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Texas Speeding Ticket / Trial by Judge / Discovery Question

On Lawyer & Legal » Traffic Law

20,841 words with 7 Comments; publish: Tue, 15 Sep 2009 22:20:00 GMT; (80062.50, « »)

Hello, I believe I was wrongly cited for traveling 58 in a 45 mph zone in Travis County, Texas. Today I plead not guilty, and I signed up for a trial by judge in about a month from today. As I'm preparing my defense, I am ready to mail off my requests for information (discovery). I want to know if you all think I have said all of the right things or not in my request letter. Here is the body of the letter. Please give me your best advice on the content of this letter, considering that I honestly don't believe that I was speeding, but I certainly think it is possible I was speeding. Thus, I have to be prepared. Here it is:

To the Travis County District Attorney:

I, A.K., do hereby request the following information pertaining to my defense of ticket number 4523, issued on August 24, 2009 by Officer #666 of the Austin Police Department.

I am requesting a copy of the following records:

#1: Officer #4523s training records that pertain to his instruction, certification, or continuation of traffic speed enforcement, and to the instruction and certification in the use of the speed measuring device that was used to ascertain the speed of the vehicle described in ticket number 666.

#2: A copy of the departmental operations or procedures manual used for the training of this RADAR operator, and, if different, the Austin Police Department regulations and guidelines regarding the use, operation, and policies for the use of speed detection equipment.

#3: Officer #4523s daily log for the day of August 24, 2009.

#4: Officer #4523s RADAR log for the day of August 24, 2009

#5: The name, model, and serial number of the device used to ascertain the speed of the vehicle described in ticket no. 666, and the serial numbers of the tuning forks used to test the speed-measuring device.

#6: Copies of the maintenance, certification, and calibration records, for the last twelve months, of the speed measuring device that was used to ascertain the speed of the vehicle described in ticket number 666.

#7: A copy of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) license that authorized the issuing police agency and operator of the speed-measuring device to lawfully operate the device on a specific frequency and/or range of frequencies

#8: A copy of that portion of the radar unit manufacturers operator manual relating to field use and operation for any speed detection equipment used by Officer #4523 in regards to the issuance of Ticket no. 666.

#9: A copy of both sides of the officers copy of ticket no. 666

#10: A copy of any documentary evidence to be introduced at trial.

#11: All engineering reports and studies performed in the determination of the posted limit, to include, but not limited to, the most recent 85th percentile speed measurement and any collision data used in the determination of the posted limit, as required by Federal law.

#12: A listing of traffic tickets issued by Officer # 4523 for the month of August 2009, to include: date and time issued, alleged violation, and disposition, (if determined).

#13: A total tally of all traffic tickets issued by the Austin Police Department for the month of August 2009, to include: date issued, alleged violation, the DSN of the issuing officer, and disposition, (if determined).

I am requesting that the requested records be mailed to me at the following address, and if there are any fees related to this request, please send an itemized bill for said fees to:

<my address>

I have enclosed a self addressed stamped envelope if such a need arises. If there is further need for contact in which written correspondence is insufficient, please call (666) 666 6666. Please make contact prior to performing any actions which lead to fees in excess of $20.

Thank you in advance for your courtesy.

Is this TOO much? I don't want to piss off the D.A. or let them get overly prepared, but everything I have read says that I should get all of the records I can. Thanks for your help. I was also going to send one to the police department and the municipal court. Does that sound good? I see on the D.A.'s website (Travis County District Attorney) that there is a P.O. Box address to contact the D.A. for general info and also for Open Records Requests. I am a bit confused about whether I am making an Open Record Request or a Request for Discovery. If anyone can shed light on the specifics in Texas or Travis county for getting pre-trial information, that would also be great. Thanks!

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  • 7 Comments
    • Quote:
      === Original Words ===

      hopefully not guilty according to the radar transcript from AFTER the first moment of seeing flashing lights behind me.
      Think about what you're saying. Seriously... The officer measured your speed, determined that you were allegedly speeding, he gave chase, turned his light on to pull you over... The alleged infraction HAD ALREADY occurred. So for you to go into court arguing that you were not speeding after the cop lit you up (even though you are not denying that you sped up to pass the truck next to you)... Nice try... But its irrelevant & pointless.
      #1; Wed, 16 Sep 2009 15:32:00 GMT
    • Quote:
      === Original Words ===

      I think this officer began to "chase" me assuming that I would speed down the hill.
      Its possible... But if I were you, I'd go into court expecting him to say he measured your speed at 58mph, followed you, turned his lights on, you pulled over, and cited you.
      #2; Fri, 18 Sep 2009 00:48:00 GMT
    • Thanks for your help so far! I asked for #12 and #13 as essentially a Freedom of Information (Open Records) ruse to get the prosecutor into a "just another idiot hoping to show it's about quota" mode. If the DA is at least partially expecting me to fight based on quotas and "he didn't show me the radar" defenses, she'll be that much more surprised and undefended when I start hitting her with "Federal law requires the speed limit to be set to..." and "the officer's Operator's Manual requires... but the officer failed to do so..." For #3, I thought it might be another way to verify whether or not he followed all procedures for RADAR use, especially calibrating it in the morning and whatever else they're required to do. Do you think I should remove any of these items since they are over-kill in total? Also, about #s 2, 7, and 8, if I am denied that information, how do you think I could use it to my defense. In other words, I know that it pplies to my case, but I can't quite wrap my head around all of their potential uses in court. I have never fought a ticket before, so ANY and ALL advice is GREATLY appreciated. Thank you so much!
      #3; Wed, 16 Sep 2009 12:33:00 GMT
    • Quote:
      === Original Words ===

      #1: Officer #4523s training records that pertain to his instruction, certification, or continuation of traffic speed enforcement, and to the instruction and certification in the use of the speed measuring device that was used to ascertain the speed of the vehicle described in ticket number 666.

      #2: A copy of the departmental operations or procedures manual used for the training of this RADAR operator, and, if different, the Austin Police Department regulations and guidelines regarding the use, operation, and policies for the use of speed detection equipment.

      #3: Officer #4523s daily log for the day of August 24, 2 9.

      #4: Officer #4523s RADAR log for the day of August 24, 2 9

      #5: The name, model, and serial number of the device used to ascertain the speed of the vehicle described in ticket no. 666, and the serial numbers of the tuning forks used to test the speed-measuring device.

      #6: Copies of the maintenance, certification, and calibration records, for the last twelve months, of the speed measuring device that was used to ascertain the speed of the vehicle described in ticket number 666.

      #7: A copy of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) license that authorized the issuing police agency and operator of the speed-measuring device to lawfully operate the device on a specific frequency and/or range of frequencies

      #8: A copy of that portion of the radar unit manufacturers operator manual relating to field use and operation for any speed detection equipment used by Officer #4523 in regards to the issuance of Ticket no. 666.

      #9: A copy of both sides of the officers copy of ticket no. 666

      #1 : A copy of any documentary evidence to be introduced at trial.

      #11: All engineering reports and studies performed in the determination of the posted limit, to include, but not limited to, the most recent 85th percentile speed measurement and any collision data used in the determination of the posted limit, as required by Federal law.

      #12: A listing of traffic tickets issued by Officer # 4523 for the month of August 2 9, to include: date and time issued, alleged violation, and disposition, (if determined).

      #13: A total tally of all traffic tickets issued by the Austin Police Department for the month of August 2 9, to include: date issued, alleged violation, the DSN of the issuing officer, and disposition, (if determined).

      You probably will get #s 1, 4, 5, 6, 9 & 11...

      You probably won't get #s 2, 7 & 8...

      And can you elaborate on why you need #s 3, 12 & 13? These items have no effect upon your alleged violation. So how do you think getting them will benefit your defense?

      I think you went for "overkill". I don't know the specifics of the rules of Discovery in Texas, but if you're planning on requesting a dismissal if they fail to provide you with ALL the items you requested, keep in mind that upon you filing a motion to dismiss, the judge will most likely consider whether the items that you didn't receive will have any impact on your ability to mount a defense. If they don't, then your motion will probably be denied.

      #4; Wed, 16 Sep 2009 02:42:00 GMT
    • Quote:
      === Original Words ===

      The officer measured your speed, determined that you were allegedly speeding, he gave chase, turned his light on to pull you over... The alleged infraction HAD ALREADY occurred. So for you to go into court arguing that you were not speeding after the cop lit you up (even though you are not denying that you sped up to pass the truck next to you)... Nice try... But its irrelevant & pointless.
      This is the whole reason that I have signed up for a trial. I don't think I could possibly have been speeding until after I saw his lights. He asked my what was the hurry, not how fast was I going. I said nothing because I wasn't in a hurry. I am of the opinion that IF he legally had a reading for 58 on my vehicle, that it only could have happened after I first saw the lights on. That's why I don't know why he would have turned his lights on in the first place. If I did break a speeding law, which I doubt, it could only have been by passing in front of the truck on my right (who was definitely going UNDER the speed limit, which is why I was already in the left lane after turning right, right after his slow descent down the hill). But I don't know how their radar procedures change for when they are not sitting on the side of the road clocking you but following you with their lights on. Could he even have used radar while driving behind me, or did he just estimate/make up a speed? This is what I ought to find out from my request for information right? I think this officer began to "chase" me assuming that I would speed down the hill, or assuming that I would pay the ticket because I was from Illinois. I know that I wasn't pulled over from before I turned, because I had been traveling down that road with its 30 mph speed limit right outside of my new neighborhood. Thanks for your help so far. I truly appreciate your experience and advice.
      #5; Thu, 17 Sep 2009 23:53:00 GMT
    • It's highly unlikely that the prosecution is going to mount any specific case to get around any particular defense you might mount. They've heard most of the issues before and will be prepared to deal with all the stock ones: quotas, radar accuracy, validity of the basic speed law,...
      #6; Wed, 16 Sep 2009 12:52:00 GMT
    • Do you suggest I don't ask for certain records if they are already going to be ready for these issues as a part of my defense? Is there not likelihood that the prosecution will be unable to produce at least one of the pieces of required information, and the case will be dropped? In other words, I believe I am innocent, but I want to have a strong case as if I were guilty, so that IF I were speeding I could still win the case somehow. At the same time, I don't want the judge to assume that I am guilty simply because I have asked for all of this information. In case you are needing to know more about the act of being pulled over... I had just turned right from a stop and started accelerating down a hill. Within about 10 seconds I see the flashing motorcycle lights coming down the hill after me. I don't know where he came from, but I was not speeding when I saw him. I was going the speed limit. Now, amidst the adrenaline rush of deciding that I needed to pull around the truck on my right side, in front of it as it was slightly behind and directly to the right of my vehicle, I acknowledge the possibility that I could have sped from the sped limit of 45, unintentionally, and with the express purpose of getting to the far right lane out of the cop's way. ( I was not aware I was being pulled over obviously). So you see, I am not guilty according to my conscious actions absolutely, and hopefully not guilty according to the radar transcript from AFTER the first moment of seeing flashing lights behind me. Whew.. its a bit hairy. So what do you think about my previous question?
      #7; Wed, 16 Sep 2009 13:31:00 GMT