Saturday, July 21, 2018

Our Justice System at Work-or how to make $162,000 with lies

by Geddy (writer), Katy, Texas, June 29, 2007

Sadly, this is a true story. It is also fairly long but please read it to the end.
An overcast day in mid-June of 2006 found me driving home from work along Chartres street behind the Geo. R. Brown convention center. The artery is a: 5 lane wide(wider than most freeways in Houston), one way road with few lights and no curves. Like many motorists that day, my journey was interrupted by a Houston police officer running into the middle of the road and flagging me over. It was then I noticed another officer standing on the roadside pointing a radar at the traffic. Two others (at least, may have been more) were near him writing citations. The posted limit on this 5 lane road is 30 mph; I was cited for going 43. There it is, end of story, I must be guilty. I got what I deserved! Perhaps, but this is where it starts to get interesting...

My friends tell me I should have been a lawyer because I love to argue about things. I just like spirited discussions. But I digress. I knew of a (State and Federal, which trumps any city ordinance) law that requires any posted speed limit be backed by a traffic and engineering study that sets the limit at the 85th percentile. This is the speed at which 85% of people would normally travel if there were no posted limits, no foul weather, light traffic and other criteria measured by TxDot. I won't go into the whole procedure (you can easily find the details at the TxDot website), suffice it to say that 30 mph is not the 85th percentile on this street. I decided to fight the ticket.

I put in many hours researching the law in this case, not only on the 85th percentile, but what the officer must PROVE in the case. Remember, we are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. He must prove the accuracy of the radar, or laser in this case, that he has firsthand knowledge of the reading, and there was no possible outside interference. If there was more than one officer involved, all of them must show up to testify as to what they saw. One officer can not testify as to what the others saw as that would be hearsay and inadmissable as evidence. I felt confident when it came to trial. Oh how naive I am!

When I noticed that only one officer: Matthew L. ( for Lloyd or Lieyourassoff, I'm not sure which) Davis, was the only officer to show I felt great. No way he could testify to what the laser said because he never saw it. Nor could he testify as to what the officer who flagged me over knew. That officer had been instructed by the one with the laser as to whom he should pull over.

I began my case with the 85th percentile defense. Upon my questioning, Officer Davis testified that the speed limit should be posted on the basis of a traffic and engineering study (less than 5 yr's. old). I immediately presented my evidence ( A letter from TxDot) that NO T&E study had ever been done for that street. It is an arbitrary speed limit, and as such, legally unenforceable. This agitated the DA who demanded the letter. I complied and she asked that it be inadmissable because she had no prior knowledge that it would be used in this case (well, she had her chance in discovery but decided to forego that since I'm just a stupid citizen). The judge sided with her and it was thrown out.

I pressed on with the laser defense. Officer Davis testified TWICE that it was he and he alone that fixed the laser beam on the front of my moving car. I won't go into all of the laser facts that would make this testimony fall apart; I was too shocked by this outrageous lie. I started to question him about the other officers knowing that hearsay would be inadmissable. He claims he was the ONLY officer there that day even though he lists another officer as a witness on the citation. I could not believe that a person sworn to uphold the law, not to mention sworn to truth in this case, would perjure himself like that. Nevertheless, the trial came to it's inevitable conclusion; I was found guilty. I was also found guilty on a second charge of not having a decal on my tinted window showing some kind of obscure information. I showed the judge and jury the law that says I don't need that sticker, but it too was ignored and I was assessed the fine for it as well.

I was, to say the least, extremely upset. I wanted to appeal the case but it way my (mis)understanding at the time that I would have to put up double the amount of the fines as a bond to have the case retried. I didn't have this kind of money so, despite my anger, I let it go and paid the fine. I justified it in my mind that I was probably going faster than the (illegally remember) posted limit and it wasn't the end of the world. Until 6 months later...

Cruising on the freeway through downtown at 60 mph (This time sure that I was within the posted limit) I noticed a police car merging into my lane from an entrance ramp (one with a yield sign he ignored). He was travelling about 40 mph and immediately moved into my lane. I let off the gas as he got in front of me and almost simultaneously flicked on his emergency lights. I thought maybe something was going on ahead and I slowed even further. Little did I know that they were meant for me. The cop car slowed even more, got alongside of me and pulled me over. The policeman ( I'll give you 3 guesses who it was, the first 2 don't count) came up to my window and started to say I was going too fast, that the SUGGESTED speed there is 35 mph. I told him, "No, the speed limit is 60." I suppose he didn't like me arguing so he added that I was tailgating him too.

I told him, "No way"... I was 30 ft behind him.

He told me that he couldn't see my headlights and that I should have been travelling the SUGGESTED speed of 35 mph. I again pointed out that the speed limit was in fact 60 mph.

Undeterred, he wrote me a ticket for following too closely.

I KNEW he had no case and decided to fight this one as well. At the time I didn't realize who this officer was; when it came to court I recognized him as the same one from 6 months ago. He has an annoying habit of wearing his sunglasses perched on top of his head even though this was 10PM.

I will shorten this part because I think you know where I'm headed. Officer M.L.Davis swore to tell the truth then proceeded to say that I was going 60 mph at a distance of 4' from his rear bumper in what he described as light traffic. Traffic was indeed light so I had to ask him if he thought I was drunk. He said no or he would have arrested me. Was I disoriented? Again no. Speaking in tongues? (Stretching it I know). Again he says no. So I had to ask, "Who in their right mind would tailgate a cop from 4' away?" I called him a liar in front of the judge. She was not pleased. Though not penalized for that, I was found guilty. I asked the judge about reasonable doubt. How can testimony alone be enough to find someone guilty; it's his word against mine, and they should hold equal weight in a court of law unless their is some evidence to the contrary.

I immediately filed an appeal. While waiting for a ruling on my case I noticed an article in the Houston Chronicle about police writing tickets. You only get one guess this time as to who is the "Most prolific ticket writer in the city." This man earned $162,000 dollars in the last 3 years JUST IN OVERTIME for showing up in court. Read that again...over $1,000 per week in JUST OVERTIME! This man is able to lie his way to riches without a second thought.

I went to the Municipal Courts administration office and asked to speak to a judge about this. I never got further than the office manager who provided only that, "That's the way the system works." She claims that once an officer says something in court, "It's up to me to DISPROVE it."
You've got to be kidding me!!!

I have since found out that one of the "WITNESSING OFFICERS" he listed on the citation WASN'T EVEN ON DUTY THAT DAY!(Digging through the public records at city hall can be interesting) I have been told that that officer is eligible for the overtime pay as well. This has got to be one of the biggest scam at taxpayers expense there ever was.

It also needs to be stopped. I am doing my best but if anyone can offer help I will be truly grateful. I was told by the Internal Affairs Division at HPD that it is "only a traffic ticket", they're not going to bother looking into it. Boy, they really protect their own. This is PERJURY and FALSIFYING A GOVERNMENT DOCUMENT. Meanwhile, the officer laughs all the way to the bank.

About the Writer

Geddy is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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9 comments on Our Justice System at Work-or how to make $162,000 with lies

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By Steven Lane on June 30, 2007 at 12:44 am
Here, in Los Angeles, if a cop or any person stepped out into a 5 lanes highway he would be hit by about 100 cars before anyone figured it out. Great article, if I ever get a ticket in Texas, I'll ask for your advice.
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By Geddy on June 30, 2007 at 12:48 am
Thanks Steven, though I'm not sure my advice would be any good...I was found guilty remember :(
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By Carla on July 01, 2007 at 05:49 pm
Great article! Just goes to prove that if given monitary incentive "Houston's Finest" really CAN work!
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By 77banditgal on July 03, 2007 at 01:03 am
OUCH! I have the pleasure of having a patrol officer as an acquaintance and over fajitas I had to ask... "Is there really a ticket quota" as I already knew the answer he replied with "No, but if a patrol officer brings in more traffic tickets than the traffic officer it doesn't look so hot so all they need is probable cause aka no signal to change lanes blah blah blah" so there you have it folks thats right up there with my seeing a cop parked sneakily down a street as I completely came to a stop counted 1 one thousand 2 one thousand 3 one thousand and voila pretty red lights to follow and "mrs. do you know why I stoped you?" when I replied with No he said "you did a California stop" I had to ask just what that was and got a nasty comment thrown my way for allegedly bieng a smart ass...hmmm my patrol officer acquaintance said He was just bieng a D&#$...& I had to pay the ticket just like you...I'll help what can I do?? ;-)
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By Chris Jones on July 17, 2007 at 04:33 pm
Great Article, you had me laughing out loud a few times. Anyone who thinks our justice system is fair is living in the land of Oz. Most cops are only cops because they're on a permanent power trip. I applaud your attempt at sticking it to "The Man" even if the best you can hope for is to irritate the courts. The best policy is to avoid contact with the Police for any reason whenever possible. All that "To Protect and To Serve" stuff makes for a good bumper sticker but that's about it.
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By NOTaSHEEP on January 14, 2008 at 07:32 pm

Sad but most certainly believable. I too have had very similar experiences. I have witnesed police lying at several hearings (not only my ticket). As the US criminal justice system has placed itself above the law, my respect for it is beneath my feet. A little homework will also show that most officers failed miserably at other jobs. A policeman was the last resort. Having said that, there are a few honest, good officers. I personally only know one. I can name many that lie, and have watched TWICE while the police pulled over a drunk officer and gave them a ride home. One was a call to dispatch from the bartender! No ticket, no trouble, just protecting their own.

Brave article. Courageous battle. Futile effort.

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By Credo on February 08, 2008 at 08:27 am

Excellent article, in fact I enjoy such edification, this is the kind of declaration that gives some practical information, it explores the nature of classified societal problems.

Perhaps the solution can be found in arming yourself with a tape recorder and a front and rear car camera. However you must stop committing yourself legally by not testifying to the police officer during a traffic stop, don't argue with him and don't give any answers to any questions, just simply decline to answer respectfully. Unfortunately the majority of the time the traffic officer is trying to get you to say something that he can use against you latter in a court of law. On the other hand try to get as much information as possible, such as his badge number, the radar id number, record any statements made, and then present your information and obtain all their evidence prior to trial. Learn from your mistakes by beating them at their own game.

In court try cross examination of the officer as to the certification of the radar equipment, its last service date or calibration certification, you know; who did the actual calibration? Does he (the officer have these papers in court) have a certificate of service and so on? He must prove that the radar equipment is and was in perfect working order during his traffic stop. Also it is impossible for him to prove if there were outside forces that may have interfered with the radar reading during his traffic stop, ex a ham radio, an airplane radio, and so on.

 If one of these elements is inconsistent then he will lose the case. This evidence along with your tapes and video will be enough to overturn such convictions.

The question is does the officer or the court even have the jurisdiction to try the case in the first place?

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By Dinda on August 29, 2008 at 03:39 pm

Great article! It appears there are many in the criminal justice system who are as dishonest as Officer M.L. Davis, who has way too much time on his hands. After picking my son up from school two days ago (during rush hour), I too was pulled over by Officer Davis, at the corner of Shepherd and 34th. He leaped out in front of me and I had to come to an abrupt stop. He had two other cops working with him. It all happened so fast that I can't remember if he was holding the radar or one of the other cops was. He and his two other buddies pulled over approximately six more people right after me, apparently trying to meet a ticket quota. Yes, I was speeding, going 39  in a 35, but he said he clocked me at 47. Since this was my first speeding ticket in thirty years, I was not timid about asking to see the readout on his radar gun and he said "Texas law prevents me from showing it". I haven't been able to verify this, but did find information about radar gun calibration from the internet.  You can bet I will do plenty of research before meeting up with Mr. D. in court. Even though there is a lot of negative information about this cop, and I may lose out, I am using an attorney anyway to try to fight it. I have a problem with those who abuse their authority over and over. The law of averages catches up with people who leap in front of oncoming traffic. In a city that has a shortage of cops, their overtime could be better spent patrolling the neighborhoods such as this area which has it's share of crime. I hope you don't meet up with this a-----e again.  If I find out any decent info., I'll pass it along.     

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By longhorn on August 17, 2014 at 02:31 pm

I too have experience with the piece of poo-poo known as M. Lieyourassoff Davis. He's one sorry piece of crap, and a very good reason why the HPD have the reputation they do.

Our court system is complicit, with revenue trumping justice.

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