People v. Persons

CourtNew York Court of Special Sessions
Citation303 N.Y.S.2d 728,60 Misc.2d 803
Decision Date03 September 1969
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of New York, Plaintiff, v. Alan R. PERSONS, Defendant.

Page 728

303 N.Y.S.2d 728
60 Misc.2d 803
The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Plaintiff,
v.
Alan R. PERSONS, Defendant.
Court of Special Sessions, Town of Pittsford, Monroe County.
Sept. 3, 1969.

Page 729

John C. Little, Jr., Dist. Atty., Monroe County, James E. Morris, Rochester, of counsel, for plaintiff.

Alan R. Persons, Rochester, for defendant.

DECISION

THOMAS E. GOLDMAN, Town Justice.

The defendant is charged with speeding and the sole evidence produced by the People concerning his speed was that derived from the use of a new device known as VASCAR (visual average speed computer recorder). This instrument is supposed to measure the distance a vehicle travels and the time which it takes the vehicle to cover that distance. By using the mathematical formula of speed equals distance divided by time, the unit computes the average speed of a vehicle over the distance measured and visually displays that speed to the operator.

VASCAR's accuracy and reliability has not yet been challenged and this is the first test case in the State of New York dealing with this device. Since the instrument is new, expert testimony as to the scientific

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principle, construction, operation, accuracy and reliability of the device must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, City of Buffalo v. Beck, 205 Misc. 757, 130 N.Y.S.2d 354 (Sup.Ct., Erie County, 1954); People of City of Rochester v. Torpey, 204 Misc. 1023, 128 N.Y.S.2d 864 (Monroe County Court, 1953); People v. Martiano, 52 Misc.2d 64, 275 N.Y.S.2d 215 (Westchester County Court, 1966).

The proof submitted by the People consisted of testimony of duly qualified experts who were in charge of the development, manufacture and marketing of this device. This proof established the following facts. The VASCAR unit is composed of four modules: an odometer module which measures distance, a switch module which is used by the operator to activate the time and distance measuring devices, a display module on which the resulting speed is displayed and lastly, a computer module which records the distance, measures time and divides the time into the distance.

The odometer module is connected to the speedometer cable of the vehicle in which the unit is installed. When the distance switch is activated the revolutions of the cable are transformed into impulses which are counted by the computer. In this manner[60 Misc.2d 804] the computer measures the distance traveled by the vehicle in which it is installed. The accuracy of the speedometer is immaterial. The important factor here is that the cable will be consistent in the number or revolutions per mile.

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4 practice notes
  • State v. Finkle
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • May 6, 1974
    ...shown Vascar to be a relatively simple and undoubtedly accurate mechanism for determining vehicular speed.' Ibid. In People v. Persons, 60 Misc.2d 803, 303 N.Y.S.2d 728 (Ct.Sp.Sess.1969), there was a speeding conviction based on a VASCAR reading supported by expert proof as to its reliabili......
  • City of St. Louis v. Martin, No. 37938
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • March 8, 1977
    ...of VASCAR has been challenged in our courts and has been challenged in only a few courts of other jurisdictions. In People v. Persons, 60 Misc.2d 803, 303 N.Y.S.2d 728 (1969), the court found the key to demonstrating VASCAR accuracy was proof of proper testing. There VASCAR was tested by a ......
  • Com. v. Smolow
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • June 8, 1987
    ...speedometer is irrelevant in the operation of the VASCAR unit. See Commonwealth v. Koenig, 32 D & C 3d 545 (1984); People v. Persons, 60 Misc.2d 803, 303 N.Y.S.2d 728...
  • State v. Schmiede
    • United States
    • New Jersey County Court
    • March 29, 1972
    ...and only one reported case elsewhere determining the scientific validity of the Vascar device. In People of State of New York v. Persons, 60 Misc.2d 803, 303 N.Y.S.2d 728 (Court of Special Sessions, 1969), decided by a County Court Judge of that State, the Court after hearing the scientific......
4 cases
  • State v. Finkle
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • May 6, 1974
    ...shown Vascar to be a relatively simple and undoubtedly accurate mechanism for determining vehicular speed.' Ibid. In People v. Persons, 60 Misc.2d 803, 303 N.Y.S.2d 728 (Ct.Sp.Sess.1969), there was a speeding conviction based on a VASCAR reading supported by expert proof as to its reliabili......
  • City of St. Louis v. Martin, No. 37938
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • March 8, 1977
    ...of VASCAR has been challenged in our courts and has been challenged in only a few courts of other jurisdictions. In People v. Persons, 60 Misc.2d 803, 303 N.Y.S.2d 728 (1969), the court found the key to demonstrating VASCAR accuracy was proof of proper testing. There VASCAR was tested by a ......
  • Com. v. Smolow
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • June 8, 1987
    ...speedometer is irrelevant in the operation of the VASCAR unit. See Commonwealth v. Koenig, 32 D & C 3d 545 (1984); People v. Persons, 60 Misc.2d 803, 303 N.Y.S.2d 728...
  • State v. Schmiede
    • United States
    • New Jersey County Court
    • March 29, 1972
    ...and only one reported case elsewhere determining the scientific validity of the Vascar device. In People of State of New York v. Persons, 60 Misc.2d 803, 303 N.Y.S.2d 728 (Court of Special Sessions, 1969), decided by a County Court Judge of that State, the Court after hearing the scientific......

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