Thursday, January 31, 2008

Supreme Court rules on red light/speed cameras

Here is the link to the 'slip ruling' of the Court.

What they ruled is that the cities exercising home-rule authority to establish red light/speed cameras are not in violation of the state constitution. They opine that the automated enforcement is a supplement to - not a supplanting of - state law and, as such, is allowed.

They did NOT address the due process issues of the civil violation processes that have been established, as that question was not before them.

Chris Finney, Cincinnati attorney who's been a guest on Eye On Toledo to talk about the red light cameras, will call in to the show at 6 p.m. to discuss this ruling and the need to address the red light/speed cameras via an amendment to city charters.

Cross-posted on Eye On Toledo blog.


The A-Hole Lawyer said...

While I agree with the ruling in that local rule has the power to regulate its police powers in concert with and not in conflict with State and Federal law, the due process and safety concerns surrounding red light cameras and electronic speed enforcement remain. As the SC opinon recognized the due process challenges were not addressed in this decision.

Can you challenge the technology in the Toledo appeal system? No. Is the video running at the proper speed? When was the last time it was certified/maintained? Was the yellow light time the standard time or was it reduced after the camera was installed? Does the video angle create an optical illusion and does it give a accurate representation of the incident?

If I was not driving, does the spousal privilege protect my right not to identify my spouse as the driver? If I was not driving, do I know actually who was, or must I assume it was my spouse/child? Do I have to conduct an investigation to find out if the vehicle was loaned to a friend, or if perhaps a friend was driving my spouse/child at the time?

If I conduct such investigation, does my testimony satisfy the rules of evidence - IE do I have personal knowledge of the event, or am I reciting to the hearing officer hearsay - what someone else told me happened in an event I did not witness? Should that burden of proof be mine?

Yes I want safe streets for my family, but if the systems do not increase that safety, do not have a deterrent effect (such as the presence of a marked patrol cruiser) and do not have the protections inherent in our system of criminal and civil justice - why use the that method?

The pro-law enforcement conservative A-Hole.

The A-Hole Lawyer said...

Toledo City Counsel is getting ready to vote on the proposed increase in the fines for red light camera violations and stationary speed violation systems which includes increasing the percentage of the fine that goes to the city as apposed to the national manufacturer.

A recent Blade article, details the proposal, and cites to the fact that it appears it will not face any opposition from counsel members.

Notice what is not in the article, any MENTION of increased safety. It appears it is simply a matter of increasing revenue to help balance the budget while other aspects of the law enforcement and criminal justice budget are slashed.

At least the Blade and the administration isn't even trying to hide the ball. Its all about the CASH.

The A-Hole.

Maggie Thurber said...

Not sure about the vote...according to what I've learned, they voted on the increases when they voted on the new Redflex contract back in November. That contract was effective Jan. 1, according to the copy I have.

I think this vote is technical in nature in that it changes the TMC to reflect the new amounts in the contract. The Blade missed this point in their earlier articles and are now making up for it.

I've asked for clarification from council on the Tuesday-scheduled vote - and also the correct effective date of the increases.

Tom Miller said...

The Toledo City Counsel has removed all doubt that the Red Light Cameras are more about revenue than they are about safety. They claim that some of the intersections with the cameras have decreased accidents but has anyone really seen the raw data.

San Diego made the same claims but would not release the data until a court case forced them to make it public. An analysis of the data almost completely refutes the safety argument.

The Washington Post did an analysis of the accident statistics for the Washington DC Red Light Cameras. The analysis showed that accidents actually increased at the intersections with Red Light Cameras. More telling was that the increases were more or at least as much as for intersections without the cameras.

The American Automobile Association had been in favor of the cameras. They abruptly removed their support due to the Washington Post analysis and comments from the DC Mayor indicating that revenue was a major reason for the ever expanding Red Light Camera program in the city.

So my question remains, has an unbiased (this rules out the Blade) third party actually analysed the data to see if the cameras have improved safety in Toledo?

We know how much money they plan on raising from the citizens of Toledo through this scheme. Why don't they just admit that money is the main reason these cameras are popping up everywhere.

Tom Miller

va said...

We just got one of these "tickets" in the mail, and we're wondering how to contest it. it says that our car was going 59 mph in a 45 zone at the Heatherdowns/Cass intersection. it seems incredible to me that as the car's owner, my husband is being fined $120, when there is no evidence that he was actually driving the car. They only have a picture of the license plate. It could be anyone behind the wheel. Do you know of anyone who has successfully contested one of these tickets? I'm thinking of going in and saying, we weren't driving, we don't know who was, and neither do you.

Maggie Thurber said...

va - there should be a place on the ticket to request a hearing. You can always contact an attorney. Chris Finney (Cincinnati) has another client in the Toledo area who is contesting his red-light ticket so you might want to try him.

You can email me if you'd like for more information

maggie at maggiethurber dot com

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