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Thank You, Sir!
53/35 Zone
79/65 zone

Traffic Radar for Motorists

"Dr-Radar" wrote:

Initially:
Received a call from Tom, retired Professor, who moved back to Minot, ND recently.  He was going to a funeral north of Minot and was stopped near Antler, ND for 85 in a 65 zone.  The Sheriff's Deputy dropped the speed down to 80 MPH on the citation, but Tom said he knew he was only doing 65 MPH, regardless of whatever speed the radar said.  He had a cousin in the car with him going to the funeral, no hurry, when they were pulled over an hour ahead of time.  He said the road conditions that day were blustery and had a lot of black ice on the road and he was paying attention to his speed..  It's the principal of the ticket!  He was not speeding and was aware of conditions and did not want to slide into the ditch.

Tom said he checked at the library to see where our books were and went to Minot State College and bought a copy.  He said there were power lines crossing the road in the area where he was stopped.  I'm meeting with him at 2 pm today to look at the citation, etc. and get some more information from him.

Pre-Investigation: Conversation between Minot, ND and Omaha, NE using MS Messenger.
Dr-Radar: Tom was cited 4 miles north of Renville Corner, 40 miles north of Minot.  "The Radar Said" 85 in 65 zone, officer reduced it to 80 in 65 zone, $40 and 4 points vs. $55 and 7 points. Tom said he was only going 65-67 mph, no way that fast. They were approaching power lines.  The officer was on one side of the lines, his car on the another.
DrRadar2:  Twenty over!
Dr-Radar:  I'll video tape the area before coming down to Omaha.
Drradar2:  Yes, good. Would be nice to get a re-enactment!
Dr-Radar:  The officer never asked how fast he was going.
Drradar2:  The radar might have been angled to the side, also.  But 20 MPH over!  Maybe there were harmonics there.
Dr-Radar: The officer just gave him the ticket, I suspect it was with an older radar.
Drradar2:  Yes, need to subpoena info.  Send him the questionnaire to fill out, too
Dr-Radar:  Also it could be angle of antennae towards overhead wires, hard to tell. There might be radio transmitters in the area, also.
Drradar2:  Yes, or reflection of someone behind the officer.
Dr-Radar:  He is going to request a hearing.  He wants an expert witness in court with him.
Drradar2:  Yes.
Dr-Radar:  So I need to have a video and expert witness questions. He's going to take pictures also.
Drradar2:  But you need to check the area to find out if there are transmitted harmonics.
Dr-Radar:  He said it's the principle of the ticket.  He wasn't going that fast.  His cousin flew up here and was riding with him going to a funeral.  They were in no hurry, periodic black ice on road, blowing snow, no cruise control on, paying attention, didn't want to end up in ditch, etc.
Drradar2:  Ice?
Drradar2:  Was there ice on the wires causing them to reflect more?
Dr-Radar:  Reflection from ice?  I don't know.  Could be.
Drradar2:  Oh, oh!  There is a military installation in the area.  Perhaps a military transmission?
Dr-Radar:  Will have to look at the area.  There are many things, that's why he's reading the book.  He was on the police commission in Ann Arbor, Michigan, worked with police chief, etc. Well respected from the University. 
Drradar2:  Yes.  What about the protocol, questions by the officer? When I received the ticket in the "Red Car Story" in the book, the officer didn't even ask me anything.  He just wrote the ticket.
Dr-Radar:  I don't know much about the officer, only badge #, etc.  It was moving radar.
Drradar2:  Yes.  I assumed as much, but still 20 MPH over!
Dr-Radar:  That's a lot!  NO WAY!  Had to be an error.
Drradar2:  Got it down to the quarter mile eh?  Where was it again?
Dr-Radar:  Mile point 4 on highway 256, approx. 4 miles north of Renville Corner.
Drradar2:   How fast was the officer going?
Dr-Radar:  I have no idea about the officer's speed.
Drradar2:  I think it reflected back and he got himself.  That, or an aircraft.  But few aircraft in the area.
Dr-Radar:  If the officer can't testify to his patrol speed it could have registered low like 40 mph (20 MPH low) from I assume his 60 mph speed, adding the 20mph to the 65, equaling 85.
Drradar2:  Yes, but how to prove it!
Dr-Radar:  Low false ground speed is always in favor of the officer for moving radar,  but it's a good question to ask in court.
Dr-Radar:  Ok.  See you tomorrow.

Video Investigation: 
Videotaped this area from Mile Point 3 north to MP5.  When I turned around at MP5, heading back south to simulate officer's patrol vehicle, I saw a Military Command Center, east of the roadway. This would be about 1/2 mile away.  There were two high-power antennas, plus a Radar Dome at this site.  Most transmitters are 300 watts or greater and when transmitting, they create false harmonics for radar.  I video taped the entire area including the Transmitters, made pictures, and got the Harmonics Chart ready for trial.  I'm positive that there was a transmission from the site, because on the day I was video taping there were three military vehicles leaving the area during the same time frame, probably a crew change.

Court:
Judge explained that before the trial the Defendant could plead Guilty to 80 MPH, be fined $40, 4 points on his Driver's License.  If we go to trial and he's found guilty, Judge Ketterling said he'd be charged for the original 85MPH (even though 80 MPH was listed as the official charge on the Citation) and would be fined $55 and 7 Points. 

All the questions were asked during the trial, and when I was called as an expert witness, to explain the harmonics, and show the diagrams of the locations of the incident, the Judge started excessive questioning, the States Attorney, remaining quiet.  During the recess, Tom felt it was not going well because the Judge obviously was asking his own questions, not allowing the charts, and stating that we needed to have the "precise time" of the military transmissions (by their records, which are impossible to get).  

During the recess the Deputy also admitted that he worked at Surrey, ND and was aware of the false 76MPH caused by the Microwave relay 1 mile west of Surrey.  He also stated that by Bergen, ND there were problems with the KR10-sp radar unit picking up false signals and harmonics.  

Tom felt we had no chance, so decided to plead guilty to the lesser (erroneous) charge and receive only $40 fine and 4 points against his license, versus being found guilty by the Judge and fined $55 and 7 Points against his license. The Judge (off the record) stated that he felt he'd still be found Guilty even if an appeal to a higher court with jury was made.

Lesson Learned:
Hire an informed, trained, defense attorney to protect you from the Judge and properly submit the exhibits. (By the way, the Judge allowed us to retain all the official exhibits that were introduced). More on this in later books. If you represent yourself, know what Objections are valid and useable.  Protect your rights!

UPDATE:  Tom had a second inflated ticket of 39/25 zone in April 2002.  We went to Municipal Court and this case was dismissed.  Both the Prosecutor and the Officer learned something more about false secondary harmonics causing false readings. We were prepared and ready to go all the way to District Court if need be.

Update, June 2003: Another totally separate case (false 80/65 zone) but the same traveling District Judge (Ketterling), different city.  Defendant read our book, understood how moving radar worked, explained his case verbally, explained multiple vehicles, plus Cell Phone tower located at NW corner of intersection where the radar antenna would have been pointed towards.  After recess, Case was Dismissed!

BUT: we learned that the District Judge is blind, physically blind, since 9 years of age.  What a tribute to his tenacity to become an attorney and yet be elected to the Judicial Bench of ND. What perseverance!

BUT: had we known in the first case above (false 85/65 zone), we would have presented an audio description of events rather than visual presentations of evidence for the Court.  When we found out, both Tom and I now understood what went wrong in the first case.  We were "blinded" or "blind-sided" by the fact that we assumed the Judge to be sighted.  True story! We didn't know until some time later after the trial!

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