Jun 04, 2010 Don’t let Ohio’s speeding opinion infect other states
In my legal research and writing class, my ordinarily unsmiling instructor — still unsmiling — admonished us that if 46 state high courts are against our position but the most recent two state appellate court opinions are in our favor, we must be ready to argue with a straight face that the trend in the appellate law is on our side.
On June 2, 2010, the Ohio Supreme Court delivered a 5-1 opinion that a speeding conviction is available even when the prosecution is unable to get into evidence a laser, radar or speedometer reading. Barberton v. Jenney, Slip Op. No. 2010-Ohio-2420 (June 2, 2010).
A speeding fine alone may not be a big deal, but points for speeding raise insurance rates and bring a person closer to a potential license suspension. Many points can harm a person’s sentencing for a drunk driving conviction. Such jurisdictions as Virginia, federal court, and Washington, D.C. provide for jail penalties for certain speeding offenses, and Virginia allows up to six months of suspended driving for reckless driving based on speed. Therefore, at all costs, a “trend” duplicating the Ohio decision must be prevented.