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Calibration discrepancy or sloppy writing - viable defence?
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:14 pm 
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The officer seems to have written "60" where "50" should appear in the calibration section of the disclosure sheet. Is it a viable defense to claim that the radar unit might have been out of calibration?

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Re: Calibration discrepancy or sloppy writing - viable defen
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:29 pm 
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just to clarify for you it is not a "calibration" section.

It is the speedometer comparison section, which is the correlation between the speedometer and the reading on the "patrol" area of the radar, which confirms the unit is working properly. Now is the unit malfunctioning at 50km/hr or did the officer error and perform the test at 60/hr instead of 50km/hr as in the typed version of the notes? Appears the 80km/hr is proper.

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Re: Calibration discrepancy or sloppy writing - viable defen
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 3:12 pm 
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It certainly looks more like 60 then 50. If the officer testified at trial that there was a discrepancy between the radar/speedometer, that would certainly raise reasonable doubt, but more likely they'll just confirm it's a sloppy 50. An experienced paralegal might get a bit more mileage out of a mistake like that, but I'm not sure it's enough on its own if the officer confirms it should read 50.


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Re: Calibration discrepancy or sloppy writing - viable defen
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 4:17 pm 
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Without any context, I would definitely think 60 at first glance. But if you look carefully, there is an extra stroke at the top of the first digit, almost making the 0 look like an 8. Also, notice how straight the horizontal stroke is - most people would not pause on the loop of a 6 in order to straighten out the top.

It looks like a '5' written with one of those gel pens where the ink follows for a long time after a pen lift. You can certainly call it into question but I think, like Stanton, that the officer will just confirm that it is '50'.

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Re: Calibration discrepancy or sloppy writing - viable defen
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:02 am 
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Oh PLEASE!

Using a speedometer to "calibrate" or even "verify" a laser unit is like using your foot to calibrate/verify a tape measure. It's even less pertinent than the self-check. OK, the speedo and the radar agree, but which one would be taken out of service if they didn't? Without independent certified calibrations to trace to Known Standards, the very real possibility exists that they are both wrong.

The speedometer is subject to so many potential and unknowable errors as to be only a rough indication of road speed. Tire wear, tire slippage due to different pavements, headwinds as well as lag on speed change, just to name a quick few.

And strapping the car to a dynamometer is no guarantee of true speed indication either. How does the coefficient of friction between the tire and the driven drum compare to actual pavement and driving conditions? When was the dynomometer last calibrated, by what lab and how?

Although none of this may be of any use when speaking to a JP/judge with zero measurement expertise, it goes to the question of enforcement/prosecution being held to the same standard of diligence and compliance as all other industries/services.

Good luck.


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Re: Calibration discrepancy or sloppy writing - viable defen
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:55 am 
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That's funny. I don't see any mention of a "laser" being used or anything on the disclosure about "calibration" I see a Decatur Electronics Genesis II being used.


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Re: Calibration discrepancy or sloppy writing - viable defen
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:58 am 
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Watcher, your opinions are well known, but those standards go well beyond what the Court requires, and aren't really much help to the OP. You're correct in that he'd probably have no chance of using those thoughts as an actual defence in Court, whereas a discrepancy between the speedo/radar would be accepted, regardless of scientific merit. I just want that clear for the OP if/when he goes to Court. To challenge the entire standards used for speed measurement would not be a matter for the faint of heart. You'd require a supreme understanding of the topic and lots of patience to fight the Crown tooth and nail (assuming they simply don't withdraw the charge). It would make for an interesting case though, I'd watch it. :)


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Re: Calibration discrepancy or sloppy writing - viable defen
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:39 pm 
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At least whoever created the form got it right, calling it "comparison" not calibration. But it gets treated as a calibration, as there is no actual calibration. Sorry, no points this round.

Why should the defendant have to educate the police, prosecution and court on such a basic concept? Those who dare to judge must first judge themselves.

Real simple, ANY measuring device MUST be independently compared to a more accurate/precise known, traceable standard on a regular basis. Documentation to certify this was done must be maintained and be available upon request. Certifications/calibrations older than one years don't count except to support current certifications/calibrations. Operators must do regular standardized tests/checks to detect any out-of-tolerance variation in readings, but these do not replace regular certified calibrations.

What is SO hard about that?

As to the OP's issue, I'll leave the handwriting analysis and inevitable legal loophole gyrations to more qualified people. I only know about silly stuff like measzurin thingys.


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Re: Calibration discrepancy or sloppy writing - viable defen
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:52 pm 
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Decatur wrote:
That's funny. I don't see any mention of a "laser" being used or anything on the disclosure about "calibration" I see a Decatur Electronics Genesis II being used.


That's very funny... to me all those Magic Speed Reading Boxes are the same, no matter which electronics company made them. They could use psychic energy to measure speed and tarot cards for calibration for all I care. As long as you can find an independent lab to certify the Magic Boxes read speed correctly every time they are used under all potential operating conditions, I'm a happy camper.

Radar, laser, speedometer, stopwatch... whatever... if it ain't independently certified/calibrated it could be wrong.


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Re: Calibration discrepancy or sloppy writing - viable defen
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:29 am 
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hwybear wrote:
just to clarify for you it is not a "calibration" section.

It is the speedometer comparison section, which is the correlation between the speedometer and the reading on the "patrol" area of the radar


Just to clarify for you, whenever you compare the reading of a measuring device to a reference you trust for the purpose of adjusting the scale or deciding whether it's garbage, what you are doing is called "calibration," at least where I went to engineering school.

The prosecutor was quite intimidating before the trial, saying that the court always goes his way and he would raise the charge, which the court always allows (it did).

I ended up winning, emphasizing that there was reasonable doubt that the unit was functioning properly. As for the 80 being correct, I simply said that even a broken watch is correct twice a day.

Good luck to anyone in a similar situation that reads this in the future!


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Re: Calibration discrepancy or sloppy writing - viable defen
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:01 pm 
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ElectricMayhem wrote:
hwybear wrote:
just to clarify for you it is not a "calibration" section.

It is the speedometer comparison section, which is the correlation between the speedometer and the reading on the "patrol" area of the radar


Just to clarify for you, whenever you compare the reading of a measuring device to a reference you trust for the purpose of adjusting the scale or deciding whether it's garbage, what you are doing is called "calibration," at least where I went to engineering school.


that is not how the manuals are written, nor how the course is taught, nor can a speedometer calibrate a radar

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Re: Calibration discrepancy or sloppy writing - viable defen
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:37 pm 
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I would have to with Squishy and say that the number we are talking about is a 5, if you look closely you will see that what looks like the back part of a 6 is actually the letter "r" from the end of the word radar on the form. I think all that has happened here is that the officer wrote the number 50 a little too close to the edge of the space and it overlapped the word radar a bit.


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Re: Calibration discrepancy or sloppy writing - viable defen
PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:45 pm 
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hwybear wrote:
nor can a speedometer calibrate a radar


:lol:

The only time this would be a true "calibration" is if the officer subsequently started tinkering with the radar after there was a discrepancy with the speedometer reading.

Anyway the officer's notes made it look more like a "60" instead of "50" so reasonable doubt was raised in this case in my opinion...

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Re: Calibration discrepancy or sloppy writing - viable defen
PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:16 pm 
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Radar Identified wrote:
hwybear wrote:
nor can a speedometer calibrate a radar


:lol:

The only time this would be a true "calibration" is if the officer subsequently started tinkering with the radar after there was a discrepancy with the speedometer reading. .


you got it backwards....we carry the multi-tool so back in the old day we put on a set of coveralls, go under the car and readjust the speedometer cable :lol: however modern technology is a little easier with the pop open dash panels, so reach in and just readjust, kinda like the clock on the wall 8) :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: Calibration discrepancy or sloppy writing - viable defen
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:16 am 
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Looks like 60 to me

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