In my last post back at the end of April I examined how to beat a ticket for meeting or overtaking a school bus. At that time my daughter had received one of these tickets (unfairly, in my estimation) so I laid out my strategy for how to win her case. Although I think I came up with a good strategy, my conclusion was for her to go ahead and hire an attorney to see what he determined was the best approach.
Unfortunately, she couldn’t find one before the initial court date, so she requested (and received) a continuation of the trial until June 17. She eventually did find an attorney and he requested another continuation until July 21.
Not wanting to sit by idly, I decided to go ahead and file several Open Public Records Requests to get information relevant to the case from the township – Upper Dublin, PA. In addition, I submitted similar requests to PENNDOT. As I explained in an earlier blog post, I feel that this is often a better way to get information about a case. The other way to get information is discovery.
Here is what I wrote in that blog post regarding discovery:
At first blush, discovery would seem to be the best way to go. Discovery is where you ask the prosecutor to provide copies of the evidence that he will use against you in court. Why not go directly to the source and force him to send you everything that you need?
I would argue that this is not the best approach for two reasons:
1) Although the prosecutor is required to provide this information, he may not send it to you ahead of the trial. You may not see the evidence until right before you have to argue your case. You can object about this, but the judge may just say that he will let you review it for a couple of minutes and then start the case regardless.
2) The prosecutor will not have in his possession some of the information you will need to win your case because he doesn’t need it to prove your guilt. I am specifically referring to the documents related to proper authorization and placement of the speed limit signs. In many states these signs are presumed to be legitimate unless you prove otherwise.
I will update again when I get more information.