Many speeding tickets issued in Greenburgh, New York are issued on I 287. For the past several years there has been construction along parts of I 287 including that portion of I 287 that runs through Greenburgh which has created a “speed trap” where the speed drops from 55 mph to 45 mph. As with most speeding tickets, the officer alleges that he first made a visual estimate of the vehicle’s speed and then confirmed his visual estimate with a radar or laser unit.
In most cases the officer is in a stationary patrol car somewhere on the side of the road. In People v. Magri (1958) the New York Court of Appeals recognized the general reliability of radar speed detection thus making no longer necessary for the prosecution to produce an expert at speeding ticket trials involving radar speed detection.
The Magri decision concerned stationary radar. In other words, the radar unit was in a parked police car. The Magri decision did not address the general reliability of moving radar – radar readings taken while the police car is moving. However, in People v. Knight, 72 N.Y.2d 481 (1988), the New York Court of Appeals found that because the underlying scientific principles of moving and stationary radar are the same, moving radar evidence should also be admissible without the need for expert testimony to explain the nature, function or scientific principles underlying radar.
Therefore, whether the case involves stationary or moving radar, the prosecution will not need to produce an expert at trial. However, the prosecution will need to prove that the particular unit was in proper working order and that the officer was properly trained and properly used the unit when he measured the vehicle’s speed.