Update: Two cops "busted" doing 147+





#1
Here's the article:

Ohio trooper pleads not guilty to I-70 speeding | newarkadvocate.com | The Newark Advocate



July 9, 2009


Ohio trooper pleads not guilty to I-70 speeding

BY RUSS ZIMMER
Advocate Reporter

NEWARK -- An Ohio Highway Patrol trooper pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning to a 147-mph speeding ticket after he learned the judge intended to suspend his driver's license.

Jason E. Highsmith, 35, was clocked at well in excess of double the 65 mph posted speed limit on the Licking Township portion of Interstate 70 on June 28.

He was riding with a Gahanna Police Department officer whose speed was timed at 149 mph. Christopher Thomas, 33, will appear in court next week. Both men were riding 2008 Kawasaki motorcycles.

During Highsmith's arraignment Wednesday morning in Licking County Municipal Court, Highsmith appeared surprised when Judge David Branstool indicated he would be applying a "discretionary license suspension" in addition to the expected fine.

Highsmith, who has no previous traffic violations in the past 12 months in Licking or Franklin counties, told the judge he was planning on resolving the minor misdemeanor Wednesday but changed his mind when Branstool informed him his license would be revoked if he pleaded guilty.

"There is a discretionary license suspension if the operation is under reckless circumstances," Branstool said, adding the suspension could be six months to three years.

Ohio law states anyone convicted of any motor vehicle operating offense "relating to reckless operation" can be subject to the same license suspensions that would be applied to someone ticketed for reckless operation.

Highsmith, who was speaking at a near whisper to Branstool, said he was concerned a license suspension would affect his job. Highsmith was reassigned Wednesday afternoon from the Motorcycle Unit to the Delaware Post, where he will be working traffic enforcement out of a cruiser.

"I was 100 percent wrong. I made a mistake," Highsmith said, adding he did not want or expect leniency.

Branstool said the case would be set for trial. Highsmith declined to speak with media after the hearing concluded.

WHAT THE LAW SAYS

A review of the annotated Ohio Revised Code shows a 1968 appellate case established that a speeding violation can be used as the basis for a reckless operation suspension in the absence of a reckless operation charge. That ruling overturned an earlier decision, the ORC states.

Since that interpretation became law, two other cases were cited in Ohio's legal framework: One that supported the earlier opinion and another that narrowed the parameters.

In 2004, the Ninth District Court of Appeals upheld a suspension in a case where a ticket was issued for speeding violation of 81 mph in a 55 mph zone. In that instance, the offending driver was actively passing vehicles, the case summary shows.

Eleven years earlier, another appellate court decision chastised the trial court, saying it abused its discretion in finding a ticket for 70 mph in a 55 mph zone -- issued during the daytime when there was light traffic -- as qualifying as "relating to reckless operation."

The citations for Highsmith and Thomas both state the road conditions were dry, the visibility and weather were clear and the traffic was light.

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#4
"I was 100 percent wrong. I made a mistake," Highsmith said, adding he did not want or expect leniency.

Eleven years earlier, another appellate court decision chastised the trial court, saying it abused its discretion in finding a ticket for 70 mph in a 55 mph zone -- issued during the daytime when there was light traffic -- as qualifying as "relating to reckless operation."

The citations for Highsmith and Thomas both state the road conditions were dry, the visibility and weather were clear and the traffic was light.

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I commend the officer for making a statement that he didn't want or expect leniency, but I question the truth of that statement since he changed his plea when he realized the gravity of the penalty in an effort to avoid that penalty. On the other hand, most of us would have done the same in the context of the legal system.

Now that it's in court it appears that the officer is being treated as any other citizen based on the Ohio law information presented in the article. At this point I would hope that the officer has learned his lesson and wish him the best of luck with his case and his career. If he makes it through this and somehow keeps his job, he may turn out be a better officer.
 
#5
Another update. This one is VERY ironic:

Trooper Highsmith reassigned to traffic enforcement | newarkadvocate.com | The Newark Advocate



July 9, 2009


Trooper Highsmith reassigned to traffic enforcement

BY RUSS ZIMMER
Advocate Reporter

COLUMBUS -- In an ironic twist, an Ohio Highway Patrol trooper who was ticketed for going 82 mph over the speed limit has been reassigned to traffic enforcement.

Patrol Lt. Shawn Davis said Trooper Jason Highsmith, who was clocked at 147 mph while riding a motorcycle June 28 on Interstate 70 in Licking Township, is no longer a member of the patrol's Motorcycle Unit.

He has been reassigned to the Delaware Post, where he will be conducting traffic enforcement in a cruiser, Davis said.

Davis said "traffic enforcement" includes ticketing for speeding violations.

The patrol changed its wait-and-see position on the citation after Highsmith pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Wednesday morning in Licking County Municipal Court.

Davis said because the case was not resolved quickly, the patrol decided to take internal action.

Highsmith's long-term future with the patrol remains largely dependent on the outcome of his court case.

Davis said it would be "too speculative" to make any statement on Highsmith's job prospects with the patrol if his license is suspended, as Judge David Branstool said he was inclined to do.

"If a state trooper loses all driving privileges, that is definitely problematic," Davis said.

He later added in reference to a work allowance, "If there was no restrictions put on by the judge that would prohibit him from conducting his job as a state trooper, then he could be allowed to continue to work the road."

That decision ultimately would be up to the commanding officers at the patrol's Columbus district, Davis said.

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#6
According to this legal website, Lawriter - ORC - 4511.20 Operation in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property., it looks like no matter how you slice it, even if reckless driving is applied, it's still only a misdemeanor to speed in OH, regardless of by how much the limit is exceeded. Very different from my neck o' the woods. Here, if convicted, you'd be a felon. Ohioans, count your lucky stars.

4511.20 Operation in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.
(A) No person shall operate a vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar on any street or highway in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.

(B) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one predicate motor vehicle or traffic offense, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of two or more predicate motor vehicle or traffic offenses, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.

Effective Date: 01-01-2004
 

NickSully

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#7
So the officer can't plea down the ticket? I know here you can get most speeding tickets reduced to something like a parking ticket. Is the judge trying to make an example of him? If that is the case that doesn't seem right to me. ???
 
#8
plea down a 145+mph ticket??? The judge is doing his job, and not showing leniency to a cop as he very well shouldn't. pleaing a ticket down is usually like if you were 12 over they might knock 3 mph off so it was under 10 over and would reduce fine/points... and you can't change a speeding ticket (moving violation) into a parking ticket.
 
#9
you can't change a speeding ticket (moving violation) into a parking ticket.
yes they can


cop needs to lose his job

he needs to realize that when he accepted his job he chose to live a career rather than become employed by a job.

Police should be held to higher standards and penalties than the average person.
 

BlueHaya

I'm outta here!!!!
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#10
although he did not plead guilty...he could be found guilty.
Would the same penalties apply then or just by pleading guilty????
 
#11
yes they can


cop needs to lose his job

he needs to realize that when he accepted his job he chose to live a career rather than become employed by a job.

Police should be held to higher standards and penalties than the average person.
Disagree...he should be put on unpaid leave though and have to teach bike safety classes for awhile...

Take it to the track the the rest of us responsible adults..
 

head east busa

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#14
Funny how he made a statement saying he did it but now he's pleading not guilty due to the potential impact it could have. How was it put to me by a chp officer it's not illegal if you don't get caught well he got caught. Now pay the piper not sure that getting a violation that excessive is subject to much of a cut but they could always hit him for speed in excess of 100 or disturbing the peace (if they want to give real leniency that is) I don't think that throwing the the book and the building at them is necc. the right thing to do but I do feel that they should be subject to whatever courtesy would be extended to the average person. This is not a situation where an example should be made and at the same time it is reasonable that this person is not allowed to write speeding tickets anymore. I don't think putting him in a car to write tickets is the correct dept. response in fact it's kinda a slap in the face I don't think I would take it to well if this guy tried to give me a ticket. He realistically should be assigned to a desk that would be the correct decision. no lic no problem park your @ss here and file stuff.
 

head east busa

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#15
Worst part is that not all cops are like this like I have said various times before some good experiences some bad. unfortunately more bad than good
 
#16
he is pleading not guilty....because it is his only option, taking the plea would effect his job. the judge has stated he would give him the max penalty of wreckless driving....

in a trial he can present evidence of previous court cases that show the courts do not charge a wreckless driving based on speed alone.

this is his right as a citizen....

funny, after all this there is no report that he is a bad LEO. only that he got caught speeding.

Koon, Powell, Briceno and Wind......never got caught speeding.
 

UncleSteve

Gear good - roadrash bad
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#17
DUI is reduced to reckless all the time. Plea bargaining is nothing new.
These officers are going to pay many times over for this. At least the one officer manned up and did not blame the officer writing the ticket. And that is another story.
In the police community, writing a fellow officer a ticket starts a small war that can get out of control.
I just hope we continue to have quality young people wanting to become police officers.
Recruiting is down all over the country.
 

Busa1166

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#18
DUI is reduced to reckless all the time. Plea bargaining is nothing new.
These officers are going to pay many times over for this. At least the one officer manned up and did not blame the officer writing the ticket. And that is another story.
In the police community, writing a fellow officer a ticket starts a small war that can get out of control.
I just hope we continue to have quality young people wanting to become police officers.
Recruiting is down all over the country.
Its a rough job i know for a fact I couldn't do it stop someone for a busted tail light an he pulls an AK-47 cause he got some other **** going on that you don't even have a clue about. If I was a cop I would do a felony stop every time an keep my finger on the trigger, pretty sure i wouldn't be a cop for long like that:laugh: Then watching the thugs you actually do get locked get released cause their isn't room, maybe the prison system need s to take a page out of the humane society regulation book, can't keep em, can't feed em, put em down:rofl::rofl: There I go again pissing people off I am going back to my :corner:
 

b4thenite

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#19
Its a rough job i know for a fact I couldn't do it stop someone for a busted tail light an he pulls an AK-47 cause he got some other **** going on that you don't even have a clue about. If I was a cop I would do a felony stop every time an keep my finger on the trigger, pretty sure i wouldn't be a cop for long like that:laugh: Then watching the thugs you actually do get locked get released cause their isn't room, maybe the prison system need s to take a page out of the humane society regulation book, can't keep em, can't feed em, put em down:rofl::rofl: There I go again pissing people off I am going back to my :corner:
Glad you are just a nobody. =)
Posted via Mobile Device
 
#20
i believe these guys should have to pay the piper, but i think most of us would take a chance now and then, an open road no one around...... go busa go.....
 

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