Ga's Supreme Court rules on Police Traffic Arrest Jurisdiction

Earlier this week the Georgia Supreme Court ruled in Zilke v. State, that police officers across the state are no longer allowed to make traffic arrests outside their department’s jurisdiction. The high court made the unanimous decision in favor of a Kennesaw State University student.  Justices say it was illegal for a campus police officer to stop him in 2013 and charge him with driving under the influence 500-yards off school property. Defense for the Zilke stated, “We never challenged the officer’s power to pull our client over, so we think that was right, and the right thing to do. But what the law (now) does not authorize is that officer having the power to further investigate that person, gather evidence and make a custodial arrest. That’s the difference.”  More details on the case here.

Iowa Supreme Court Considers $75 Traffic Ticket Case

In one of several cases around the nation testing laws surrounding how traffic cameras are regulated and administered, Maria Leaf of Cedar Rapids, (after having her case dismissed in small claims and county district courts) is now having her case consider by the state supreme court. Leaf challenged her due process, the calibration of the cameras, and that the burden of proof hadn’t been met. Because her case is not guaranteed an appeal, she had to request permission to appeal through an application for discretionary review from the Iowa Supreme Court, which the court granted earlier this week. The Leaf case raises “fundamental questions” about a city’s use of the cameras on federal roads despite objections of the state, the delegation of police functions to a private for-profit corporation, and the administrative appeal process, according to the filing. “Ms. Leaf’s case, standing alone, may seem insignificant to some: it constitutes one $75 penalty that she believes should not have been imposed, with court costs now to $195,” Leaf’s filing states. “But, the injustice experienced by her is not trivial, when viewed in a larger context.” Cameras at northbound and southbound I-380 near J Avenue issue more than 90,000 tickets each making them the most aggressive traffic cameras in the state.

Oregon Appeals Court Rules on DUI arrests by out-of-state Police 

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the Oregon Court of Appeals has reversed a DUI conviction because the driver was pulled over by a Washington State Patrol trooper after he crossed into Oregon. The Oregonian/Oregon Live reports that the court overturned the 2011 conviction of 40-year-old James Edward Keller of Beaverton. It found last week that the Washington trooper had no authority under Oregon law to stop Keller. The Appeals Court said there is an exception for out-of-state police to stop people suspected of having committed a felony if the police chase the suspects into Oregon while in “hot pursuit.” That didn’t apply to Keller’s case. The trooper pursued Keller after seeing him commit two traffic violations and said he could tell Keller was very drunk after talking to him. According to court documents, the trooper began following Keller’s speeding car in Washington and pulled him over in Oregon, where he requested assistance twice from Portland police. Portland police arrived about eight to 12 minutes after the first request for help and took over the investigation, according to the documents. They arrested Keller and found him to have a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit for driving. Keller’s defense attorney, Lisa Pardini, tried to suppress evidence from what she called an unlawful stop. A Multnomah County Circuit Court judge denied her request, finding that the trooper had probable cause to stop and detain Keller. The three-judge panel of the Appeals Court, however, maintained that the trooper was acting beyond his jurisdiction, thus violating Keller’s constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.

Issue Brief: Women and Drunk Driving

In the most recent Issue Brief we look at Women and Drunk Driving. The article looks at the recent research that seems to show that, statistically, men seem to be drinking a little less while women are drinking a little more. Readers might find it surprising to see the statistics both domestically and internationally that seem to support the theory.  Further, this Issue Brief identifies the different considerations courts need to take with treatment programs in order to factor in the unique needs of women in order to be effective

Upcoming Courses at the National Judicial College

The following courses are offered by the NJC in Reno, Nevada in the coming months. A limited number of scholarships are available through generous funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Please contact Rebecca Bluemer at or or 775-327-8269 for more information.

Drugged Driving Essentials. September 27-29, 2016. Reno, NV: Unlike alcohol-impaired driving, drugged driving has no bright line test for impairment. Drugged driving cases require a judge to utilize a variety of judicial tools to effectively adjudicate these cases. In addition to the ability to determine whether an individual may be under the influence of drugs, it is important to know how drugs affect the individual, and their ability to function. It is also imperative that a judge knows how to effectively craft sentences, which include treatment options, in order to provide a participant with the most beneficial mode of recovery. After this course, you should be able to: Describe the major classes of drugs, and discuss how they affect an individual’s driving ability, Describe what a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) does, and identify how to qualify a DRE as an expert witness, Give examples of effective sentencing techniques when dealing with an individual who is suffering from a drug abuse issue.

NCSC Traffic Resource Center

TheTraffic Resource Center is a cooperative effort between the Department of Transportation and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to establish a resource for judges, court administrators, court clerks, and other court staff on issues related to traffic adjudication. It is an integrated clearinghouse of information as well as a training and technical assistance resource to improve court decision-making and processing of traffic cases involving impaired driving, drugged driving, distracted driving, and commercial driving. The purpose of the Traffic Resource Center website is to provide a useful, ready reference for judges new to the bench or recently assigned to traffic cases, who may need quick access to accurate and timely information until they can receive more formal, structured education.

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