Williamsburg VA. District Court Violates Constitutional rights.

Published On January 27, 2012 | By CopBlock | Articles
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I recently helped my wife prepare for her day in court when she was given a speeding ticket in the city of Williamsburg VA. She was supposedly clocked doing 52 in a 35 mph zone by “officer jackboot” while on her way to assist our son’s teachers during a school field trip. Way to go officer jackboot you got a real bad criminal this time. Officer jackboot was using a moving radar the most unreliable form of speed detection out there today.

So when it came time for court and my wife was called up to defend herself she immediately objected to the fact that there was no prosecutor present just a police officer and Judge. Her objection was that it was a direct violation of her 14th amendment right to due process of the law. More specifically procedural due process. The judge was acting as prosecutor and Judge making it impossible for the Woman in the robe to be an unbiased third party. Is this judge really going to make a ruling against her own arguments. HELL NO, objection overruled.

Next officer jackboot made his case and my wife proceeded to question him on all the errors than can occur with the radar device during operation. With a moving radar there is a lot that can go wrong. The officer stated that he was aware of what the error’s were but did not do anything to make sure these errors were not occurring while using the device. It is impossible to know whether or not the errors have occurred that is why this device is so unreliable. Radar beams while being used in a moving vehicle can bounce off of just about anything and return to give a false reading.

While looking up the laws and finding out that in order to keep local governments from creating unjust speed traps a city county or state must abide by the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). 23 CFR 655.603 adopts the MUTCD as the national standard for all traffic control devices installed on any street, highway, bikeway, or private road open to public travel. This means that all states, cities and townships must abide by this manual before any law enforcement thug can enforce speed laws on any federally funded streets or highways.

A speed survey must be conducted by a licensed engineer on all roads so as to set a safe speed. If speed survey is not conducted the state must prove by engineering survey conducted by a licensed engineer why their way is better. Not very many cities or townships will do this because it is very expensive to have these high priced engineer conduct these surveys. My wife submitted a subpoena for a speed survey or engineering survey for the road she was supposedly speeding on. She got a letter from the city engineering department stating no surveys were done.

http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/pdfs/2009/mutcd2009edition.pdf

She once again proved in court that the city of Williamsburg was in violation of the United States code of federal regualations and requested a dismissal. The judge stated that the state of virginia has its own manual and is what the city follows. The last I knew Federal law supercedes state laws.
My wife was found guilty. She appealed and during her appeal every time she brought up federal law the new judge keep telling her where she can find the federal court.

In conclusion we have to follow rules that govern us but the city of Williamsburg and the district court doesn’t have to follow the rules that govern them? BULLSHIT

- KAZ

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  • http://difster.blogspot.com Difster

    Actually, because of the 10th Amendment, Federal law does not automatically trump state law.

    The Federal government makes demands based on threats of removing highway funds, etc. if the states don’t pass compliant laws or enforce Federal dictates.

    But Federal law doesn’t trump state law, it’s supposed to be the other way around.

    Not that I’m not sympathetic to your case, I just want to make sure you have your priorities in the right order.

    If the state agreed to follow Federal law and did not, then the state is in error on the speeding conviction and it should be overturned.

  • KAZ

    @Difster- With just a little research you will see that all states must be in compliance with the MUTCD. Check out the link I provided. Yes failure to follow this Manual can result in losing the federal funds to help maintain roads. The main point is police cannot enforce speed limit laws if the city is not in compliance with the MUTCD. It keeps us citizens from being taken advantage of from the creation of unlawful speed traps.

  • KAZ

    @Difster- With just a little research you will see that all states must be in compliance with the MUTCD. Check out the link I provided. Yes failure to follow this Manual can result in losing the federal funds to help maintain roads. The main point is police cannot enforce speed limit laws if the city is not in compliance with the MUTCD. It keeps us citizens from being taken advantage of by creating unlawful speed traps.

  • PSOSGT

    @ Kaz… what’s an unlawful speed trap???? And does that even apply here? I didn’t read anything about a sudden change in the speed limit. Nor did I read anything about her denying that she wasn’t going 52. And I’ve been thumbing though the 800 plus page MUTCD…. it’s about signs, not speed measurements.

    Traffic control devices shall be defined as all signs, signals, markings, and other devices used to
    regulate, warn, or guide traffic, placed on, over, or adjacent to a street, highway, pedestrian facility, bikeway,
    or private road open to public travel (see definition in Section 1A.13) by authority of a public agency or
    official having jurisdiction, or, in the case of a private road, by authority of the private owner or private
    official having jurisdiction.

    Summary.. nothing on speed measurements in the whole thing from what I seen, and I’ve spent a good 20 minutes looking. u find something different?

  • KAZ

    @psosgt- An unlawful speed trap is when there is a stretch of road where many commuters speed and instead of doing something to make the road safer to stop people from speeding in the first place, cops hide to catch speeder after speeder to generate revenue for the state. Crime prevention is way safer than hiding and waiting for someone to break the law. Catching people in the act does not prevent them from speeding in the first place and therefore does not make the streets safer. Preventing someone from speeding makes our road safer.

    You are absolutely right that the MUTCD is about signs. Speed limit signs are posted after a speed survey is conducted. If no survey is conducted no sign should be posted.

    MUTCD 1A.09 talks about engineering studies. Being a police officer you have probably heard of the term 85th percentile. It is a speed survey done where they take average of 85 cars out of 100 to set the speed limit for that stretch of road. The speed limit must be within 5 mph of the 85th percentile.

    MUTCD 1A.13 paragraph B states “B. Guidance—a statement of recommended, but not mandatory, practice in typical situations, with deviations allowed if engineering judgment or engineering study indicates the deviation to be appropriate. All Guidance statements are labeled, and the text appears in unbold type. The verb
    “should” is typically used. The verbs “shall” and “may” are not used in Guidance statements. Guidance statements are sometimes modified by Options.”

    To sum this up… an engineering study or speed survey must be done to set a speed limit if a speed survey is not done then deviations are allowed if an engineering judgement or engineering study shows the deviation is appropriate.

  • LEO 10-8

    The most efficient way to avoid a conviction for speeding is to not speed. Of course this more non-specific information. I could write the same story using general information. Throw in a date, court docket number or ticket number. You didn’t even call out the officer by name. You should also research where the traffic fines go. Usually the general fund and distributed from there. More that likely it doesn’t go to the agency. I wonder if your tine about traffic enforcement would change if a loved one was killed by a speeder? No. You’d just blame the police.

  • Lurker

    So your definition of an “unlawful speed trap” is a road where people disregard the speed limit and cops hide and pull them over for speeding?

    I must be missing the “unlawful” part about that.

  • PSOSGT

    lol lurker And Kaz. I’ve done “speed studies” And I find it ironic how people on here tend to dislike big gov’t telling them what to do, but yet, what big gov’t to bail them out. The wonderful folks in DC have no idea what is going on in your city, or mine. We’ve got a stretch of road that is 55, drops to 45 and then 40. Clearly marked, and the 45 mph zone is 1.2 miles long b4 you hit the 40 mph zone. We have some really bad accidents in the 40 mph zone because it’s a commercial district. Lots of parking lots, bussinesses and driveways. Not a day goes by I don’t find someone doing at least 60(still driving as if it’s the 55 mph zone). Pretty sure if we did a speed study there, the guidelines would say the speed limit is wrong. But IMO, driver behavior shouldn’t be dictating the speed limit. The surrounding area should. If people consistanty drive 100 past the elementary school every day, should we change the speed limit….or sit a cop out there.

    And sitting in a parking lot running radar or laser isn’t hiding IMO

  • KAZ

    @PSOSGT and Lurker- Maybe you didn’t get the point about crime PREVENTION. Hiding and waiting for someone to speed doesn’t prevent them from speeding in the first place. What are you cops doing to prevent the infraction from happening in the first place? Obviously nothing.
    The fact that you have done speed studies proves another point. These studies must be done by licensed engineers according to the MUTCD. Any speed study done by someone other than a licensed engineer is in violation of the MUTCD.

    It makes more sense parking yourself in a VISIBLE spot along the road where the speed limit drops then have your red and blues flashing. Making people aware that there is a speed limit change causing them to slow down. While this is taking place our over payed city engineeer’s can figure out a way to make people slow down by adding stoplights or rumble strips to slow people down. But of course you or any other thug out there won’t do that. You will continue to hide like other criminals do jump out when we’re least expecting and steal our money. Then you get paid extra to go to court, when the rest of us have to take a day off of work to prove the city or state is in violation of Federal regulations. Wow what a racket, are you sure your not part of some type of criminal organization?

    Until our local gangs (police departments) start working for the people again and not the money hungry governments they work for will these types of victimless crimes be prevented. The “just doing my job” line is getting old and cops can a should start thinking for themselves. Remember think Crime Prevention not reaction.

  • LEO 10-8

    @Kaz

    You are right high visibility is an effective deterrent. Stopping and issuing warnings and citations are just a viable of a preventative measure. Most speeders don’t like it because it costs them money. I guess the best for the government to stop getting money from the fines is to lock people up. You know that fines are in lieu of incarceration. I know you don’t like hearing we are “doing our jobs” doesn’t make less of a fact. If you went to a grocery store and the checker looked at you like you were stupid and didn’t check you out, you get upset. The difference is that you may be a violator that has to answer for vilating the law.

    We face danger, yeah we signed up for it and blah blah blah. The fact is we do what others don’t want to do. Do you honestly think if you did away with the police that all would be hunky dory. I sincerely don’t think so. You can view us as a necessary evil if you’d like to. That’s fine with me. Somebody has to draw the line in the sand a protect you and your rights.

    Also, I have never taken an order from non-police personnel. They have no control over my actions on the street. I have to live with my decisions, not them. If I was ordered to violate the law, forget it. It wouldn’t happen. I took the job to help people and have done it for 15 years. I’m not that cop and despise those that use the badge for personal gain. The aren’t worth the ink printed on the elastic band on their underwear. I hop someday that you will understand that we are all not evil, nor do we strive to violate peoples rights.

  • Lurker

    @Kaz-

    Pulling cars over for speeding and writing them warnings is the best way of doing prevention. People realize they are speeding when you stop them and let them know. You stop them for speeding, run them for warrants and such, then let them go if they are clean. I don’t see whats so evil about that.

  • PSOSGT

    @kaz ditto on lurker. and I think you’ve got a tainted view on police running radar. Yes, there are “traffic cars” who have the duty of going out and writting tickets. But the vast majority of cops are not traffic cars. We r just regular cops who stop cars here n there for violations between handling calls, and doing follow-up. Most days I’ll stop 5-10 cars and write maybe 1 or 2 tickets. Most of the cops in my department are that way as well as the whole area. The county has a “traffic car” and a couple departments have motor carrier guys who deal with the semi’s. Other than that… not a whole lot of speeding tickets getting written.

    What do you do when you see a cop car with flashing lights on?? You slow way down and gawk. Everyone does.. so me parking on the side of the road is going to create a hazard for everyone rather than sitting in a parking lot clearly visible and stopping the 1 idiot that’s going 10 mph faster than the flow of traffic.

    When I personally run radar with the intent to write tickets. I write the guys who are going 10 over or more the flow of traffic. Meaning if I’m siting in a 35 mph zone and the majority of the traffic is going 40, I stop the guy going 50.

  • t.

    It’s preached all the time on this site, ACCOUNTABILITY !!! Pay your damn ticket and shush.

  • Kaz

    I’m not going to get anyone to quit their jobs, and thats not my intent. My intent is to share my ideas in hope LEO’s can see there are better ways to conduct their duties without taking people’s time and money. We allready have to pay money to drive our cars by getting a drivers license and license tags every year. There is a perfectly good point system in place already and if you get too many points on your license you lose it. There is no reason to take more money pr time from the peaceful hardworking people who get pulled over once every couple years or more.

  • PSOSGT

    @kaz I agree that the point system does have it’s benifit. And I don’t write a ticket for funds. I think I’ve said it on this site b4. FOr a 100 dollar ticket, our department get’s 15 dollars in fines. Other states have rediculous fines IMO. The MOST expensive civil infraction I can give you is 165 bucks. And that’s for careless driving.

  • 911Sarge

    Funds are the last thing on my mind when writing a ticket. Ans PSO, I’m with you on the 8-10 traffic stops a shift and maybe 1 ticket, maybe. I don’t get paid overtime for court, only compensation time. Besides between answering calls for service in a 12 hour shift I have very little time to even take the radar off of hold. Besides we have these mobile speed bumps where I work, called deer. That’s enough motivation for most people to keep their speed down.

  • http://www.aboutfloaters.com Float

    I believe what you posted was actually very reasonable. But, what about this? suppose you were to write a awesome post title? I ain’t saying your information is not good., however what if you added something to maybe grab folk’s attention? I mean Williamsburg VA. District Court Violates Constitutional rights. | Cop Block is kinda vanilla. You could peek at Yahoo’s front page and note how they write post titles to get people interested. You might add a video or a picture or two to get readers interested about everything’ve got to say. In my opinion, it might bring your posts a little bit more interesting.

  • CrimsonTiger

    LEO 10-8
    “Somebody has to draw the line in the sand a protect you and your rights.
    Also, I have never taken an order from non-police personnel. They have no control over my actions on the street. I have to live with my decisions, not them. If I was ordered to violate the law, forget it.”

    —-You were ordered to violate the law and you did!—–
    Leo’s swore an oath “serve, protect and uphold the constitution” but they don’t understand the constitution and rely on others (DAs, Captains, etc…) to interpret. These “others” know it is illegal to charge anyone unless person, property or liberty have been damaged and they know they are protected from prosecution in most cases(supreme courts have ruled). They tell you to ticket and you trust it must be legal. You have then done something illegal. (I have in front of me, no less than, 50 supreme court rulings showing traffic ticketing to be a violation of constitutional rights and illegal). Once an officer knows this he is left with a difficult decision to either uphold the constitution or obey their boss(btw, if LEOs get fired for properly doing their job they then can sue).
    Read, learn, understand the constitution before swearing an oath to uphold it.