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Windsor family to appeal ruling; ex-lawman says device shows stepson wasn't over 45-mph limit

A Windsor family is preparing for an appeal after failing to win dismissal of a speeding ticket with data from a global positioning device in a teenage driver's car.

Sonoma County Superior Court Commissioner Carla Bonilla ruled that Shaun Malone, 17, was guilty of speeding.

The case represents the first time anyone has contested a speeding ticket in Sonoma County using data from such a tracking device.

"We were disappointed," said Roger Rude, the teen's stepfather and a retired Sonoma County sheriff's lieutenant. "We thought we'd be able to raise reasonable doubt. That did not happen."

The ticket was given by a Petaluma police officer. The judge's decision, issued in a written ruling last week, supported the officer's findings.

"That's always been our belief," said Petaluma Police Capt. Dave Sears. "Even though GPS is a valuable tool, it's not being used accurately in our interpretation . . . to sustain a not guilty verdict against the speed. We've consulted with a GPS expert, too."

Global positioning systems pinpoint location and speed using lightning-fast calculations and satellites.

Malone, a junior at Windsor High School, got the ticket on July 4. He was stopped that morning by an officer using radar along Lakeville Highway.

The officer clocked him at 62 mph in a 45 mph zone.

The family contends the car's GPS system shows Malone was driving 45 mph at virtually the same time and at the same place where the officer determined he was driving 62 mph.


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