Ohio appeals court throws out unproven lidar speed gun evidence.
An appellate court on Monday ruled that key evidence used in Ohio speed traps was not admissible. With millions in local government revenue at stake, the Ohio Court of Appeals for the Ninth District found the accuracy of laser-based speed guns (lidar) to be unproven. The decision could inspire challenges to laser tickets throughout the state.
The present case began when Ohio State Trooper Dennis Matulin hid along the median of Interstate 71 with an LTI 20-20 laser speed gun waiting for the device to indicate that someone had exceeded the speed limit. Matulin charged that when Donald Miko’s semi truck passed his location, the lidar gun displayed a reading of 67 MPH. The limit for trucks on the road is 55 and for cars 65.
At trial in the Medina County Municipal Court, Miko objected that the trooper’s LTI 20-20 had never been proved reliable in an Ohio court of law. The prosecutor merely asserted the contrary. The magistrate quickly agreed, saying, “Yes, the court had done so by prior judgment entry.” The court imposed a $100 fine and two points against Miko’s commercial driving license. Appellate Judge Clair E. Dickinson scolded the lower court for violating the rule that a county court must publish, or report, a “judgment entry” used for the purpose of taking judicial notice.
“Nobody has brought a reported decision of the Medina Municipal Court considering the accuracy of the LTI 20-20 device to this court’s attention,” Judge Clair E. Dickinson wrote. “The trial court, therefore, was not authorized to take judicial notice of the scientific accuracy of the LTI 20-20 laser device by Rule 201(B)(1) of the Ohio Rules of Evidence.”
Dickinson went on to point out that the unreported case which the Medina court cited to convict Miko did not include any required testimony from expert witnesses. As a result, the court overturned Miko’s conviction.
If you found this website/post informative or interesting,
won't you consider making a small donation or other contribution?