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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. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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