, if you didn't do it and your asked to testify, just testify you did not do it. Leave it at that. The cop will present his case against you. He'll say things like he was certified for radar use in the year what ever, he ran the auto calibration on his radar unit twice that day, he clocked your vehicle doing the accused speed. They have a text book presentation they are taught to make like this. In closing arguments, that's the time to speak. If they utilize a state lawyer or prosecutor in your area they will close by stating they have proven beyond any reasonable doubt the case against you by the officers testimony. That's when you close by stating the state has provided no sufficient proof or evidence of the charge against you, this case has amounted to nothing more that one persons word against the other, no sufficient proof has been provided and you should be found not guilty due to a lack of any evidence against you.
This puts the judge on the spot because if he still finds you guilty despite the lack of any proof provided (which most states other than AZ will have none) the case can be requested for review of his/her judgment against you. The judges neck then falls on the line, so if he finds you guilty with no sufficient evidence available to prove the case "beyond any reasonable doubt" do not accept this judgment against you, have the court records reviewed.
I would like to eventually take a case before the Supreme Court that police radar and even LIDAR and VASCAR should be found insufficient as any degree of evidence in utilizing a charge against a person just based on their error potential. If police wish to conduct speed enforcement then they should be required to do so with equipment that leaves no margin of error or potential for mistake or human user error. People are having their livelihood directly affected by fines, suspensions and increased insurance cost based on technology that leaves margins of error. With most state governments currently struggling to obtain political budgets even more pressure is being placed on law enforcement to increase revenue by increasing traffic enforcement for the purpose of revenue generation. All these "police are not supposed to do" urban legends are being tossed out the window and police are just doing what ever they want to do, including just saying you were speeding even if you weren't, maybe just to increase their claimed ticket counts, maybe just because they wanted to be an A-hole because they seen a radar detector mounted in your vehicle.
Re: Why I'm Here
Can I get a copy of the cliff notes?
Re: Why I'm Here
Re: Why I'm Here
Love it... i am actually preparing to do just this in court... Plea not guilty... wait for his response, then cross and ask to see all of the proof... certification records, calibration records, proof that he had clear sight of the two points for vascar (as i have some that questions this), ask why the LEO stated "I appreciate the overtime" when told i would be fighting the case, show proof that his unit is out of calibration with simple math... etc...
Re: Why I'm Here
Amen, nbleadfoot99... Amen.
Current priorities for constabularies regarding traffic have nothing whatsoever to do with safety. It's all about the money.
If I'm passing you on the right, YOU are in the wrong lane!
If speed kills, how come I'm still alive?
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Re: Why I'm Here
Even with preponderance, as I understand it, the greater weight of evidence is needed sometimes phrased as the more convincing evidence and its probable truth or accuracy. Although that may be sujective. To me, guilt is proven or not and one person's word against another's is not proof of guilt, merely two statements. One being a sworn peace officer and the other just the defendant means lttle to me - I place no more weight or value to a LEO's testimony than I do anyone else's. Maybe this is why many LE agencies conduct patrols consisting of two officers.I usually don't get picked for jury duty because of my opinion on this. If juries would think about these things I think there would be far fewer convictions.
Originally Posted by nbleadfoot99
Just my opinion.