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Wiscons appeals court reverses decision that put brakes on speeding ticket

Wisconsin Law Journal; Milwaukee (Jun 10, 2013).

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If a woman claims she was going faster than 90 mph in a 55 mph zone to get away from an unknown vehicle that was terrorizing her and following her every move, can the trial court legally recognize this as a "necessity" defense for speeding?

In an opinion issued May 23 in State of Wisconsin v. Tammy S. Camden, 2012 AP 1451, 2013, the appellate court found that existing case law provided limited circumstances where speeding drivers could say that they "needed" to speed.

Although the Wisconsin Supreme Court previously indicated that there might be situations where "necessity" can be a proper legal justification for speeding, the appellate court's limited function as an "error-correcting court" constrained it from spelling out those situations.

In mid-afternoon March 13, 2012, Wisconsin State Trooper Daniel Breeser clocked a car going 92 mph eastbound on Highway 18, outside of Prairie Du Chien.

The driver, Tammy Camden, admitted she was speeding, but was trying to get away from a vehicle that had been stalking her since leaving town.

Camden told the officer that the vehicle would mimic her own movements. When Camden put on her turn signal, the other car would signal. When Camden moved to pull over, the unknown car would too.

At that point she had to speed up, said Camden, and she told Breeser that she "just needed to get away" from the vehicle behind her, and was trying to get to her home in Linden.

Although she allegedly had been playing cat-and-mouse with the vehicle since leaving Prairie Du Chien, Camden could give no more specific description of the car or its driver.

At trial, Breeser testified that there was no other car behind Camden when she was pulled over and ticketed.

Circuit Court Judge Craig R. Day allowed Camden to present...