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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    4

    Default Rules of Discovery Pertaining to Photo Ticket

    My question involves traffic court in the State of: Washington


    I will give some background to help ease making a concise reply. I was given a photo ticket in Issaquah school zone. I attempted to supeona the officer, purchase agreement and maintenance records or the camera. Evidently I didn't use the proper procedure to get my requested information and none of the items were presented at my court date. I was given a continuance by the judge and I proceded to question the officer regarding the ticket. I established that he had not seen the infraction and he was not aware of the mainenance of the camera as well as how the camera was paid for.

    I was under the impression that for my second court date I had done what I was supposed to do to get the requested documents but again I was granted a continuance due to the fact that I hadn't used the proper procedure.

    Since the camera would not be valid in Washington if the company owning the camera is/was paid based on how many tickets the camera produces. I belief it should be my right to view the agreement with the City of Issaquah and the company owning the camera. I am hazy on how best to obtain this information. I am hoping that Issaquah would rather dismiss my ticket that part with the specifics of the agreement with the camera company.

    Is there a form for discovery that I should be using. I can't imangine calling the camera company and have them freely give me the information that I am requesting. Why would they?

    Anyway any ideas would be welcome.

    E

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
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    5,273

    Default Re: Rules of Discovery Pertaining to Photo Ticket

    Its called a CONTRACT between the gov't entity & the camera company ... not rocket science here ... do a FOIA request for the contract ... what discovery is allowed under WA camera statues? I don't know, maybe none. Others may post.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    98,846

    Default Re: Rules of Discovery Pertaining to Photo Ticket

    It's a photo ticket, so there's photographic evidence. Do the photos and video show that you didn't make a proper stop for a red light? If so, what do you expect to prove with maintenance records? If not, why do you need maintenance records to beat the case?

    You can try to use FOIA to obtain the contract and any records held by the municipality, and look into whether you can get a subpoena for the records held by the private company that maintains and operates the camera at issue. Depending upon how much time you have, you may need to investigate whether you should use a subpoena against the municipality as well, assuming you are able to obtain or issue subpoenas in the traffic court.

    I'll defer to the Washington traffic court experts as to what you can and cannot do through that court.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    4

    Default Re: Rules of Discovery Pertaining to Photo Ticket

    The ticket was for speeding, since the device works by sending out two beams and calculating the time the car travels between the two to derive the speed, I am guessing some calibration is needed. Thanks for the reply.

    Eric

  5. #5
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    Feb 2010
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    CT & IL
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    5,273

    Default Re: Rules of Discovery Pertaining to Photo Ticket

    Who makes this system? Manufacturer & model?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    3,577

    Default Re: Rules of Discovery Pertaining to Photo Ticket

    Apparently, you don't understand the workings of a photo-RADAR anymore than you understand how to request the information you're seeking. Mr. KIA's reply, even though he mistakenly thought you were talking about a red-light camera, is still valid. Plus, you barely mentioned calibration of the equipment, instead going off about purchase agreements.

    Your "snippy" reply to a senior member who was just trying to help you is a quick way to make sure you won't get any other responses.

    Good luck with your case,
    Barry

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    California
    Posts
    540

    Default Re: Rules of Discovery Pertaining to Photo Ticket

    TypeE, you have a constitutional right to confont witnesses against you, including people who prepared documents used against you.

    The California case People v. Khalid (Ca. Orange County Appellate Division, 2010) has a good explanation of this constitutional principle, as well as hearsay considerations.

    Barry Lewis is an expert in Washington vehicle codes, and may be able to explain to you how you could apply these principles in Washington.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Rules of Discovery Pertaining to Photo Ticket

    Snippy? Who got out of bed on the wrong side. The officer stated when I questioned him that is how this particular photo camera works. The reason I want the purchase agreement is because in Washington the photo gun cannot be used if the company is paid by how many tickets the camera produces. I would think that it would be well within my rights to see the purchase/rental agreement. Settle down Blewis, if I offended the previous poster than let them let me know. I would try reading the post entirely before ranting about something that you are way off base on.

    Thanks for all the helpful posts, it is very much appreciated


    Eric

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Seattle
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    3,577

    Default Re: Rules of Discovery Pertaining to Photo Ticket

    I apologize for my previous response. I guess I was a little "snippy" myself.

    Are you serious that that's what the officer said -- two beams and you measure the time between? Oh my! First of all, if this is a RedFlex ticket (and I don't know who else makes the devices), it consists of an "across the road" RADAR (as opposed to a "down the road" RADAR). It works by knowing the angle at which it is installed and computing the speed using the cosine effect of that angle. Here's a link to the IACP specs for "across the road" RADARs. You'll note that it does NOT send out two beams.

    Now, let's argue that the officer was right, that it was NOT a RedFlex device, and that there were, indeed, two beams and the device times how long it takes to travel between them. That brings up RCW 46.61.470, which states:

    Quote Quoting RCW 46.61.470

    RCW 46.61.470
    Speed traps defined, certain types permitted — Measured courses, speed measuring devices, timing from aircraft.


    (1) No evidence as to the speed of any vehicle operated upon a public highway by any person arrested for violation of any of the laws of this state regarding speed or of any orders, rules, or regulations of any city or town or other political subdivision relating thereto shall be admitted in evidence in any court at a subsequent trial of such person in case such evidence relates to or is based upon the maintenance or use of a speed trap except as provided in subsection (2) of this section. A "speed trap," within the meaning of this section, is a particular section of or distance on any public highway, the length of which has been or is measured off or otherwise designated or determined, and the limits of which are within the vision of any officer or officers who calculate the speed of a vehicle passing through such speed trap by using the lapsed time during which such vehicle travels between the entrance and exit of such speed trap.

    (2) Evidence shall be admissible against any person arrested or issued a notice of a traffic infraction for violation of any of the laws of this state or of any orders, rules, or regulations of any city or town or other political subdivision regarding speed if the same is determined by a particular section of or distance on a public highway, the length of which has been accurately measured off or otherwise designated or determined and either: (a) The limits of which are controlled by a mechanical, electrical, or other device capable of measuring or recording the speed of a vehicle passing within such limits; or (b) a timing device is operated from an aircraft, which timing device when used to measure the elapsed time of a vehicle passing over such a particular section of or distance upon a public highway indicates the speed of a vehicle.

    (3) The exceptions of subsection (2) of this section are limited to devices or observations with a maximum error of not to exceed five percent using the lapsed time during which such vehicle travels between such limits, and such limits shall not be closer than one-fourth mile.
    Basically, paragraph (2) says that evidence of speed is admissible if it derives from a section of highway, the limits of which are controlled by a device capable of determining the speed of a vehicle passing between those points (usually a stopwatch or VASCAR, but two RADAR beams would also apply).

    The officer's description of a device that "works by sending out two beams and calculating the time the car travels between the two to derive the speed" sure seems to meet those criteria.

    But look at paragraph (3): "such limits shall not be closer than one-fourth mile." Since the photo-radar unit is a single unit -- not two units spaced a quarter-mile apart, that looks like a clear violation.

    So, the officer's own testimony makes the device itself is illegal pursuant to RCW 46.61.470, in which case evidence of your speed should be suppressed. Hopefully, you can get and transcribe the officer's statements from your first hearing.

    Barry

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Rules of Discovery Pertaining to Photo Ticket

    Barry,

    No worries, thanks for the most useful information.


    Eric

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