People v. Goulet (1993)

13 Cal.App.4th Supp. 1 , 17 Cal.Rptr.2d 801

survey speed limit set at 85th percentile

This case involves a speed limit decreased by local authority pursuant to section 22358, and

therefore the prosecution must comply with the speed trap rules Appellant raises several issues stated in different ways. We find two issues to be dispositive and thus do not find it necessary to discuss the others in detail. She contends, and we conclude: (1) The speed trap laws required the prosecution to establish that the posted speed limit was justified by a valid engineering and traffic survey, and (2) The posted speed limit of 35 mph was notjustified by the engineering and traffic survey In this case, there is a survey which was made within five years prior to the alleged violation.

Appellant contends that the survey does not justify the 35 mph speed limit. Can there by a good speed trap when there is a survey within the specified five-year period? Yes. Evidence that there was a survey within five years is prima facie evidence that the evidence or testimony is not based on a speed trap. (§§ 40803, subd. (c)). However, that is merely a prima facie case, and the speed limit must be justified by the survey. A speed limit is not justified by a survey unless the survey proves or shows the speed limit to be just and based upon a sufficient lawful reason" It is the intent of the Legislature that physical conditions such as width, curvature, grade and surface conditions, or any other condition readily apparent to a driver, in the absence of other factors, would not require special downward speed zoning, as the basic rule of Section 22350 is sufficient regulation as to such conditions." (§§ 22358.5.) Disagreement of experts will not necessarily invalidate a prima facie speed limit. But if respondent is arguing that an engineer's stated opinion is merely a procedural prerequisite not subject to judicial review, we disagree. A trial judge must first see if there is a timely survey that purports to justify the speed limit. If so, the trial judge must determine if the facts stated in the survey justify the speed limit set. If the judge determines that the speed limit is not justified, the speeding charge must be dismissed. If the judge determines the speed limit is justified, the judge will then decide whether guilt is proved beyond a reasonable doubt, subject to review on bothissues if there is a conviction.

People v. Conzelman

(1994) 33 Cal.App.4th Supp. 6 , 39 Cal.Rptr.2d 156

We hold that whenever radar is used in conjunction with the enforcement of a posted speed limit on a nonlocal roadway, the speed trap laws are invoked, giving rise to the need for a current engineering and traffic survey that justifies the posted speed. Absent the survey, we conclude that the officer is incompetent to testify as to the speed of the defendant's vehicle, even if his testimony is confined to his visual determination of that speed.

State of New Jersey v Dominick Dantonio (1995 NJ)

115 A2d 35; 49 ALR2d 460

New Jersey Supreme Court ruling concerning stationary radar.

1.) Judicial notice has been taken of accuracy of radar and the Doppler Principle.

2.) A few hours training is sufficent to qualify an operator.

3.) The operator need not understand or be able to explain internal workings of the radar.

State of Wisconsin v Lawrence I. Hanson (1978 WI)

270 N.W. 2d 212

Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling. Conditions for proving accuracy of a radar;

1.) Operator had adequate training and experience in radar operation

2.) Radar in proper working condition at time of violation

3.) Area radar used had minimum possibility of interference

4.) Input speed of patrol car verified, and car speedometer expertly tested within a

reasonable period

5.) Radar tested by means other than radar's own internal calibration

Delaware v Harper (1978 OH)

382 A2d 263 IDel.

Judicial notice of moving radar Doppler shift or effect.

 State of Ohio v Shelt (1976 OH)

Ohio Court of Appeals

Court took judicial notice of moving radar for the Kustom Electronics MR-7.

State of Ohio v Wilcox (1974 OH)

Ohio Court of Appeals

Case concerned with moving radar. Court ruled 3 criteria must be met;

1.) Expert testimony required to substantiate reliability and method of operation.

2.) Evidence presented showing radar in proper working order before and after alleged violation.

3.) Radar operator must be qualified through training and experience.

State v Gerdes (1971 MN)

191 N.W. 2d 428

Minnesota Supreme Court ruling. Conditions for proving accuracy of a radar;

1.) Operator must have adequate training and experience in radar operation,

2.) Testify how radar set up and conditions it was used,

3.) Insure a minimum of distortion from external interference as noise, neon lights, high

tension power lines, high power radio stations, etc.,

4.) Test radar accuracy with a tuning fork, or actual test run using another vehicle with a

calibrated speedometer.

Erna Elijah Honeycutt v Commonwealth of Kentucky (1966 KY)

408 SW2d 421

Connecticut Supreme Court ruling. In this appeal the court rejects the arguments of the

appellant that the evidence should not have been admitted and establishes that:

1.) A properly constructed and operated radar is capable of accurate measurements;

2.) The tuning fork is an accurate method of determining radar accuracy;

3.) It is sufficient an operator have knowledge and training as enables him properly to set

up, test and read the radar;

4.) Operator not required to understand scientific principles of radar or be able to explain

internal workings;

5.) The officer's estimate of excessive speed from visual observation, when confirmed by

the radar and the offending vehicle is out front by itself, nearest the radar is sufficient to

identify the vehicle if the officer's visula observations support the radar.

State of Connecticut v Michael R. Tommanelli (1966 CT)

216 A2d 625

Case concerned with stationary radar.

-- reviews matter of Judicial notice

-- recognizes the ability of Doppler radar to measure vehicle speed

-- recognizes a tuning fork is a reliable accuracy test

 State v Graham (MO)

322 SW2d 188

Established that the court may take judicial notice of the ability of radar to measure speed.

Everight v Little Rock, Ark. (AK)

326 SW2d

Establishes that the court may take judicial notice of the reliability of radar.