People of Ohio try to leave state - very slowly!

Posted by Emory Kale

Barberton v. Jenney determines cops' visual estimation of speed is sufficient evidence of a speeding violation.

Well ain't this a turn up for the books, the Ohio Supreme Court decided on June 2, 2010 that in the case of City of Barberton versus Mark Jenney:

"A police officer's unaided visual estimation of a vehicle's speed is sufficient evidence to support a conviction for speeding in violation of R.C. 4511.21(D) without independent verification of the vehicle's speed if the officer is trained, is certified by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy or a similar organization that develops and implements training programs to meet the needs of law-enforcement professionals and the communities they serve, and is experienced in visually estimating vehicle speed. Given Santimarino's training, OPOTA certification, and experience in visually estimating vehicle speed, his estimation that Jenney was traveling at 70 miles per hour was sufficient to support a conviction for driving over the posted speed limit of 60 miles per hour in violation of R.C. 4511.21(D). We therefore affirm the judgment of the court of appeals and uphold Jenney's conviction and fine."

The vote was 4-1 with one abstaining.

The offense that brought this whole thing about happened on July 3, 2008. Officer Christopher R. Santimarino was sitting in a marked patrol car in Copley Township, Ohio. The posted speed limit is 60 mph in the area. Santimarino sees the defendant, Jenney, in a black SUV, and guesses that he is going at least 79 mph so, he pulls him over and gives him a ticket.

Santimarino is a 13 year veteran of the Copley Police Department and told the court at the subsequent trial that he was trained "to visually estimate the speed of a vehicle."

In order to be certified by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA), Santimarino had to show and did show that he could, visually, identifying a vehilces speed within three or four miles of its actual speed. Santimarino was also using a radar gun on that fateful day. The radar said 82 mph, Santimarino guessed his speed closer to 70 mph, at trial.

So, anyhow, Jenney gets stopped, he gets dinged for 79 mph, according to Santimarino he was cutting the guy some slack so that he wouldn't have to make a personal appearance in court, which is required when you exceed the speed limit by 20 mph.

Jenney thinks he has got enough to argue that he be acquitted because the burden of proof was not met, and that he was in the right lane and not the left lane as Santimarino testified, blah, blah, blah.

So, the guy gets a $50 fine plus court costs, but he can't let it go. He takes it to the Ninth District Court of Appeals, and whammo, he makes life suck for everyone else out there because now, if a cop in Ohio says he saw you speeding, it's good enough. Way to go $50 speeding ticket cheapskate. You obviously haven't ever run across a cop in Los Angeles so, you don't really know the real cost of speeding. $50 freakin' bucks! Le Bron James was seen leaving Cleveland on a tricycle, never to return.