The clitorides voting is open until the end of April. Vote for your favourites [ X Dismiss ]
Home « Forum « Author Hangout

Forum: Author Hangout

Following Orders from a Cop

PotomacBob

You've stopped for a red light and the cop that directs you to proceed. When you do, another cop arrests you for running the red light.
In the state where I first got a license, the driver's manual said to follow the instructions of the cop even if it otherwise violated the law - as running a red light would.
Does anybody know of any U.S. court cases where that actually happened? Did the U.S. Supreme Court ever rule on such a case?

Michael Loucks

@PotomacBob

I know both California and Ohio Driver's handbooks cite the following, or similar:

"You must obey any traffic direction, order, or signal given by a traffic or peace officer, or a firefighter even if it conflicts with existing signs, signals, or laws."

I don't have the reference to the law themselves, but the handbooks make it clear. The second officer would not be able to ticket you.

Wheezer
Updated:

If a traffic light controlled intersection has a cop directing traffic instead of allowing the automated light to do so, then there are extenuating circumstances that require him to be there.

This is only a partial list:

. Traffic light malfunctioning.

. Vehicular accident partially blocking the intersection.

. Motorcade approaching. (common for funerals)

. Large, oversized equipment being transported.

I cannot imagine a scenario where a second officer on the scene would be unaware of that fact and would even stop you to issue a ticket. It's an unrealistic scenario.

Replies:   PotomacBob
PotomacBob

@Wheezer

It's an unrealistic scenario.


Unlike other scenarios on SOL?

Replies:   Wheezer
Switch Blayde

@PotomacBob

To my knowledge, the cop trumps the red traffic light.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Wheezer

@PotomacBob


Unlike other scenarios on SOL?


This goes beyond reasonable suspension of disbelief. (More than a few SOL stories do that.)

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

To my knowledge, the cop trumps the red traffic light.


He sure does, in most jurisdictions. Also, you'd be surprised how often the average driver will let just about anyone tell them what to do if the person is directing traffic as if they know what they're doing.

About 10 years ago I was driving down a narrow street when there was a serious accident a few cars in front of me. I pulled over into a driveway and parked, then got out to see what I could do to help the person who was knocked down. Someone else with better first aid training was already there, and another was calling for an ambulance. However, the traffic was backing up in the street in both directions with more wanting in. So I walked back about 100 feet to the last intersection, it was controlled by traffic lights, I stood in the intersection and directed all traffic wanting to enter the street to down the cross street, not one single driver objected while I kept the street clear of traffic. Thus when the ambulance arrived he had a clear run up to the site, and then a clear street to drive down once they got the person on-board.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


He sure does, in most jurisdictions. Also, you'd be surprised how often the average driver will let just about anyone tell them what to do if the person is directing traffic as if they know what they're doing.


It's amazing how much authority comes along with simply wearing a safety vest when interacting with motorists, work boots and hard hat just adds to it in many cases.

First encountered it working with a railroad, and still encounter it when I get stuck in traffic somewhere and decide to get out of the truck(after putting a high visibility vest on) and start walking around.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Harold Wilson

@PotomacBob

I am not aware.of any specific example of this, but I can easily imagine it happening in a 20th century drive-thru state.

The American South was famous for aggressive and abusive ticketing of out of state drivers, followed by arresting them so that they would be around to go to court and pay their fine.

After the various states implemented ticket & license penalty reciprocity, this became less important, since an out-of-stock ticket would still affect the driver's license.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  PotomacBob
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Harold Wilson


The American South was famous for aggressive and abusive ticketing of out of state drivers, followed by arresting them so that they would be around to go to court and pay their fine.


And if you're talking deep/rural South you're likely in deep shit regardless of what you do if you're not white.

Continuing improvements and lowering costs of Telecommunications(including cable and satellite TV), and the advent of the internet probably had more to do with that ending than anything else(hard to "keep it quiet" when you cannot control the information flow, and cannot keep the locals from discovering its abnormal). Although the internet also made for a great intermediary for exchanging such information as would be needed for a reciprocity agreement. You need at least a fax machine in order to make such a system work, and a computer with a modem/internet connection is better yet.

PotomacBob

@Harold Wilson

Thanks to all for responding with your opinions. Let me just note for the record that, so far, nobody has responded with actual court cases about the issue at hand.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@PotomacBob


Thanks to all for responding with your opinions. Let me just note for the record that, so far, nobody has responded with actual court cases about the issue at hand.


That's because as noted, there will be few to no examples to draw from, unless you catch a fluke jurisdictional one where you're dealing with neighboring cities or a city/county type fight and the light the first officer told you to run is in the other officers jurisdiction, and not his own.

Generally "asshole cop" isn't going to demonstrate his asshole status in the presence of another law enforcement officer unless he's fairly certain the other cop is an asshole too.

...And if you're dealing with two asshole cops, you're not going to be able to prove that the first one told you to do that.

Uther_Pendragon

@PotomacBob

I'm certain that it would be a fine defense IF you could get the first cop to testify that this was what had happened.

Sarah Bland was driving along when a cop came at her from behind with his siren going. She pulled over. The cop stopped, arrested her for pulling over with out signaling first, and hauled her to jail.

We only know because there was a dashboard camera.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@Uther_Pendragon

We only know because there was a dashboard camera.


Or body cameras these days as well, 30+ years ago you were simply screwed.

awnlee jawking

@PotomacBob

In the UK, there was a case of a driver stopped at a red light. A cop car on an emergency call pulled up behind it and sounded its siren. The driver pulled through the red light to allow the cop car to pass, and was issued a ticket by the automated camera system.

When the driver appealed against the ticket, the authorities rejected the appeal, stating that the correct action was to ignore the police siren until it was safe to proceed.

AJ

Ernest Bywater

@PotomacBob

Let me just note for the record that, so far, nobody has responded with actual court cases about the issue at hand.


I've not heard of a court case of one officer booking a person for obeying the instructions of another officer. I do know of cases in Australia where people have been charged with failing to obey the directions of an officer, but that's all.

Replies:   AmigaClone
AmigaClone

@Ernest Bywater

I've not heard of a court case of one officer booking a person for obeying the instructions of another officer.


That gives me an idea for a sub-plot in a story. Two cops conspire to trap individuals with the treat of a ticket. The one giving the ticket implies that there is a way for the driver to avoid getting a ticket as long as ... happens.

Ross at Play

@Not_a_ID

It's amazing how much authority comes along with simply wearing a safety vest when interacting with motorists

That's a form of self-employment in Indonesia. Men get themselves a florescent vest and a lighted want for nighttime, go somewhere where traffic is chaotic (most commonly where cars queue to make U-turns), and direct the traffic to make a living from the tips they receive. Like many things here, fuck knows how but it seems to work.

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Wheezer


This goes beyond reasonable suspension of disbelief. (More than a few SOL stories do that.)


Unless it's a setup by the second cop, with or without the knowledge of the first one. Never let cheesiness stop you from creating the scenario you like, that's my view.

~ JBB

Replies:   Not_a_ID  Ross at Play
Not_a_ID

@Bondi Beach

Unless it's a setup by the second cop, with or without the knowledge of the first one. Never let cheesiness stop you from creating the scenario you like, that's my view.


Prior to Y2K, I could see two crooked cops running an operation like that as a side racket. As far as stereotypes go, I'm sure you could take it a bit further with a setting like "the deep south" where you have multiple members(if not all) of the county sheriff's office in on it, with some friends from the good old boys club to boot.

Prior to the FBI going after the KKK in the 1960's, it probably actually happened in some form more than a few times to various targeted people at one point or another. Only those people wish they received a ticket instead of what they received.

Ross at Play

@Bondi Beach

Never let cheesiness stop you from creating the scenario you like

I could accept that scenario in a story if there was some element of deceit involved, but if it was just stupidity and pig-headedness (pun intended) by the second cop, that would go beyond reasonable suspension of disbelief for me.

Back to Top