Case Pits Police Radar Against GPS in Teen's Car

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News Posted: Wed, Oct 3 2007 11:14 PM
GPS has many uses, and its use has been expanded to include tracking of teens by parents.  Now it might just prove to get a teen out of trouble.

The case represents the first time anyone has contested a speedingticket in Sonoma County courts using a global positioning system, whichpinpoints speed and location using lightning-fast calculations andsatellites.

All GPS systems installed in vehicles calculate speed and location, butthe tracking device in Malone's 2000 Toyota Celica GTS downloads theinformation to his parent's computer.

The family says, based onthe data, that Malone was going the posted speed limit of 45 mph onLakeville Highway the morning of July 4 at virtually the same time andlocation where a Petaluma motorcycle officer used radar to cite theteen for going 62 mph.


Interesting, but if we were jurors we'd want to know just how accurate that speed data generated by that specific GPS unit would be.  If you were a juror, would you trust a GPS unit or a time-tested radar unit?
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GPS might just provide the reasonable-doubt to acquit the teen. 

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Grahf replied on Fri, Oct 5 2007 1:28 AM

Who knew big brother could save you in a pinch. 

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kid007 replied on Fri, Oct 5 2007 1:02 PM

in this case it could be argue, the GPS company has to be accurate if not they are out of business and could possibly be in a lawsuit for selling something that don't work. Now the question could be if the officer radar was not calibrated. In few case that has happen but if the kid has a good lawyer they could argue that with the DA and don't have an formal hearing.

In other case I drive the same car that the kid those. and i have been in court few time because radars not been calibrated. my advice always have a digital camara in hand you never know when it would save you...

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News replied on Fri, Oct 5 2007 3:16 PM
I'm pretty sure I commented on this... Where'd it go?
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News replied on Fri, Oct 5 2007 3:31 PM
Yes, we've made some system changes and lost a couple of posts in the process. Sorry about that!
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realneil replied on Wed, Jan 20 2010 7:55 AM

I wonder how this case turned out? Did the calibrated radar unit and the testimony of the Officer prevail? Did the parent's succeed in clouding the mind of the presiding judge enough to avoid a fine?

 

Why do I care?

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realneil replied on Wed, Jan 20 2010 8:01 AM

I searched and found an answer:  http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20071121/NEWS/711210324?Title=GPS-rejected-in-speeding-ticket-challenge

But it said that they're gonna appeal the decision.

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kid007 replied on Wed, Jan 20 2010 10:41 AM

I've decided that the law is just plain stupid why in the world would you not use that evidence? oh wait let just discard all the DNA testing because of it...

 

Dumb judges I always wonder what level of education have those stupid people that are interpret the law...

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Yeah this is a darn shame. I am all for trusting the cop, but really it's the cops word versus actual computer data.

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kid007 replied on Wed, Jan 20 2010 2:33 PM

I would only trust a cop if he is a family member, if not i will never trust a cop. I need to move to Texas :)

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Law is all about precedent. The judge is probably afraid how many speeding tickets could be overturned on similar grounds if the teen's ticket was dismissed. This is the same reason the courts were slow to accept DNA evidence.

Also this article might shed some light:

Hard times bring more tickets: Speeding citations rise when local tax revenue falls

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kid007 replied on Wed, Jan 20 2010 3:29 PM

dude no offense, but that the biggest bs ever. judges have to do their job and if they don't their job they should be fired. he is not doing his job. Judges should interpret the evidence and use it.

there is something way fishy about that case that the court would not take that evidence. i mean either the judge is a completely A*hole or just plain stupid...

he must not have a cell phone since that is to technologically advance for him...

 

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rapid1 replied on Wed, Jan 20 2010 3:56 PM

I agree with Super Dave it sheds enough doubt on the actual speed to offer an inconclusive verdict to be rendered. On top of that I also know radar detectors if not properly reset every day to be inaccurate. I actually won a court case on the same thing and or with the combination of terrain (I was coming down an exceptionally steep long hill with multiple sharp curves. Therefore when I reached the bottom of said hil directly after rounding one of the curves (the hill is about a 70-75 degree hill as well) there was no way possible for me to be going the officers stated speed and his radar gun had not been re calibrated for a week. He was also over what my speedometer said by 16 mph. So it was thrown out.

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None taken Smile.

I agree, it is pretty much BS. And as rapid1 and SuperDave have stated, the evidence is enough for reasonable doubt.

It sucks that this is the way our legal system works. The case is still in county court though so I think it can be appealed at the state level as well.

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kid007 replied on Wed, Jan 20 2010 8:14 PM

just think about the money those people are paying just to proof their innocence....

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Soupstyle replied on Wed, Jan 20 2010 9:39 PM

GPS is way more accurate than radar, there is just less guessing involved. The signal from the car gets triangulated to within a meter, if they have that data and are taking data every 30 seconds, they can both get an average speed for the trip and instantaneous data every half minute, that is far more accurate than any one time taken radar gun. Unless the kid was cycling between 62 and 28 mph the half minute (which I think would be reckless driving and not a speeding charge), there is no way they could get 45 mph for the same time as he was tagged by the radar gun.

I think it is more that the case would create a precident that implicitly questions the police's techniques and methods, which the judge obviously didn't want to deal with or have his name on.

Radar guns have to be calibrated fairly frequently and they aren't 100% accurate either. I've heard of places that would calibrate their radars to read 5~10 mph over the actual speed, just like some major league baseball teams do to brag about pitch speeds, most people won't contest a speeding ticket and it's free money into the police & county/city/state coffers.

When I lived in DC, there are traffic cameras all over that ticket you if the radar says you are speeding, but often they are wrong. Some people who have the time are able to get out of those tickets by asking to have the person who ticketed them show in court (a legal right in some places) but as more people used that trick, I'm sure that laws & statutes have been passed to close the loophole. The governments and LEAs (local and otherwise) are expecting you to just mail in a check, and are going to make you go out of your way to fight fines like this.

You have to think, did he point it at an oncoming or passing car by accident and the kid just happened to pull over and so the officer took the easy ticket instead of a chase?

Blah sorry for the rant, but radar guns make me angry.

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gibbersome replied on Wed, Jan 20 2010 10:28 PM

Soupstyle:

GPS is way more accurate than radar, there is just less guessing involved. The signal from the car gets triangulated to within a meter, if they have that data and are taking data every 30 seconds, they can both get an average speed for the trip and instantaneous data every half minute, that is far more accurate than any one time taken radar gun. Unless the kid was cycling between 62 and 28 mph the half minute (which I think would be reckless driving and not a speeding charge), there is no way they could get 45 mph for the same time as he was tagged by the radar gun.

That would be possible if the teen had just accelerated from a stop sign. However, I have a feeling that wasn't the case.

 

Soupstyle:

Radar guns have to be calibrated fairly frequently and they aren't 100% accurate either. I've heard of places that would calibrate their radars to read 5~10 mph over the actual speed, just like some major league baseball teams do to brag about pitch speeds, most people won't contest a speeding ticket and it's free money into the police & county/city/state coffers.

Blah sorry for the rant, but radar guns make me angry.

That's why I like states that allow radar detectors in their cars. State troopers are the worst.

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rapid1 replied on Thu, Jan 21 2010 12:38 AM

rofl in general it's not the state troopers who are the worst it is small town local police. Although I believe state troopers have a set ticket quota. But when you go through these small one stop light town especially they need money anywhere they can get it. So they get a sharp curve or underpass or something it is almost always speed trapped and will often have a speed reduction going around the curve or sitting in a very low light area.

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