My question involves traffic court in the State of: New Jersey
When the trial is in New Jersey!
I have written written about my speeding ticket in another post leading up to this day, check it out here:
So I finally get a court date when the officer shows up and once again I'm the last person called (3 and half hour wait). I start off with an oral motion to have the prosecution be precluded from using the traffic survey. My original motion to compel (months earlier) was denied, so I figured I'd give it another shot since it seems the prosecution is clueless on what this document really means. The judge then asks me some questions, then decides the court needs a break. I wait about thirty minutes, he comes back, then more questions and finally I convince him to grant my motion. I believe the only reason my motion was granted was because the prosecuter told the judge he wasn't going to bring a traffic survey.
I know just about everybody in California who has fought a speeding ticket is thinking this is a slam dunk win! No traffic survey from the prosecution, no way they can win! Think again, this is New Jersey! Of course, my next motion was to have the case dismissed based on the state being unable to prove the legal speed limit, an essential element of the case. The judge denied the motion on the basis that its up to the court to decide what evidence is needed to try the case.
And so the circus begins!
My first objection came at the mention of the officers mention of the speed limit. I objected on lack of proper foundation, no proof of the legal speed limit. Officer states that there is a speed limit sign showing the speed limit. I provide numerous case law...a sign is not the law...stating the Speed limit is not sufficient...state must prove sign is legal...a traffic survey in accordance with MUTCD...etc
That got shot down.
The car speeding was a dark color, my car is a light color
Judge: who cares? anything else?
All documents related to the radar and tuning forks cerification were just black and white copies, no official seals.
Thats not hearsay, because the state says their official.
Yes you showed the officer did not calibrate the radar unit according to the owners manual
Judge: He did a step wrong, that shouldn't change anything right? Anything else?
Let me get this straight, officer, you don't know what a traffic survey has to do with the speed limit nor the significance of the 85th percentile speed?
Move to strike, wintess has no personal knowledge of legal speed limit, testimony should all be striken (in accordance with Rules of Evidence)
Judge: He saw a Speed limit sign, good enuf for me, Anything else?
I went to the DOT and got a letter from the Comissioner of Transportation stating that the speed limit can not be lowered to 40 mph on this road. This letter was from a few years ago when the town was asking if it could lower the speed limit.
Wait?:confused: how did it get lowered to 30 mph, if they didn't have permission to lower it to 40 mph? The town must have done it illegally and the legal speed limit is greater than 40 mph.
Prosecution : Your Honor these documents are hearsay!! (How do you like that for hypocrisy!)
But these papers have an official seal and are signed...
Judge: (Stop trying to make this hard) Do you have anymore questions?
I rest my case and give my closing arguments, showing how the state has not shown what the legal speed limit is for the location, how a legal speed limit is posted in accordance with the MUTCD and state law. At the end I start my soap box speech how the town is risking our lives by placing the speed limit artificially low for the sake of revenue.
A few minutes later, the judge thinks I'm guilty because the officer saw a speed limit sign that says so (with no proof to show the sign was legally placed).
Now I appeal by having the Superior courts review the case.
Maybe they'll know the importance of a traffic survey?
Maybe they won't even care.
I'm betting it won't get overturned until it reaches an Appellate court.
Wish me luck!