People ex rel. Katz v. Jones

CourtNew York Magistrate Court
Citation10 Misc.2d 1067,171 N.Y.S.2d 325
Decision Date26 February 1958
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of New York ex rel. Jack KATZ, Patrolman, P.D. v. Allan R. JONES, Defendant. City Magistrate's Court of City of New York, Traffic Court, Borough of Queens, North Queens District

Page 325

171 N.Y.S.2d 325
10 Misc.2d 1067
The PEOPLE of the State of New York ex rel. Jack KATZ, Patrolman, P.D.
v.
Allan R. JONES, Defendant.
City Magistrate's Court of City of New York, Traffic Court,
Borough of Queens, North Queens District.
Feb. 26, 1958.

Page 326

[10 Misc.2d 1068] Rose L. Weisler, New York City, for the people.

Milton Jacobowitz, Far Rockaway, for defendant.

STEPHEN S. SCOPAS, City Magistrate.

This case involves a charge against one Allan R. Jones, of operating a motor vehicle on the 6th day of December, 1957 at about 7 P.M. in excess of the speed allowed by law, to wit, 40 miles per hour in violation of Article 4, Section 60 of the Traffic Regulations.

The summonsing officer, Patrolman Jack Katz, testified that while operating radio patrol car number 1231, defendant was observed traveling north on the Van Wyck Expressway at what appeared to him to be an excessive rate of speed; that he paced the defendant at an equal distance from his in the vicinity of Liberty Avenue for a distance of three-tenths of a mile; and that his speedometer at no time read less than 55 miles per hour. The defendant testified that he was operating a 1957 Triumph sports car, purchased by him as a demonstrator car in June of 1957. He maintained that his speedometer never registered in excess of 40 miles per hour. He conceded, however, that his speedometer was never tested as to accuracy since the purchase of his vehicle.

These diametrically opposed contentions placed the guilt or innocence of the defendant squarely upon proof of accuracy of the speedometer in vehicle number 1231 operated by Patrolman Katz on the day in question.

Page 327

The People have the burden of proving the charge of a traffic offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Heretofore, it has been the practice of the Police Department, as part of the People's case, to produce, in addition to the summonsing officer who witnessed the alleged violation, a second witness who either tested or witnessed the testing of the speedometer of the summonsing officer's vehicle prior to, and subsequent to, the date of the alleged violation. This has resulted in demobilizing from the more vital duties of patrol a number of officers for the purpose of appearing in court and acting as witnesses. Quite often the public has been inconvenienced because of a conflict in the scheduled appearances of these officers throughout the various boroughs of our city.

The customary testimony of the speedometer witness is to the effect that the police car is backed on a set of rollers; that the vehicle is started and run at various speeds from 10 to 70 miles an hour to simulate road driving; that the speedometer on the vehicle is tested against the master speedometer, which is directly in front and slightly to the left of the vehicle in [10 Misc.2d 1069] question. If there is no variance of a mile and one-half either way under 50 miles per hour, or two and one-half miles either way over 50 miles per hour, then the speedometer of the vehicle is considered accurate. A card is signed by the tester and two patrolmen who witness the test, and it is filed at the Command for use in speed trials. There are other provisions for the repair of speedometers in the event their testing fails to come within the aforesaid tolerance, but we are not concerned with those records at this time.

In lieu of the appearance of a second witness at this trial to testify to the routine testing of the summonsing officer's vehicle, the People offered in evidence, pursuant to Section 374-a of the Civil Practice Act, the card kept at the Command reflecting the pertinent results of such tests made of the speedometer on police vehicle number 1231. Over the objections and exception taken by defense counsel, this card was deemed accepted in evidence by the Court as People's Exhibit 1.

The summonsing officer testified that this card was kept in the ordinary course of business pursuant to the Rules and Procedures promulgated by the Police Commissioner. He testified further that the vehicle of the summonsing officer was tested on December 4, 1957 (prior to the alleged violation) by Patrolman McDonald and witnessed by Patrolmen Weinberg and Mupo and found to be accurate on that date as well as on December 18, 1957 (subsequent to the alleged violation) when the next test was made and witnessed by the same patrolmen. None of the aforesaid patrolmen were in court to testify, and their failure to appear formed the basis of defense counsel's objection who maintained that this deprived defendant of his right to confrontation and cross-examination.

Page 328

The Court now feels that it should review the pertinent authorities bearing on the propriety of its action in admitting into evidence the police records pursuant to Section 374-a of the Civil Practice Act.

Section 982-8.0 of the Administrative Code, entitled 'Judicial Notice' provides, in part, as follows:

'All courts shall take judicial notice of all laws contained in this code, the charter, local laws, ordinances, the sanitary code, resolutions, and of all rules and regulations adopted pursuant to law.'

Section 885 of the City Charter reads, in part, as follows:

'Each head of an agency may, except as otherwise provided by law, make rules and regulations for the conduct of his office or department and to carry out its powers and duties.'

[10 Misc.2d 1070] Richardson on Evidence, 8th Edition, Section 25, pages 16 and 17, states:

'By virtue of the Administrative Code of the City of New York, Section 982-8.0, the Court however is required to take judicial notice of all rules and regulations of New York City administrative boards and agencies.'

This Court, quite mindful of its origin as a police court, and in conformity with the authorities heretofore cited, took judicial notice of the following Rules and Procedures promulgated by the Police Commissioner:

'Chapter 24, Section 25.0, entitled Speedometer Tests. Speedometers of vehicles assigned to motorcycle precinct number one and all radio motor patrol and other cars assigned to enforce speed regulations shall be tested each 15-day period on the speedometer testing machine located at motorcycle precinct number one, except that the speedometers of apprehending vehicles assigned to speed enforcement radar units shall be tested once each week. Speedometers of motorcycles assigned to motorcycle precinct number two and Grand Central Parkway precinct shall be tested each 15-day period by comparison with the master speedometer located at their respective commands. All speedometer tests shall be conducted in the presence of the operator of the vehicle and only by members of the force competent to perform such tests.'

'Section 25.1. If the speedometer is found to be accurate the date and signature of the member of the force witnessing the test will be written immediately following the test in the appropriate spaces on U.F. 62-a (record of the speedometer test) which contain the Police Department identification number of the vehicle. The U.F. 62-a will be filed in the command to which the vehicle is assigned.'

Page 329

'Section 25.2. When the test shows that the speedometer is inaccurate, the central repair shop shall be notified and the vehicle delivered as directed. When the speedometer is repaired, the operator of the vehicle will comply with 25.1.'

'Section 25.3. The master speedometer assigned to each motorcycle precinct except motorcycle precinct number one shall be delivered to...

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5 practice notes
  • Nelson R., Matter of
    • United States
    • New York City Court
    • October 31, 1975
    ...report, approved in 1970 in Foster (discussed above), apparently had been upheld only once before, in 1958 (see People v. Jones, 10 Misc.2d 1067, 171 N.Y.S.,2d 325, Mag.Ct., N.Y.C. cited in Foster, 27 N.Y.2d at p. 52, 313 N.Y.S.2d at p. 391, 261 N.E.2d at p. 388). There, as here, the lower ......
  • People v. Farrell
    • United States
    • New York Justice Court
    • December 8, 1987
    ...vital duties ..." Matter of Nelson R., 83 Misc.2d 1081, 1086, 374 N.Y.S.2d 982 (Family Ct. Bronx County, 1975); People v. Jones, 10 Misc.2d 1067, 171 N.Y.S.2d 325 (Mag.Ct.NYC, 1958). In this case, the appearance of Lt. Perilli to offer the original Reynolds Certificate would add nothin......
  • State v. Lee, No. 89-530
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of New Hampshire
    • July 3, 1991
    ...404 U.S. 994, 92 S.Ct. 531, 30 L.Ed.2d 546 (1971); United States v. Lopez, 328 F.Supp. 1077, 1086 (E.D.N.Y.1971); People v. Jones, 10 Misc.2d 1067, 171 N.Y.S.2d 325 (N.Y. City Magis. Ct.1958). In addition, in this case the fact that the generated graphs matched the many elements of the stan......
  • People v. Crant
    • United States
    • New York City Court
    • March 30, 1964
    ...use. The recent trend, in [42 Misc.2d 354] that direction, pursued in the name of administrative convenience (see People v. Jones, 10 Misc.2d 1067, 171 N.Y.S.2d 325; Speeding and Due Process, 28 Ford.Law Rev. 115) cannot easily be reconciled with the constitutional Whether the calibration c......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Nelson R., Matter of
    • United States
    • New York City Court
    • October 31, 1975
    ...report, approved in 1970 in Foster (discussed above), apparently had been upheld only once before, in 1958 (see People v. Jones, 10 Misc.2d 1067, 171 N.Y.S.,2d 325, Mag.Ct., N.Y.C. cited in Foster, 27 N.Y.2d at p. 52, 313 N.Y.S.2d at p. 391, 261 N.E.2d at p. 388). There, as here, the lower ......
  • People v. Farrell
    • United States
    • New York Justice Court
    • December 8, 1987
    ...vital duties ..." Matter of Nelson R., 83 Misc.2d 1081, 1086, 374 N.Y.S.2d 982 (Family Ct. Bronx County, 1975); People v. Jones, 10 Misc.2d 1067, 171 N.Y.S.2d 325 (Mag.Ct.NYC, 1958). In this case, the appearance of Lt. Perilli to offer the original Reynolds Certificate would add nothin......
  • State v. Lee, No. 89-530
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of New Hampshire
    • July 3, 1991
    ...404 U.S. 994, 92 S.Ct. 531, 30 L.Ed.2d 546 (1971); United States v. Lopez, 328 F.Supp. 1077, 1086 (E.D.N.Y.1971); People v. Jones, 10 Misc.2d 1067, 171 N.Y.S.2d 325 (N.Y. City Magis. Ct.1958). In addition, in this case the fact that the generated graphs matched the many elements of the stan......
  • People v. Crant
    • United States
    • New York City Court
    • March 30, 1964
    ...use. The recent trend, in [42 Misc.2d 354] that direction, pursued in the name of administrative convenience (see People v. Jones, 10 Misc.2d 1067, 171 N.Y.S.2d 325; Speeding and Due Process, 28 Ford.Law Rev. 115) cannot easily be reconciled with the constitutional Whether the calibration c......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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