- Associated Press - Friday, October 21, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A judge has ruled that an Iowa Transportation Department officer didn’t have legal authority to issue a speeding ticket.

Polk County District Court Associate Judge Heather Lauber said in her ruling Thursday dismissing the citation that the Iowa Supreme Court declared nearly 70 years ago that the department officers didn’t have power over most moving violations.

If Lauber’s ruling survives a possible appeal, it could affect legal challenges to tens of thousands of tickets issued by Transportation Department officers, according to the Des Moines Register (https://dmreg.co/2end0zb ).

Peyton Atzen, 16, and his parents fought the ticket, fearing he could lose his license. The officer ticketed Atzen on May 27 after he was clocked going 84 mph in a 55 mph zone. Atzen said he was speeding but didn’t think he was going that fast. His attorney, Brandon Brown, said that the ruling is the “beginning rather than the end of this issue.”

Transportation spokeswoman Andrea Henry said the department is reviewing its options in regard to the appeal.

“Casting a blind eye to serious traffic violations diminishes public safety and wastes our state’s investment in the training and equipment of peace officers serving as Motor Vehicle Enforcement Officers,” Henry said. “This is particularly concerning, given that excessive speed is one of the top three contributors to highway fatalities.”

According to state records, DOT officers issued over 25,000 speeding tickets between January 2011 and July 2016, which generated $3.7 million in state revenue.


Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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