Written by Gregory Monte.
No matter how much experience a police officer has gained by observing speeding cars, his opinion in court about how fast you were going is not enough to prove the charge against you.
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in Com. v. Martorano, 563 A. 2d 1229 – Pa: Supreme Court 1989 said the following:
“We are faced with deciding the issue, previously not addressed in appellate courts of this Commonwealth, of whether a police officer’s opinion testimony is sufficient grounds upon which to base a speeding violation …”
The lower court decided that opinion testimony was OK:
“Citing Officer Taylor’s experience, including the fact that he had issued approximately fifteen to twenty thousand speeding citations … the court maintained “that the opinion testimony of Officer Taylor is, itself, sufficient to uphold the speeding conviction of Mr. Martorano.”
The higher court disagreed.
Although it was not a unanimous decision (three justices dissented), the Supreme Court came down firmly on this issue:
“As a consequence, we also hold that a police officer’s uncorroborated testimony as to speed is insufficient to support a conviction for violating Section 3362 [the statute about maximum speed limits]”
Chalk one up for the citizens of our Commonwealth.