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Judges reverse speeding infraction due to lack of proof

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A driver pulled over in Clark County for speeding was able to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday that the infraction should be reversed because the state couldn’t prove its case.

Brian Byrd was pulled over for speeding by Clark County Deputy Sheriff Donovan Harrod, issuing a citation alleging Byrd violated I.C. 9-21-5-2 by driving 54 mph on a road having a prima facie speed of 30 mph. At trial, Harrod testified that the speed limits on Brown Station Way where Byrd was driving varied from 30 mph to 45 mph and back to 40 mph.

Byrd’s defense produced a photograph purportedly taken near the boat marina where Byrd was pulled over that showed a 45 mph speed sign. Harrod conceded that he “may have made a mistake” as to where [the speed limit] “turns into 45.” He also suggested that the photograph “could be wrong” and clarified that he had “said approximately that area” in his preceding testimony.

The prosecutor then described the state’s allegation as Byrd having traveled nine miles over the speed limit by going 54 mph. Byrd countered that he had his cruise control set to 45 mph upon entering Brown Station Way.

The trial court found him guilty of “Speeding 50/45” and ordered him to pay $154.

According to Indiana Code section 9-21-8-53(a), Byrd was entitled to specific allegations of his speed and location and the applicable prima facie or fixed speed applicable within the district or at the location. He was entitled to have those elements established by a preponderance of the evidence,” Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote in Brian Byrd v. State of Indiana, 10A01-1309-IF-383. “The State provided the requisite specificity, but alleged only that Byrd violated Indiana Code section 9-21-5-2 by driving 54 miles per hour in a 30 miles per hour zone. The evidence adduced did not establish the violation alleged. And the State’s concession to, but without proof of, an alternative fixed speed limit results in a failure of proof.”

 

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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