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What do you care if it was legal? Big Brother, er J-No, authorized this harvest of taxpayer income.

How dare you ask for the state to act in a legal manner. How dare you question technology. Don't ask questions, just follow orders.

You act as if this is a free country. Where have you been?

All jokes aside, 109 is pretty bad, but the idea of a camera being given authority scares me. If my cousin hits 155mph in my ride, they'll swear it's me.

Greg,

13-3883(A)(4) authorized the arrest but that subsection also refers to 13-3903. That section, at Paragraph D, states:

The Arizona traffic ticket and complaint may be utilized not only for the purposes provided in the Arizona supreme court rule, but to satisfy the requirements of this section.

So, Mecum did not have to be arrested and booked. They could have simply showed up at his place of work and cited with a criminal traffic ticket and given him a date to appear in court.

Obviously, you guys are looking for waaaay too much political motivation.

Young man with fast car gets caught speeding.
Now, if he simply got away from a hot pursuit, would you all be whining when he was led away in cuffs?

The not pay component applies if you are not served- he was served with his criminal complaint- not this is not a traffic offense anymore folks- this is do time in jail folks, if the prosecutors are so inclined. DPS used to take pictures from airplanes and then arrest folks subsequently.

Nothing new here, and quite simply foolish on the owner of this blog's part.

How many folks are dead because of speeding on the 101? Remember those kids in the ditch a while back?

I bet their parents do.

STATE OF ARIZONA v.TROY EDWARD KEENER (Ariz. App., 2003), seems to support the DPS legal position.

From State v. Troy:

"As we read subsection 13-3883(A)(4), it plainly grants authority to arrest a person for a misdemeanor offense if the officer has probable cause to believe both that the offense has been committed and that the person to be arrested has committed the offense. The subsection does not demand that the arresting officer witness the misdemeanor offense.

...Here, as in McDougall, subsection 13-3883(A)(4) authorized the officers to arrest Defendant for driving on a suspended license, even though they did not witness the driving, if they had probable cause to believe that the offense had occurred and that Defendant had committed it. To the extent there is any conflict between subsection 13-3883(A)(2) and -3883(A)(4), the latter, as the more recent statute, must prevail. Id.; Pima County v. Heinfeld, 134 Ariz. 133, 136, 654 P.2d 281, 284 (1982) (general rule is that more recent statute controls older statute)."

The DPS may be correct on this narrow legal point, but it doesn't change the fact that their actions in this case were heavy handed and smell of politics. It seems doubtful they would have treated a Democratic Party operative the same way.

Republicans do not deserve civil rights. Who cares if he didn't have a warrant for his arrest? Being a racist, terroristic, seditionist Republican is enough to be arrested in this country now. He should have been charged double for not driving a fuel efficient car.

This is the treatment you Repukelicans can expect under the administration of the wise and mighty Barack Obama. We're in charge now. Deal with it. Progress or get out of the way.

Wait a minute, Bill, are you really implying that DPS officers treat Democrats differently than Republicans? That is a HUGE accusation -- attacking the integrity of an entire agency (or at least a significant part of the command structure) -- based on limited information about one incident. For what possible motivation? Roger Vanderpool has been a sworn law enforcement officer for decades, and as far as I know has never been accused of anything remotely like this. What makes anyone think he would even have the slightest idea who Brett Mecum is? This whole line of inquiry strikes me as extremely cynical, or extremely paranoid. In either case, a depressing commentary on the state of modern politics.

Not a lawyer here, but responding to "A different Bill", I didn't read accusations about Roger Vanderpool specifically, just generically about DPS. You can bet that Bart Graves, the former press hack for the Arizona Democrat Party knew who Brett Mecum was, and somebody involved in all of this leaked the arrest to the media. Doesn't take a genius to figure out who that was now, does it? And its also safe to say that the matter would have been handled differently if it was the Executive Director of the AZ Dem Party. Those are reasonable assumptions and hardly a "HUGE accusation".

Thanks for the thoughtful posts Greg. Most of the other blogs have turned this into a political pinata and are giving folks an excuse to smack around Randy Pullen and Brett Mecum, while ignoring the actual and larger story. Kudos.

Different Bill - Regarding the DPS, I wrote: "...their actions in this case were heavy handed and smell of politics. It seems doubtful they would have treated a Democratic Party operative the same way."

I absolutely stand by that statement.

Maricopa County has 4,000,000 residents. The DPS arrests people all the time for minor offences with no fanfare and no media attention.

However, in this case, someone at DPS apparently chose to call The Arizona Guardian (an on-line newsletter owned by Democratic operative Bob Grossfeld) and tip them off that the State Republican Party's Executive Director was getting arrested.

Would this situation have been handled the same way if it was the Democratic Party's Executive Director caught speeding? I don't think so. The DPS spokesperson discussing the case is Bart Graves -- the former spokesperson for the Arizona Democratic Party. Would he have tipped the press off if one of his old Democrat co-workers got busted speeding? Yeah, probably not.

Was Bart Graves the tipster? We don't know yet, but the answer seems likely to be yes. Graves travels in the same political circles as Guardian owner Bob Grossfeld. The Arizona Guardian newsletter is not well known either to the public at large or to the typical DPS officer. However, it would be very well known to a Democratic political operative like Graves.

Beyond the issue of humiliating a young guy over a speeding ticket to score partisan political points is a larger question, which is how the DPS can possible justify the expense of tracking of a man down and arresting him at work for a traffic ticket. It's a heavy handed thing to do. (And, significantly, as Greg has pointed out, "criminal speeding tickets aren't prosecuted when the only evidence is from photo radar.")

Most DPS officers are professional and do a good job. However, in this case, someone at DPS acted in a way that reflects poorly on the department.

Two side notes:

First, I would urge all Republicans not to subscribe to “The Arizona Guardian.” Why subsidize the team that wants to raise your taxes and infringe on your freedom?

Second, we still don't know why authorities let Democrates get away with misconduct during the last election. Remember Democrat Lori Liberman, caught red-handed by the police with a trunk load of stolen Republican campaign signs? No theft charges for her! (See http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/130674 )

Sorry Greg, but there's absolutely nothing improper or out of the ordinary here.

Surveillance cameras are a good analogy. Nearly every arrest that occurs goes down without a warrant. Either the person is directly caught in the act, or the police arrive on the scene, get eyewitness testimony (establishing pc), and find the suspect.

The cases where a magistrate is needed are much less common, though not on Law and Order and in your textbooks at ASU, I agree.

The state law school has taught you enough to be dangerous. I honestly wish you'd remove this post.

People are going to be complaining to police officers that they don't have a signed warrant, and believing they have rights they don't have, which is not going to be helpful for anyone's purposes.

For those of us who have taken a criminal case or two, client interviews are always packed with your potential client telling YOU what the law is, because he spends 15 minutes online and reads something like this.

Imagine if a member of the MSM got it that wrong, and breathlessly announced:

"Republican candidate did X!!!!!" Well, did the Democrat do X? Well, yes. Doesn't nearly every candidate to X. Um, yeah. I can only imagine your reaction.

You honestly owe Bart Graves an apology.

Yeah, I remember her and the favors done, ya think?!

Much of this discussion is missing a basic point. You may assume that this is a violation of either the criminal code (title 13) or the traffic code (title 28). In reality the operative statute is in title 41.

ARS 41-1722 creates the entire state photo enforcement system (but not the city operated programs). Paragraph B states:

“B. Notwithstanding any other law, the civil penalty or fine for a citation or a notice of violation issued pursuant to this section is one hundred sixty-five dollars and is not subject to any surcharge except the surcharge imposed by section 16-954….”

Fines are only imposed in criminal violations. Civil traffic violations incur civil penalties. Therefore the $165 penalty (plus the mandatory political contribution in 16-954) applies to both criminal and civil offenses where the “citation or a notice of violation (is) issued pursuant to this section…”

Since an element of the offense of reckless driving is criminal speed, even if there is a conviction, the maximum penalty is $181.50 ($165 plus the ‘clean’ election surcharge).

Paragraph D goes on to say:

“D. Notwithstanding any other law, if a person is found responsible for a civil traffic violation or a notice of violation pursuant to a citation issued pursuant to this section, the department of transportation shall not consider the violation for the purpose of determining whether the person's driver license should be suspended or revoked. A court shall not transmit abstracts of records of these violations to the department of transportation.”

Therefore, no points or suspension are assessed against the license. Also, there is no record transmitted to MVD that can be assessed by insurance companies to raise rates.

If you assume the legislature actually had any cognition of what they were doing when this law was enacted in the middle of the last night (literally) of the session, then it is clear that the intent is this is a trivial matter. A highly publicized arrest is mere political theater and has nothing to do with effective enforcement of this statute.

Everybody should take a deep breath about the Guardian and Bob Grossfeld. It's obvious the former Tribbers needed capital and Bob gave them some startup cash. Big deal. Keep in mind, their biggest vocal endorsement to date has come from lobbyist Kevin Demenna- hardly a Dem activist. If the Chamber of Commerce called the Guardian looking to place ads do you think the Guardian would hang up on them? I don't think so.

41-1722. State photo enforcement system; penalties; fund

A. Notwithstanding any other law, the department shall enter into a contract or contracts with a private vendor or vendors pursuant to chapter 23 of this title to establish a state photo enforcement system consisting of cameras placed throughout this state as determined by the director to enforce the provisions of title 28, chapter 3, articles 3 and 6 relating to vehicle traffic and speed.

B. Notwithstanding any other law, the civil penalty or fine for a citation or a notice of violation issued pursuant to this section is one hundred sixty-five dollars and is not subject to any surcharge except the surcharge imposed by section 16-954. State photo enforcement citations shall not be included in judicial productivity credit calculations for fiscal year 2008-2009.

C. The photo enforcement fund is established consisting of monies received from citations or notices of violation issued pursuant to this section. The director shall administer the fund. Monies in the fund are subject to legislative appropriation and are appropriated to the department for administrative and personnel costs of the state photo enforcement system. Monies remaining in the fund in excess of two hundred fifty thousand dollars at the end of each calendar quarter shall be deposited, pursuant to sections 35-146 and 35-147, in the state general fund.

D. Notwithstanding any other law, if a person is found responsible for a civil traffic violation or a notice of violation pursuant to a citation issued pursuant to this section, the department of transportation shall not consider the violation for the purpose of determining whether the person's driver license should be suspended or revoked. A court shall not transmit abstracts of records of these violations to the department of transportation.

Notice that little caveat of a CIVIL traffic violation.

Bad cites make bad cases-
Now from 28-707. Charging speed violation; burden of proof; findings

C. If a person is charged with a criminal offense, except for excessive speed under section 28-701.02, or cited for a civil traffic violation under this article and if the person is operating a commercial motor vehicle as defined in section 28-3001, the court, on conviction of the offense or on adjudication of the civil traffic complaint, shall make a finding based on either an admission or the evidence as to whether the speed that the vehicle was operated was fifteen miles per hour or more over the speed limit.

Finally:
28-701.02. Excessive speeds; classification

A. A person shall not:

1. Exceed thirty-five miles per hour approaching a school crossing.

2. Exceed the posted speed limit in a business or residential district by more than twenty miles per hour, or if no speed limit is posted, exceed forty-five miles per hour.

3. Exceed eighty-five miles per hour in other locations.

B. A person who violates subsection A of this section is guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor.

C. A person charged with a violation of this section may not be issued a civil complaint for a violation of section 28-701 if the civil complaint alleges a violation arising out of the same circumstances.

Um, so over 85 mph is basically a criminal violation- so guess what- he can lose his license, and go to jail if the judge so decides.

Read the statutes together- they have a giant loophole for what this yahoo and others have been doing.

Now for the finish:
28-693. Reckless driving; classification; license; surrender

A. A person who drives a vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.

B. A person convicted of reckless driving is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.

C. In addition, the judge may require the surrender to a police officer of any driver license of the convicted person, shall report the conviction to the department and may order the driving privileges of the person to be suspended for a period of not more than ninety days. On receipt of the abstract of conviction and order, the department shall suspend the driving privilege of the person for the period of time ordered by the judge.

He was also charged with Reckless.

In other words, while he might get a nice plea deal- if he fights he will be walking for a while.

Skip the bias, a whole bunch of folks have already done time for over 100 mph stunts on traffic cameras.

How is it possible to plead to a civil offense when originally charged with a criminal offense when the statute says:

"A person charged with a violation of this section may not be issued a civil complaint for a violation of section 28-701 if the civil complaint alleges a violation arising out of the same circumstances."

Also, the standard of proof for guilt for the criminal offense is higher. There is something to be said for not taking the plea and taking one's chances at trial, but maybe not much.


uh guys , you are missing the CRIMINAL aspect written into the photo enforcement law:

From the Attorney General's legally binding opinion ( unless a court overrules it )

"The assertion that A.R.S. § 41-1722 was not intended for prosecution of alleged criminal offenses is inconsistent with the express language of Subsection A, which references enforcement of previously enacted provisions of Title 28, chapter 3, articles 3 and 6, which relate to vehicle traffic and speed.

Article 3 authorizes photo enforcement zones and specifically references the use of “photo enforcement equipment” “to identify violators of this article and article 6 of this chapter.” A.R.S. § 28-654(E).

Article 6 includes not only civil traffic violations for exceeding a reasonable and prudent speed under A.R.S. § 28-701, but also criminal traffic violations for excessive speed under A.R.S. § 28-701.02.1 Thus, the state photo enforcement statute set forth in Section 41-1722(A) applies to criminal traffic violations as well as civil traffic violations.

Prior to the enactment of the 2008 statute, Title 28, Chapter 3, Article 3 clearly authorized the use of photo radar in enforcing criminal violations.

See A.R.S. § 28-654(E). Cities throughout the State have been using photo radar in criminal cases, and the newly-enacted statute does not purport to alter or limit Article 3 and, in fact, specifically incorporates Article 3 without any suggestion that photo-radar enforcement of criminal statutes is inappropriate.

Thus, the new statute should not be read to call into question the use of photo radar in criminal cases."

read the full thing:

http://www.azag.gov/press_releases/feb/2009/Photo%20Enforcement%20Analysis.pdf

The County Attorney does not have to prosecute, but DPS is well within their rights to arrest him for a criminal infraction.

To 'biggie's' comment: " Bad cites make bad cases-:

Please note the language in Para. D: " a civil traffic violation or a notice of violation pursuant to a citation issued pursuant to this section..." Please notice the essential word "or".

Biggie, not reading the law makes for worse cases. You can't just make this stuff up to match your preconception of what the law should be. That is what got the legislature into this mess in the first place.

John - 1
Biggie - 0

Scorekeeper - 0
Frank Calcintrano, biggie - 1

Putting the legal questions aside, for a moment, was his arrest or the way he was arrested politically motivated? That's the question I'd like answered.

Geez, what a bunch of sheep you have posting on this story. Put aside your views of the subject arrested and look at went down as Patterson laid out. This doesn't shock the conscience even the slightest bit?

You don't have a problem with a former Dem spokesperson leaking this whole incident to a Dem run paper - and it is a Dem run paper. You can make apologies for Grossfeld's involvement, but the simple fact that he is involved in partisan politics would be prohibited by the ethics policy of nearly every major paper in the country - including the NY Times.

This smells bad and Patterson has astutely pointed it out. Try focusing on what his underlying theme is rather than being a bunch of sheep who are too stupid to understand what he is trying to say.

And for heaven's sake stop citing statutes. You have two conflicting statutes. One establishing criminal penalties for driving infractions which never contemplated having a photo radar taking pictures and another establishing photo radar and providing civil penalties for the offenses. They have no bearing on this. And anyone who went to law school learns that AG opinions are just that - they are not case law or binding on really anything. They are legal advice.

Greg brings up a good question and probably an unsettled question of law that the courts will ultimately have to decide.

A.R.S. 32-2401

ARS 32-2401.16

16. “Private investigator” means a person other than an insurance adjuster or an on-duty peace officer as defined in section 1-215 who, for any consideration, engages in business or accepts employment to:

(b) Secure evidence to be used before investigating committees or boards of award or arbitration or in the trial of civil or criminal cases and the preparation therefor.

There are licensing exemptions, but it does not appear that Redflex or ATS fit any of the criteria defined here (too long to list): ARS 32-2409

All ATS and Redflex employees working to procure or process such evidence are guilty of class 1 Misdemeanors:

ARS32-2411

A. A person shall not act or attempt to act as a private investigator or represent that the person is a private investigator unless the person is registered as a private investigator pursuant to this chapter and is acting within the scope of the person’s employment for an agency that is licensed pursuant to article 2 of this chapter.

B. A person who knowingly violates this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.

How do we get to the bottom of this? I'm taking this over to Redstate to post it. FYI, several of the Redstate Contributors and primary writers are Arizonans. And, there are plenty of good lawyers over there.

I'm thinking FOIA requests, to determine (among other things) the following:

1) How often does DPS handle speeding tickets in this manner? I.e., how often has DPS gone to someone's place of work to arrest them on a speeding violation?
2) Who ordered the public arrest?

To any media reps reading this comment---YOU are the ones really on the spot here.

It is possible that some people in DPS are using their authority to intimidate political opponents.

That kind of stuff is supposed to happen in Chicago, NOT Arizona.

Ask yourselves, reporters: Did DPS do this because they've determined that Arizona media is pro-Democrat, and thus wouldn't pursue this story the way Greg is? If you find yourselves answering "yes," you're part of a very big problem.

I, for one, don't want to live in a state where Republicans---or any party, for that matter---have to worry about elevated scrutiny from local government agencies, because I vote differently on Election Day than they do.

Hey, Arizona media---is that the kind of state you want to live in?

Ok, if the issue is less a legal one and more a political one let me chime in on that. The word being used is "leak" to describe a PIO giving out public information. That's not a leak to tell the media, even if it's just one member of the media or a blogger, about a set of facts that's by all accounts newsworthy.

And if you don't want political PIO's, you'll have to de-politicize the agencies and the governor who appoints their directors. Good luck with that.

Use a little common sense. We will need to wait for the facts and this guy will get his day in court.

And if you're in a high-profile job...you have a target on your back no matter what. How stupid are you to ignore that? A celebrity, elected official, member of the media, cop, judge...all groups that the public is interested in knowing exactly what they're doing.

Worry first about doing harm to yourself before concerning yourself with others that want to harm you.

Tom,
Greg is the one stating the leak came from Bart Graves because
"no one from the Republican Party called them." However, after this came out the response has made it fairly clear the Mecum is not at all liked by a strong segment of people in the party. This casts significant doubt on the claim that the leak had to come from DPS.

Tom. You are smoking crack. I work for Andy Thomas for gods sake. We do everything we can to ignore the AG, but an AG opinion is legally binding on everyone until a court undoes it. period. There is no debate. Go back and read your statutes on the Solicitor General. The SG's word is sancrosanct. And I quote one court judge when I tried to fight an AG opinion about 15 years ago. " I am not going to be in the business of challenging an AG opinion. No one should" That was under a Republican governor and a republican AG.

I recall a photo radar case where DPS picked a young lady up at the airport (coming back from her school trip to Europe?), for multiple (10 or so) and willful speeding violations (90+ mph) that were caught by the cameras.

Of course, this same girl hung up repeatedly when DPS tried to call her with regards to those violations, and ignored any and all summons, even when delivered to her in person (from what I recall from the story).

Finally, she ignored a court-ordered appearance and traveled out of the country, which finally prompted her very public arrest at the airport when she returned.

IIRC, the whole sordid mess was chronicled on azcentral.com, at least that's where I recall reading about it.

The big question here is why did this girl rate such evenhanded treatment, even after thumbing her nose repeatedly at DPS, and then we see Mecum get hauled off to the clink for a single violation?

I'll have to see if I can find the stories on azcentral.com, since the contrast here is absolutely stunning to me.

Found it! Or at least the final article in the series...

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/07/31/20080731mr-speed.html?&wired

---
Bristow was booked into the Scottsdale City Jail on suspicion of criminal speeding and reckless driving, both misdemeanors.
On May 28, DPS photo enforcement cameras recorded her driving a 2001 Lexus at more than 100 mph on the Loop 101 at 1:51 p.m., officials said. The posted speed limit is 65 mph.

DPS made several requests for Bristow to surrender to authorities. Bristow told officers she was "going to Australia and this was not going to ruin her dream," officials said.

"All Ms. Bristow had to do was cooperate so she could face the charges against her. Instead, she chose to stall and make it very difficult for us to work with her because the charges she faces conflicted with her planned vacation," said Jeffrey Jacobs, of the DPS photo enforcement unit. "When we finally asked her to turn herself in as soon as she returned from vacation, she was still uncooperative and couldn't commit to doing so over her concern that she would have 'jet lag.' "
---

So Britnee gets called, begged, etc to come in and face the music, and even then she had to really push things in order to actually get arrested.

So again: why did Britnee get the full "due process" treatment, and Mecum didn't?

Frank, the AG is a lawyer who works for the state. A county court decision is superior to an AG opinion, but so what. Neither is sacrosanct, unless someone wants to pretend it's so so for another reason. AG opinions are not legally binding for everyone.

Federally, the Obama administration was contemplating prosecuting Justice Dept. attorneys for their "opinions" on waterboarding. Whether that's a good idea or not...even those opinions are not sacrosanct.

Nice work Greg. Looks like Gila Courier likes it as well. They make different points than you do, but they give you credit for not losing the forest for the trees.

http://www.gilacourier.com/?p=1265

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