In Ohio, where I live part-time, the state’s Supreme Court has just upheld a traffic court conviction for speeding based solely on the cop’s eyeball guess of the driver’s speed, now institutionalizing a change in law. Radar guns are no longer needed. Officers are now encouraged to issue speeding tickets based only on their opinion of how fast the car is moving. If it looks like you’re going too fast, by as little as one MPH, that’s good enough. You are guilty.
It’s easy to discredit this. Ask a cop to guess the speed of a passing red Corvette, dull gray mini-van, and UPS delivery van that are, in reality all carefully going precisely the same speed, what would you like to bet he pegs the red sports car as going faster than the mini-van or UPS truck? Of course, if he happens to be a racist, he might just think a car driven by a black guy is going faster than a car driven by a white guy.
In Arizona, where I lived for quite a while and wouldn’t endanger my life by living now, its state legislature has passed a law that validates existent federal law, that makes it illegal to be there illegally as an illegal immigrant (ie. criminal), but still only allows police officers to inquire about citizenship status in situations in which the person has already been stopped or engaged for some other reason. Even then, the officer must have “reasonable suspicion” the person he stopped for some other reason may also be here illegally. This same law has specific prohibition of racial or ethnic profiling.
About this law, President Obama has set himself afire, vilified the very fed up legal citizens of Arizona as well as their elected officials, threatened to sic his Justice Department on the governor, all based on his insistence that police officers in Arizona cannot be trusted to administer this law correctly. They will be tempted, he says, to use it as means of unfairly discriminating and harassing certain citizens and non-citizens.
So far, the president is mute about the Ohio law.
The Arizona law he is so offended by threatens to unjustly treat only a small percentage of the state’s population. The Ohio law he has not mentioned, let alone threatened to rush in and overturn, imperils all citizens – plus offers comparable opportunity for mis-use and abuse as he fears Arizona’s does.
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