9/29/2005Lawrence, Kansas Radar Training Proven Inadequate
Lawrence, Kansas man wins speeding ticket case over inadequate police training in the use of radar.
Douglas County, Kansas District Judge Robert Fairchild ruled last Friday that Zamir Bavel was not guilty of speeding in March last year. Bavel argued not only that he wasn't speeding, but that the Lawrence, Kansas police issued him an inaccurate ticket because the force has no training standards for the use of radar.
A non-lawyer, Bavel spent thirteen hours in court making his case. He produced documentation that showed the police officer who issued the $45 ticket had not actually received any formal radar training. Instead, he was handed a radar gun in the field and given just two minutes of instruction. Because of this, the officer was not aware that high-power lines could cause false readings. Bavel showed that the officer operated his radar directly under eleven lines, contrary to the instructions of the radar manufacturer.
The officer testified under oath that he visually estimated the defendant's speed to be about 50 MPH while the radar gun displayed a speed of 43 MPH. Bavel, a mathematician, demonstrated that based upon the officer's position, his car would have to have been traveling at 93 MPH for the readout to be true because of the cosine effect. The judge accepted this argument as sufficient proof of Bavel's innocence.
"There is real benefit in being on the right side of the truth," Bavel said.