Driver Convicted of Using Cell Phone in Spite of Evidence He Wasn’t

217 dollar fine for cell phoneThis was submitted by an anonymous reader, via the CopBlock.org submissions page. The original story can be found at www.wptz.com. It’s not exactly hard to figure out that Bill Bouvier got railroaded out of $217, even though he had conclusive evidence that he was innocent. Not that this is anything particularly unusual or even unexpected.

Selected Highlights:

When Bill Bouvier was stopped Dec. 29 in Hinesburg while driving home from work, he tried to explain to the young officer there had been a mistake.

Bouvier, 59, said he often rests his head in his cupped palm while making the drive home to Bristol.

He assured the police officer he hadn’t touched his cellphone since getting behind the wheel.

The officer was unpersuaded and issued a $162 ticket…

 

Bouvier says he hadn’t used the phone and appealed the citation.

He also requested records from AT&T, his wireless carrier which showed no calls had been made between 4:07 p.m. and 5:21 p.m. — nothing close to the time of the 4:30 p.m. traffic stop…

 

Hearing officer Karen Bradley found Bouvier guilty as charged.

She could not accept the phone records as evidence, Bouvier recalled, as they might be doctored.

“Well, she is wrong about that,” Burlington defense attorney Brooks McArthur said Friday. “The evidence that’s admissible is the kind a reasonably prudent person would rely on in their everyday affairs. And certainly there’s nothing here to indicate he wasn’t a reasonably prudent person relying on his phone bill. So she should have allowed that into evidence.”

Bouvier says he left the hearing shaking his head. Now, the $162 fine had jumped to $217 with his appeal and court costs.

He said the court had taken the officer’s word, after refusing to hear his defense.

Actually, McArthur said, “This case does not appear to be his word against the officer’s. It appears to be his word corroborated by his phone records against the officer’s observation of him which can be mistaken. Officers can be mistaken at times.”

Lt. Garry Scott, the highway traffic safety officer at the Vermont State Police, agreed. He said he’s occasionally made a few…

 

“Absolutely,” Scott said. “That’s why you want to be sure an electronic device is in their hand to activate the (traffic) stop.”

Scott said he, too, was surprised the hear the phone records hadn’t been enough to have the ticket dismissed…

Of course, as is the case in most minor citations, Bouvier went ahead and paid the fine to “make it go away,” rather than spending even more money and lost time fighting it further, even though a former prosecutor and a Lt. in the Traffic Division both agreed that he likely would win, if he did. That tendency is why cops will write these citations even if they are clearly wrong. And the revenue and probable cause excuses that these type of laws create is the reason why they exist in the first place.

Last week Bouvier said he paid the $217 fine and court fee to make the matter go away.

But McArthur said he might have appealed to a higher court and likely won the case.

“There is a defense, a legitimate defense, and he should have prevailed,” the former state prosecutor said.

In the first three months since Vermont’s new law took effect last October, police officers have issued 388 tickets — and 383 warnings for using a hand-held electronic device behind the wheel.

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Kelly W. Patterson

a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who’s been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He’s also the founder/main contributor of Nevada CopBlock, Editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official CopBlock Press Passes.
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  • YourTaxDollarsAtWork

    Been there done that: Cop testified the car the targeted with radar was a 4 door, provided evidence mine is a 2 door; cop testified he was sitting under an electric transformer while operating the radar, provided evidence electric transformers are considered interference to radar when less tha 50 feet away; cop testified the targeted car was approximately 50 feet away when picked up on radar; provided evidence in the form of a government conducted study that the cop’s specific radar unit has a minimum range of 150 ft and was unreliable at ranges less than the minimum. Judge said “I don’t care. Guilty

  • Shawn

    “She could not accept the phone records as evidence, Bouvier recalled, as they might be doctored.”

    Seriously? And I thought cops were ridiculously paranoid. AT&T is NOT going to falsify their records for one customer. If you doubt the papers presented, ask AT&T.

    But to be concerned about the papers presented, but not the cop’s word? Seriously, it just isn’t hard to show cops are liars. The real truth is another judge who can’t be bothered to do the job they took. It was too much bother over one person who dared challenge the charges.

  • Common Sense

    It’s the notion that Bouvier could have doctored the records himself. He would have had to obtain a formal copy of the cell phone record, not a monthly statement. AT&T could produce them for a fee.

    He should have appealled.

  • Thenumber6

    “Oh I fought the law,
    And the law won”

  • Thenumber6

    Your like a 4 year old caught stealing candy, you just hold on to the lie as long as you can, it’s hilarious.

  • Jack Hoffman

    i witnessed a cop (Hermiston, OR) talking on his cell-phone while operating motor vehicle (1 month after law prohibits this) approach stop sign AT elementary school while kids were heading home. child proceeds to cross at crosswalk in front as he continues his phone conversation, cop proceeds through intersection he did not look to the right which is the direction he was turning. he hits the gas pedal and strikes student with his cruiser. luckily the officer looked at just the right time, to remove his foot from gas pedal, hit the brake, student slams both hands on the hood of the cruiser like WTF!? i was shaking my head and thanking god that i did not have to commit assault against an officer.

  • Vescha Lahearse

    I see cops talking on the phone all the time in their cars. I’ve seen them on their laptops while driving, eating, drinking, and speeding through town. My nephew saw two cops racing each other down the street. They block lanes, run red lights and blow through stop signs. I almost had a cop hit me on a curvy road because he was speeding and he had the audacity to pull me over and tell me he recognized me as a “known drug dealer” even though I didn’t live in that town and was way pregnant. Some LEO’s do whatever they want and ticket us when they cause accidents. It’s irresponsible behavior and it costs the taxpayers and hard working people money..

  • RaymondbyEllis

    And how could he have doctored the AT& T statement? Cut and paste? Or redaction?

    I get an AT&T statement every month. It has dates, times, durations, and numbers, both numbers. It is a formal copy.

    I agree he should have appealled, but not for your reasons.

  • RaymondbyEllis

    What a cop does has no bearing. Take that anyway you will.

  • RaymondbyEllis

    So if you see other people speeding and you’re speeding, the other people should get a ticket before you do?

    I get the hypocrisy of cops driving on computer, driving while distracted, not wearing seat belts, ignoring traffic laws forgetting the very basis of those laws, thinking their special. And cops think it’s a perk or have a justification why their distraction isn’t equal to yours (even if it’s hamburger to hamburger, the computer to computer doesn’t work). Get this and understand it, we aren’t equal.

    That’s not an apologia or an acceptance, it’s just acknowledging what it is now.
    We can do better, but that means fighting the ones that think it’s the best now.

  • YourTaxDollarsAtWork

    I fought a corrupt government and the corruption won. They count on it costing too much in actual dollars and lost wages to appeal.

  • Common Sense

    Police are exempt per statute in OR.

    ….and no, you wouldn’t have committed anything.

  • Common Sense

    Basically yes. He could have/would have to obtain some “formal” or certified copy of cell records, via a subpoena probably. Then you’d have to have someone from AT&T testify to the validity of the records.

    The personal bill/records would be hearsay. He didn’t produce it so he cannot attest to their legitimacy.

    http://jolt.richmond.edu/v18i1/article3.pdf (interesting)

  • edrebber

    Police, fire, rescue and truckers have been talking on radios in vehicles for decades.

  • pickle

    I get it. Because it is uncomfortable to you, it never happened. Well, your parents had sex. Think about that for a minute. Your Dad plowing away at your Mom, grinding, panting, sweating, swearing, gyrating, and moaning. Lots of moaning. And before he’s done he flips her over and rams her face into the headboard a few dozen times before he smacks her ass. But before your Dad could pull out and blow his wad in your Mom’s face, she shouts, “Cum inside me! I want you to fill me up!” So your Dad clenches down on your Moms sweaty ass cheeks and rams his cock into her one final time spewing you into your Mom’s wet love pocket.

    THAT was uncomfortable. But it happened. You are living, breathing proof. It might not have happened in that exact way and you can argue all day about how it happened, but it if happen. Even though it was most unfortunate for the rest of us having to deal with the consequences (you), none of us can deny that it happened. I’m sure there was no video, so I cannot prove too much about it, but it happened

  • suetheyass

    sue the fuck outta them

  • JC

    You were obviously on the cell phone which is illegal when you are driving. You paid the fine and took the plea. The statements about how everyone believes you would win an appeal is ridiculous.

  • MG

    “Obviously”? How so? Because an officer testified to it? Guess you’ve never heard of the term “Testilying”

  • New York

    Yet no one realized by statutory definition the defendant did NOT fit the description of a DRIVER? Anyone who does not start with the defense that you were not driving at the time of the incident is an idiot. Read how this works and decide for yourself the next time you are kidnapped into its jurisdiction.

    https://www.facebook.com/162578130450253/photos/pb.162578130450253.-2207520000.1425927578./877828722258520/?type=3&theater

    If you don’t feel angry than you just don’t understand what is really going on here in these States of the Union…

  • Shawn

    Showing once again how irresponsible LE is. Then again, you didn’t have a problem with a cop getting away with killing a bicyclist because the pig HAD to use a computer while driving.

    It is this kind of irresponsible attitude which creates cops who are careless of making mistakes.

  • Shawn

    But not the least bit concerned about the cop’s word? Seriously, if you buy that excuse, you’re and idiot.

  • Christopher Hintz

    They are not exempt except when on a call not just yapping at their girlfriends or such! And maybe he would have, you dont know.

  • JC

    He plead guilty and paid the fine. He’s guilty. Period.

  • Christopher Hintz

    If you read the article, it reads that he contaced AT&T and requested the records, between 4:07 and 5:21 to show that he couldn’t have been on the phone at 4:30.

  • Common Sense

    And mention the flag has a fringe. Works everytime.

  • Common Sense

    ….it’s almost as if you were in the room with them.

  • ThirtyOneBravo

    The above image says it all… He pled guilty.

    Move along, citizens. Nothing to see here.

  • pickle

    I know, right.

  • RaymondbyEllis

    I didn’t read your link beyond it’s title. Maybe I should have, but this was about whether he was on his cellphone or not, and that is clearly on the billing statement. It wasn’t about tracking location.

    That it would require someone from AT&T to verify it was an actual billing statement, that AT&T had charged him for all calls (after all, they miss a lot of calls), fine. I’m not sure that the AT&T bill isn’t a fomal record. But I’m not the Court.

    I just don’t see it as hearsay if it’s clearly produced by AT&T. It’s their record for billing. I can see it as insufficient if AT&T uses a set minimum duration for it to be recorded as a call on the billing statement.

    That he didn’t produce it has nothing to do with the validity of the billing statement as a record of his calls.

  • Jack Hoffman

    =) you are right. i have no spine. i have never served jail time for…. well… don’t mind me. i’m just keyboard commando with no backbone but i get online and pretend that i do. good luck with speculation and such.

  • Jack Hoffman

    when another person says “what another person does to another person has no bearing”, it has no bearing.

  • RaymondbyEllis

    See how you took it?

  • Jack Hoffman

    no.