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State v. Boyington

May 8, 1978

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JOHN H. BOYINGTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



On appeal from West Long Branch Municipal Court.

Wichmann, J.c.c.

Wichmann

This matter was heard before this court on March 17, 1978. It involved testimony of a technical nature concerning the scientific reliability of the Decatur Ra-Gun. This hearing was on remand from the Appellate Division in the matter of State v. Boyington , 153 N.J. Super. 252, which directed this court, at the option of the State to present it, to hear scientific testimony concerning the machine's reliability and whether or not the Appellate Court would, pursuant to the Rules of Court , take judicial notice of this machine's scientific reliability.

A brief history of the events leading to this hearing follows. Defendant Boyington on April 5, 1976 was found guilty of speeding in the Borough of West Long Branch in violation of N.J.S. 39:4-98. The sole proof of the miles per hour of the defendant's vehicle was that presented by Patrolman Stahl who was using a radar-gun type of speeding detection device.

As a result of the testimony (the case being contested) defendant was found guilty of driving his automobile in a 25-mile-an-hour zone at 45 miles an hour. It was testified that it was a Decatur Ra-Gun speed detection device. The municipal court took judicial notice of the effectiveness of said device and found defendant guilty.

On appeal to the Monmouth County Court, State v. Boyington , Appeal No. 22-76, the conviction was affirmed. Defendant appealed to the Appellate Division of Superior Court.

On October 20, 1977 the Appellate Division in a per curiam opinion reversed the conviction for insufficient proof establishing the scientific reliability of the Ra-Gun and offered the State the opportunity, if said proofs were available, to show the scientific reliability of the Ra-Gun used to detect the speed in this case. The State did, on notice, accept the

offer and the matter was duly set down for trial, the hearing being confined to proofs concerning the scientific reliability of the machine and any opposing testimony which might be offered by defendant.

The State presented the testimony of Glenn DeVore, an electronic engineer presently residing in the State of Illinois who, prior to his retirement, was employed by Decatur Electronics, Inc., Decatur, Ill., the manufacturer of the speed detection device known as the Decatur Ra-Gun. At the time of this machine's development and production at Decatur Electronics this witness was engaged in the technical problems arising in its development and with other speed-detecting devices referred to as police radar circuitry.

This witness' qualifications include a Bachelor's degree in Engineering at the University of Illinois, and a Master's degree from Purdue University. Prior to his employment at Decatur he was employed for 20 years by the United States Defense Department, dealing largely with systems analysis relating primarily to radar-oriented equipment.

His years with the Defense Department included five years with the Army, four with the Navy and four with the Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. His experience with Navy avionics during his years with the Navy was primarily as project engineer for prototype productions of fire control computers and X-band radar to control fire activities from Navy aircraft.

The defense offered the testimony of Bruce S. Bogner, who has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from City College of New York, and a Master's degree from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. His qualifications also include being a senior engineer at RCA in Moorestown, N.J. He testified that patents have been issued to him dealing with the ...


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