Many motorists nabbed for speeding by a laser gun, instead of radar, are seeing their tickets thrown out at Chicago’s traffic court because of a legal issue that the city’s law department has been unable to overcome, reports the Chicago Tribune. Cook County Traffic Court judges determined that speeds captured by lidar were not admissible because the devices had not been proved scientifically reliable in an Illinois court, said Jennifer Hoyle, spokeswoman for the law department, which prosecutes most speeding tickets in the city. The judges brushed aside the argument that lidar devices, which use a light beam instead of radio waves, have been used by police departments across the U.S. with no problems for a long time.
The devices are the primary speed detectors used by Chicago Police. Many drivers ticketed for speeding in the city have been able to skate out of traffic court without having to pay the fine. “Judges don’t share our view that the technology is valid in court,” Hoyle said. Judges in traffic courts outside Chicago have not taken a uniform position, said Steve Fagan, a defense attorney.