Judge finds woman guilty of speeding

LISBON — The speed limit height argument by an attorney for a Detroit woman charged with speeding was not enough for Columbiana County Municipal Court Judge Chris Amato.

In a brief, three-paragraph judgment entry issued Friday, Amato ruled Jannine L. Williams, 50, was guilty of speeding and fined $150 plus court costs.

Amato made note that based on the testimony, the court found Williams was traveling 102 mph in a 70 mph zone.

In late April 2017, Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Michael Smith’s radar gun showed Williams’ vehicle traveling at that speed on state Route 11 in Elkrun Township. Smith had testified to the stop, which had included him crossing the median to get behind Williams and driving at 110 to 115 mph to catch up with her.

In a separate judgment entry, Amato ruled that based on the testimony of Justin Van Stee, an expert in that type of radar, MPH brand electronic speed measuring devices are a valid, reliable method of measuring speed when used by a trained operator. That includes the type of radar gun Smith used before the traffic stop of Williams.

During a trial directly to Amato, defense attorney Troy Barnett had argued that because the bottom of the speed limit signs Williams had passed prior to being stopped were not seven feet above the road’s surface, the signs are invalid. Both Barnett and Assistant County Prosecutor Alec Beech had provided different measurements for the actual heights of the signs.

In his ruling, Amato stated, “The defendant’s arguments are not well taken.” He also ordered any expert witness fees to be taxed against the defendant.

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