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Court commissioner questions UCSD scientist’s ticket claims

April 25, 2012 |  9:40 am

Stop sign

The San Diego Superior Court commissioner who dismissed a UC San Diego scientist’s traffic ticket said her ruling was not based on the man’s physics explanation as he contended last week.

In an interview with The Times, Dmitri Krioukov, a senior research scientist at UCSD, said he successfully appealed his failure-to-stop ticket using a physics and math presentation that swayed the commissioner.

In the paper titled "The Proof of Innocence," Krioukov offered a series of equations and graphs to show it was physically impossible for him to have broken the law, as an officer contended.

The judge was "very, very smart," Krioukov told The Times. "She got my point, I think, very precisely."

But Commissioner Karen Riley later told the SD-UT the story was exaggerated at best.

“The ruling was not based on his physics explanation,” Riley told the paper. “It was based on the officer’s view.... The officer wasn’t close enough to the intersection to have a good view.”

In an email sent to The Times after publication, Krioukov said his court date was in July 2011, but he had only recently posted his paper online, which subsequently generated buzz.

In his paper and in an interview, Krioukov made reference to a “building at one corner of the intersection that obstructed [an officer’s] view” but listed the obstruction as one of a number of circumstances that contributed his ticket being dismissed.

The paper spends a section each on “constant linear speed” and “constant linear acceleration and deceleration” and one section on “brief obstruction of view around.” 

The paper's abstract reads: "A way to fight your traffic tickets. The paper was awarded a special prize of $400 that the author did not have to pay to the state of California."

But officials in San Diego Superior Court Traffic Division said the combined bail and penalty for a stop sign violation totals $235, rather than $400 as Krioukov claimed. If convicted, Krioukov would have been eligible for traffic school, which would have increased the citation to $287, officials said.

Riley called out the miscalculation in her interview with the U-T, and questioned why Krioukov was posting the paper nearly a year after his court date.

Court spokeswoman Holly Bullen said Riley was not available for an interview. A call and an email to Krioukov were not immediately returned.


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Photo: A Los Angeles intersection. Credit: Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times