Judicial Notice: - Statutory device that allows a judge to accept as true, and direct the jury to do likewise, certain fundamental facts not subject to serious dispute, so that the parties need not offer proof of these facts.
Judicial notice is where the court accepts as fact something, which does not have to be proven. For example water is H20, fire is hot, ice is cold. Courts have taken judicial notice that Radar, speedometers and time-distance measuring devices are accurate provided they are calibrated and used correctly.
Laser on the other hand has limited Judicial notice. Less then 5% of jurisdictions have taken judicial notice that a laser speed measuring device is accurate to a legal degree of certainty for admissibility as evidence in a speeding ticket trial. In other words, in 95 percent of all jurisdictions there is no Judicial notice. In the few instances that exist there are serious limitations.
Radar: 100% Judicial Notice
Moving Radar: 35% Judicial Notice
Laser: 5% Judicial Notice
Vascar: And other time-distance clocking devices- 100% Judicial Notice
Visual Estimation of Speed: -0-% Judicial Notice (in 10 % of all trials they try to enter it into evidence as corroborating evidence)
IMPORTANT: You don't know where to find Judicial Notice. For Judicial Notice to exist it has to have been contested in a High Court (case law) or a Hearing of some kind had to have taken place. For you to prove that no judicial notice exists is not possible. You can not prove the non-existence of something that does not exist. If you bring up the challenge it is up to the prosecution to prove that it exists. Challenge Judicial Notice for laser, moving radar and visual speed estimation when the evidence is introduced.
For example: The prosecutor will ask the officer what type of device he used. If he says laser, moving radar or visual speed estimation immediately stand up and object this way: "I Object, no Judicial notice as to the accuracy of laser, moving radar or visual speed estimation exists in this jurisdiction."
The Judge may say something or the prosecutor may ask you something like this: "What evidence or documentation do you have to prove this?"
Reply with: "With all due respect, it is not possible to prove the non-existence of something that does not exist. It is up to the prosecution to prove that Judicial notice exists when challenged and not up to the defense that it does not. This is the prosecutions evidence and if they want to introduce it, it is up to them to prove judicial notice."
The Judge may wave the issue and just say "I take Judicial Notice". In that event drop the issue unless you are up to challenging the Judge.
The Judge will most likely ask the prosecutor for proof of judicial notice and dismiss the case if the prosecutor can't produce.
When I refer to visual speed estimation I am not referring to the visual speed estimation the officer may testify to when he says something like this. "I noticed the vehicle approaching at a great rate of speed and estimated it to be 80 mph. I then verified this with the radar gun." This is ok and part of the procedure of proper radar and laser use, It is also ok in Vascar and Laser use. I am referring to a situation where the officer maintains that his speed estimation is accurate and should be used for a conviction. There is a difference.
The Five Basic types of Speed Measurement devices used and how they work:
The defense for each is covered in detail. On the pull down tab marked DEFENSES at the top select the appropriate defense:
NOTE: there is no reason to study a defense you won't use. Determine the defense to use by reading the ticket as to the type of device used to measure your speed. If you are uncertain then you should come prepared with all defenses.
How Radar works:
Well first off, it really isn’t radar. Sure an electron beam is sent out and returned, but the Doppler effect determines the speed reading. That is where frequency changes as a moving object approaches you or moves away from you. The change in the frequency determines the speed. To do this the radar unit utilizes a “beat frequency oscillator”. This deals with beats in the millions per second. The tuning forks induce beats for a specific speed. That is there is a 30 mph fork, a 50 mph fork and a 70 mph fork. OK, the speed forks may vary depending on manufacturer; most have a minimum of two (the quantity is not important). These forks are similar to the ones you remember from music classes. The teacher hits the tuning fork marked “A” and you have an “A” on the chromatic scale. The frequency can be slightly off and no one will notice, our ears are not that good. On the radar unit a change in frequency of 10 kHz or 10 beats per second in millions is enough to make it unreliable. A scratch on the tuning fork is enough to cause that. If the tuning fork is ever drooped or damaged in any way it becomes unreliable. That is why every six months at least the forks should be sent away to a certified facility to be re-adjusted, tested and re-certified. See: How Radar Works
It is also important that the tuning forks not be damaged in any way since the last test and certification and you can, if you feel like it question the officer on it.
To your knowledge have these tuning forks ever been dropped?
To your knowledge have these tuning forks ever been left in the patrol car while parked with the windows closed, in bright sunlight and high temperatures?
Are you the only officer that has had custody of these forks?
Did you examine these forks for nicks, scratches and other possible distortions before using them?