I have been commenting on the NJ Appellate Division’s decision in State v Green. In that case, the Court, inter alia, held that the Stalker Lidar laser speed detection device had not been proved to be scientifically reliable. The Court remanded this issue and there has yet to be a hearing to determine if this particular laser/radar device meets the necessary reliability standard. Therefore, there is currently a window of sorts, because the state, in prosecuting a speeding offense, will not be able to rely upon the clocked reading of this device. It will not be admissible at trial.
Today, I represented a client who was charged with a serious speeding offense. Her speed was clocked with this device. The police department that issued the ticket utilizes Stalker almost exclusively.
I raised this issue with the prosecutor, who indicated that she was aware of the issue, but no other attorneys had raised it. This surprised me.
The case was scheduled for trial and I asked that the case be dismissed. Now, it is important to note that the state may prove that a defendant was speeding in two ways, 1) by the testimony of the officer and others who witnessed the alleged violation, and 2) by the radar gun. The state does not have to prove the exact speed. Given the high rate of speed that my client was traveling at, there was a good chance that the officer would give credible testimony, albeit he would not be able to state with certainty, but my client may still be guilty of a speeding violation and take points on her license, and possible suspension, given the high rate of speed. Also, the judge could have rescheduled the case until the hearing was held on the scientific reliability of the Stalker Laser
The prosecutor acknowledged the problems the state had with its proofs and offered an amendment of the speeding ticket to unsafe operation of a motor vehicle, a zero point ticket with a $450 fine (can only use twice in a five-year period). I refused, and after some more discussions, it was agreed that the ticket would be amended to failure to yield, a zero point ticket, and $200 fine. This was a great result and my client was very pleased, given what she was facing going into it.