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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    10

    Default Speeding in Washington

    I recognize that this is a long shot, since I have court in the morning. After receiving an assignment for tomorrow's date from the court, I filed for discovery. The documents arrived on last Saturday. Two things to note, this affadavit has the wrong case number (single digit omission) and the signatures do not match (overhand vs. underhand curls). The date filed is the same as that of the infraction - no delay. This is not an accurate account of the event, and I hope that I get a reasonable judge. So, for the final piece of the puzzle, can anyone find grievous errors in the following statement?

    I observed the defendant traveling SB in the 3800 block of Bel Red Rd, Redmond, Wa. The vehicle appeared to be traveling faster than the clearly posted 40 MPH. I visually estimated the defendant's speed at 50 MPH. I was traveling behind the defendant in fully marked patrol car #xxxx. This vehicle is equipped with a certified Dodge speedometer. I verified the speedometer at approximately 0130 hrs using RADAR #xxxxxxx and tuning fork #xxxxx.

    I began to pace the vehicle from a distance of 4 car lengths. I maintained a steady pace with the vehicle for approximately 2 blocks. I paced the vehicle at 50 MPH in the 40 MPH zone.

    <defendant> did not have proof of insurance in the vehicle. <defendant> did not have registration in the vehicle.

    The traffic stop was recorded in ICOP.

    End.
    Please bear in mind that the citation shows the stop at 0120 hrs. As I do not know how long a calibration or speedometer verification takes, can anyone point me in the right direction?

    The stop involved a number of other items that are irrelevant to a speeding infraction. I did, however, attempt to obtain a copy of the in-car audio/video. Yet, apparently I did that wrong, as I only filed today and the request form shows that the process can take two weeks. Ironically, I had about two-and-a-half weeks from my court notice to tomorrow's date.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Speeding in Washington

    Not a good day in court. I made a motion to find the affadavit inadmissable, due to the signatures not matching. The judge asked how it was obvious, and denied my motion, without viewing the analysis that I had done. Further, he denied my request for a continuance to allow me time to procure an expert witness in handwriting. After listening to my statement of events, he then found me guilty of the infraction.

    The signatures have six distinct discrepancies, including the a very obvious predominant angle - one has a consistent tilt back, while the other is inconsistent forward. At this point, can someone here point me in the direction to file an appeal?

    BTW, just for discussion, and I only post this because they are but two initials, here are the two signatures:



    If I am in the wrong for posting these signatures, moderators, please feel free to remove them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    3,577

    Default Re: Speeding in Washington

    Contact the Clerk of the Court. There is probably a standard form they will give you for filing an appeal. The cost is a couple hundred dollars, which you DO NOT get back, even if you win.

    Plus, you have to realize that an appeal is NOT a new trial. It is an appeal "on the record". You must show that the judge made an error -- in your case that he SHOULD have granted a continuance.

    If you win on appeal, the Superior Court will simply order a new hearing before the same judge (who will be instructed to grant the continuance so the you can bring in a handwriting expert). But, you also need to understand, that that judge may STILL rule against you, unless the expert can unequivocally state that these were NOT signed by the same person (and, personally, they look like one was signed in a hurry (on the left) while the other was more leisurely -- but I'm no expert!).

    Wish I had better news,
    Barry
    Where am I going? And why am I in this handbasket?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Speeding in Washington

    Hey, I really appreciate your response, Barry. You're only carrying the letter of the law to me. Oi! I'm glad I don't actually live in Redmond. Bellevue police are so much better mannered.

    Thank you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Speeding in Washington

    I am not one to roll-over and take what is given. As such, this case has take another interesting turn. While the citing officer did not inform me of audio or video recording, apparently the Redmond police station has both. I will review the discovery, and report back with my findings.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
    Posts
    5,276

    Default Re: Speeding in Washington

    signatures look OK really ... are you a signature expert? I laugh at him saying he calibrated his speedometer ! How did he do that without crashing?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Speeding in Washington

    I'm wondering (and this is for my own education, I'm not trying to be knowledgeable here) how the supposedly mismatched (albeit very slightly) signature can erode the prosecution case here. I mean, if the officer is in the courtroom, he can easily confirm that those two are both his, and that will be the end of that, right? What is stronger than the signature-owner's statement? Even a hand-writing expert would have failed to convince the judge otherwise, right?

    In the absence of the officer, I think the judge would just assume that the officer would have said the same.

    One more thing, though you mention a hand-writing expert, it's not clear if you actually contacted one and got his/her opinion. I think in order for the expert to state unequivocally under penalty of perjury that the two signatures are from two different person (or at least very likely so) would take a lot of (costly) analysis. Not sure if the cost is worth it or even possible in this case.

    The newly-discovered evidence is certainly good news, however your problem now is that they're new evidence, which will not be considered at appeal. Assuming that it shows something very obvious, like an egregious mistake by the officer, then you'll probably have to move to vacate judgment on account of new evidence or something like that. Basically some serious legal stuff.

    Good luck and let us know what you decided in the end.

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