Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher
Walk humbly with your God
-- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM
Just be sure you mailed your letter to the right PD. If you're not sure, call back and ask if it was indeed their officer that issued your citation. If so, and as long as you have your proof of service to PD and DA, you are fine. If the court clerk was indeed talking about your discovery request and that they would respond to you with it, they either got it from the DA or from the police. That is not your problem, though. If it is not provided to you by the time of court trial, you can and should, at the beginning of the trial, inform the judge of that and ask him to compel (sign the court order for) that discovery, which you then deliver (again with proof of service) to all the parties. At the same time, you should ask for a continuance to prepare your defense based on that information/evidence.
You really should have listened to my advice and done TBD first; then you would at least know whether he used the radar/lidar or not. Be that as it may, in the unlikely case that the judge refuses your request to compel and/or grant a continuance, be prepared to move for exclusion of the officer's testimony if he indeed used a radar. In that case, a traffic and engineering study is required evidence in order to convict, so the prosecution/PD MUST have it in its possession. If so, they are obligated to disclose it to you; since they did not, it must be excluded, or, at the very least provided to you, and then continuance granted in order for you to prepare.
It may also be worthwhile to give PD another call about the discovery request. It does sound very weird that they'd refer you to court about items that must be in their possession - such as the officer's notes, radar calibration records, etc. Normally officers do not forward that stuff to court (much less the DA) until the court trial, so how would the court have it now? Insist on speaking to the actual custodian of records or a supervisor. Whoever you talked to the first time may not have know what they were talking about, or misunderstood you.
Thank you so much cdwjava and zeljo.
I had asked for one time extension from the clerk and she extended the date from Feb 23rd to Mar 27th. In this case, I can still do a TDB by Mar 27th correct or do I have to do that before Feb 23rd? Or do I lose the right to TBD since the date is extended? Sorry am not aware about this.
Yes, you can still do TBD, and you have until Mar 27.
If the police department has not replied to the request for informal discovery can this be basis to include something in the TBD that might help the case? Also, is there a template for TBD for speed trap which I can refer to as I am starting to write up the TBD in a day or so?
I don't have a TBD template for speed trap, but your statement should have two basic points, IMO:
1) The highway/street had two or more lanes in each direction. The posted speed limit was 40mph, and you were driving no faster than 50mph (or 55mph, whichever is true) anywhere on that stretch of highway. The weather was clear, the road surface was dry, the traffic was light, and your speed was therefore perfectly safe for the conditions, thus not in violation of cvc 22350;
2) There is no valid traffic and engineering study conducted in the last 10 years justifying the posted speed limit. The last such study was conducted more than 10 years ago, and you retrieved it from CALTRANS (or wherever it came from). You can enclose a copy of the study... make sure it shows the date. Therefore, if citing officer determined your speed using a RADAR or LIDAR, the incident constituted a speed trap as per CVC 40802. The evidence thus obtained is therefore inadmissible as per CVC 40803 and the citing police officer is incompetent as a witness as per CVC 40804.
Doesn't the law say 5 years re: the engineering study?
Thanks you so much zeljo.
I needed your help/suggestions urgently as I have to make a decision before my deadline for court apperance on Mar 27th. I received the letter in response to my Informal discovery request. Attached are the images for the response letter, engineering survey they sent me and the LIDAR certificate
I have the following questions.
1) No notes were written but a body camera was used. It says that the body camera video has been provided to the court. Does this affect the case in any way? How do I get the video?
2) They sent me an engineering survey from the city but it is incorrect. It shows 3 intersections for Mission Blvd and they are of the Mission Blvd which is on the other side of the Freeway on which I received the citation. The Mission Blvd. on the side of the freeway where I received the citation falls under CalTrans and not the city. Could this be pointed out in TBD?
3) A LIDAR certification has been provided so was LIDAR used for measuring the speed?
4) Also zeljo mentioned in point 1) about the road conditions and speed. The traffic was light as no one was close to me on the road and it was a 2 lane road. It had rained overnight but was not raining when I received the citation. The road were slightly wet but not slippery. The officer on the citation had provided different information as Weather- Rain, Road Conditions - Wet and Traffic - Medium. Does that affect in any way on proving that my speed was safe?
5) Is an invalid engineering survey (basis for a speed trap law) enough to beat the ticket or do I also have to prove that the speed was safe based on the weather/condition/traffic?
6) Given the above and the response of the Informal Discovery request letters attached above, is it worth filing a TBD?
This confirms the officer used LIDAR, so speed trap defense applies. It alone is sufficient to beat this ticket. You may wish to amend point #2 in my previous post to something like "There is no valid traffic and engineering study conducted in the last 10 years justifying the posted speed limit on a stretch of highway including the intersection of Mission Blvd and Cadencia St, where the alleged violation happened." ... "Therefore, as the citing officer used LIDAR to determine the speed of my vehicle, the incident constituted a speed trap as per CVC 40802..."
You can, however, keep the point #1 as well, but correct weather as "cloudy" and surface as "mostly dry". Add visibility: good. Keep traffic as light. If the officer claims otherwise, in declaration or in person, the judge will take his word for it. However, it is still good to have your side of the story, including your clear and unequivocal statement that the speed was safe for conditions, in case he does not submit a declaration. You should, though, make the speed trap point first, as it is now the stronger one. I.e., switch the order of points #1 and #2 from my previous post.
TBD still makes sense. Since the officer apparently made no notes, I think there's a good chance he won't even submit his declaration, or show up for the trial.
I don't see how body camera video would be relevant. Did he say something to you that might have been captured by the mike that could boost your case? Such as traffic/weather conditions, or your speed being less that 65 (that is on the ticket)?