People v. Whitney

CourtNew York Court of Special Sessions
Writing for the CourtHENRY B. WRIGHT
Citation53 Misc.2d 977,280 N.Y.S.2d 729
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of New York, Plaintiff, v. Richard K. WHITNEY, Defendant.
Decision Date30 March 1967

Page 729

280 N.Y.S.2d 729
53 Misc.2d 977
The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Plaintiff,
v.
Richard K. WHITNEY, Defendant.
Court of Special Sessions of Town of Pavilion, Genessee County.
March 30, 1967.

Trooper J. R. Hofmann, for the People.

James E. Cooney, Caledonia, for defendant.

FACTS

HENRY B. WRIGHT, Justice of Peace.

Trial was had for violation of Sec. 1180(b) of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York, on the evening of March 17th, 1967. The

Page 730

People's case was represented by Trooper Hofmann, who was the arresting officer. The sole proof offered by the People was the expert testimony of the arresting officer, properly qualified, that in his opinion the defendant was proceeding on N Y S Route 19, in the Town of Pavilion, at a rate of 75 miles per hour in a 50 M P H area. An attempt by the arresting officer to have a calibration certificate admitted into evidence was denied because no proper foundation was offered. The officer did not testify as to any speedometer reading. Defendant moved for dismissal on the grounds that proof was insufficient, and did not establish defendant's guilt, beyond a reasonable doubt. Decision was reserved.
DECISION

Hon. Henry B. Wright, Presiding: The question before the Court is whether the opinion evidence of the arresting officer as to speed, where he properly qualified himself, is alone sufficient to sustain conviction, with no other or further corroborative evidence?

[53 Misc.2d 978] One of the leading Court of Appeals cases is People v. Heyser, 1957, 2 N.Y.2d 390, 161 N.Y.S.2d 36, 141 N.E.2d 553. This is the case that established that the reading of an untested speedometer when accompanied by the opinion evidence of an officer properly qualified as an expert, was sufficient. The exact words of Judge Froessel are (p. 394, 161 N.Y.S.2d p. 38, 141 N.E.2d p. 555): 'On the record presently before us, considering particularly that the patrolman had adequate opportunity for observation and that, out of a long, qualified and tested experience, he estimated that defendant was proceeding at 20 m.p.h. over the speed limit, Or half again as fast as he was permitted to by law * * * we are of the opinion that this evidence together with that of the speedometer is sufficient to sustain this conviction.'

The case of People v. Magri, 1958, 3 N.Y.2d 562, 170 N.Y.S.2d 335, 147 N.E.2d 728, was the highest Court's decision that the use of radar had become sufficiently established so that it...

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2 practice notes
  • Helfond v. Helfond
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • May 17, 1967
    ...125 U.S. 190, 205, 8 S.Ct. 723, 31 L.Ed. 654. 'There are, in effect, three parties to every marriage, the man, the woman and the state.' [53 Misc.2d 977] There is no reason to suppose that the Legislature intended to declare void a marriage performed by a judge of a court of record of this ......
  • People v. Olsen
    • United States
    • New York County Court
    • August 9, 1967
    ...officers. [55 Misc.2d 323] This basis is wholly insufficient in the light of the Court of Appeals decision. See also People v. Whitney, 53 Misc.2d 977, 978, 280 N.Y.S.2d 729, Upon the return as filed it is the determination of this court upon the authority of the Court of Appeals that there......
2 cases
  • Helfond v. Helfond
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • May 17, 1967
    ...125 U.S. 190, 205, 8 S.Ct. 723, 31 L.Ed. 654. 'There are, in effect, three parties to every marriage, the man, the woman and the state.' [53 Misc.2d 977] There is no reason to suppose that the Legislature intended to declare void a marriage performed by a judge of a court of record of this ......
  • People v. Olsen
    • United States
    • New York County Court
    • August 9, 1967
    ...officers. [55 Misc.2d 323] This basis is wholly insufficient in the light of the Court of Appeals decision. See also People v. Whitney, 53 Misc.2d 977, 978, 280 N.Y.S.2d 729, Upon the return as filed it is the determination of this court upon the authority of the Court of Appeals that there......

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