Tales from the Morgue

An update at the end tells the rest of the story.

Fifty years ago the Arizona Daily Star told Tucsonans about a University of Arizona student who beat a speeding ticket in court using science.

The judge said he was impressed by the scientific evidence. The judge didn't say whether he understood the science. One might wonder if the student was found innocent because the judge wouldn't admit he didn't understand the science — if indeed that was so.

Or perhaps the defendant was innocent and used a unique method to prove it.

From the Arizona Daily Star, Sunday, February 11, 1968:

UA Student Uses Science To Beat Traffic Ticket

A 21-year-old University of Arizona aspiring scientist used his book learning to best advantage in successfully waging his own speeding case before Superior Court Friday.

For Edward F. Joganic Jr. of Elizabeth City, N.C., it was no ordinary speeding ticket. He appealed it from city court because he feared a conviction would hurt his chances for a government clearance.

He expects to be commissioned into the U.S. Air Force in May and hopes to get into the science program, working on “oddball” projects.

He is now working on a masters decree in Zoology and teaching part-time at UA.

Joganic employed geometry and perhaps a bit of physics to present graphs and other scientific type exhibits to support his case before Judge Lee Garrett.

The gist of his argument was that city patrolman Bill Davies could have been mistaken in “clocking” him on a curvy street. He was cited on Oct. 2 for going 40 miles an hour in a 25 m.p.h. zone on Calle Bellatrix just east of Wilmot Rd.

“It’s possible for two cars going different velocities (speeds) to remain the same distance apart on such a winding street,” Joganic declared.

Judge Garrett stated he was impressed by the scientific evidence and found Joganic innocent.

Asked if he had any other law experience, Joganic answered: “I’ve never seen a court before. All I know is what I see on the Perry Mason show.”

So yes, children, you may indeed use that algebra and geometry again someday.

UPDATE: A reader has informed Tales from the Morgue that Edward Joganic passed away in October, 2017. His obituary indicates that he had a wonderful career and contributed to science and humanity. No speeding ticket ever held this man back. He was a surgeon who especially impacted the lives of children with craniofacial deformities. Read more.

Johanna Eubank is an online content producer for the Arizona Daily Star and tucson.com. Contact her at jeubank@tucson.com

About Tales from the Morgue: The "morgue," is what those in the newspaper business call the archives. Before digital archives, the morgue was a room full of clippings and other files of old newspapers.