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People Different From Us

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Christina Downs, 24, of Portsmouth, N.H., mounted a full-blown defense to the speeding ticket (44 mph in a 25 mph zone) she received in 2007 (even though the officer said Downs had arrogantly sped off again immediately afterward and had to be stopped a second time). Acting as her own lawyer, Downs filed motions and at a trial, put the officer through a meticulous, 96-point cross-examination about such matters as work schedule, training, engineering studies of road speeds, radar technology, weather conditions, traffic flow, and the use of a tuning fork to calibrate the radar device. The judge ruled against her, and in October 2008, the state Supreme Court ordered her to pay the $100 ticket.

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