Prepare yourself to witness the newest level of lack of common sense in law. Recently the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled 5-1 that police officers can issue speeding citations based on their visual estimate of how fast a car was travelling. It’s difficult for me to even type this sentence because how little sense it makes, and how I just can’t believe anybody would think this is a viable idea, let alone anywhere close to being a good one. The one opposing voice of reason seems to be the 8th District Court of Appeals, insisting that officers need more than just their eyesight to get a measurement of speed sufficiently accurate to issue a ticket.
One of the arguments used to support this ruling was how police are able to visually estimate actions like tailgating, however, I believe these people have forgotten how there is already incredibly sophisticated equipment to measure the speed a car is traveling at, that doesn’t need estimation to back it up, while there is no tailgating radar gun I know of yet. What is this ruling for then I must ask? Is this to help the police who can’t be bothered to tag a car with something as simple as a point and click laser?
Now one major issue with this in my mind is where is the representation of the people in this decision? Is the Ohio Supreme Court somehow exempt from its duty to represent the greater will of the public? I was under the impression that was the basis of our government, yet this ruling seems to do nothing but screw over everyone but the police officers themselves.
Secondly, this completely goes against the concept of burden of proof being on the state, since it is easy to say that estimation, by definition of the word alone, is not a basis for factual proof of anything. If an estimation on what was seen is enough to issue a penalty, than why can’t we stick BP for their oil spill dumping the hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil each day that has been estimated, and not the weak estimate BP has handed out claiming only 10,000 or so barrels.
Another thing that sticks in my mind… Why do police officers get to be above the law themselves in this situation? This I mean in the sense, that I believe human beings as a whole, are prone to flaws, such as deception, yet no one wants to seem to be able to consider that possibly police are human beings as well, just as capable of deception as anyone else on this planet. Every one of us knows that they have quotas to fill, so who’s to say that an officer who isn’t morally pure like he was pulled straight out of some Disney movie, needs either to make a few extra tickets that month to make himself shine at his precinct, and will pick some poor sap to stick with a completely bogus ticket to satisfy such means. On top of that, it’s common that police officers make a certain percentage of the citations they issue as a monthly bonus, so now we enter the area of financially rewarding the morally corrupt.
One must also take into account, the difference between a speeding ticket, and reckless driving may only be a couple miles difference, easy to miss through estimation, but the penalty could be 10 times as severe.
I honestly hope there is some serious outrage in Ohio over this right now, as it does nothing but tread all over the rights of everyday citizens and enforces the growing capacity of the police as dictator like overlords, instead of the public servants they were supposed to be who are supposed to keep us safe.