Speed Trap Hunter Forum: Best Radar Detectors, Laser Jammers, Laser Detectors, Speed Cameras Forum  

Go Back   Speed Trap Hunter Forum: Best Radar Detectors, Laser Jammers, Laser Detectors, Speed Cameras Forum > Speed Trap & Traffic Enforcement > Economics & Politics
Radar Detectors Forum Logon:


Economics & Politics Discussion of the economic and political market driving factors of automated enforcement technology.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 2009-07-30
NMA Reporter NMA Reporter is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: 2008 Feb
Posts: 125
NMA Reporter is on a distinguished road
Exclamation Federal Judge Tosses Missouri Red Light Camera Challenge

Article: Federal Judge Tosses Missouri Red Light Camera Challenge

Missouri federal courthouseThe US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri last week threw out a challenge to a red light camera program based on federal anti-racketeering statutes. The city of Arnold was first in the state to set up automated ticketing machines in 2005, a move that the attorney general at the time suggested was illegal. A group of motorists filed suit against the city and American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the private company responsible for issuing the $94.50 tickets.

The ticket recipients charged that the way ATS and Arnold colluded to extract cash from vehicle owners was similar to an organized criminal enterprise. This is a violation that would, they argued, fall under the RICO Act which was codified in 1970 as a tool to fight the mafia. Judge Thomas C. Mummert, III rejected this argument in part because the law states that victims must cite specific injuries to "business or property." As the motorists' cases are still pending in state court, none has paid a fine.

"To the extent plaintiff allege they have suffered embarrassment, humiliation, and inconvenience, plaintiffs lack standing to pursue their RICO claims, as such injuries are more akin to personal injuries than to injuries to 'business or property,'" Mummert wrote in his 48-page decision. "Plaintiffs have satisfied their burden to show perceptible harm for purposes of standing to pursue their civil RICO claims, but only to the extent they may have expended money for attorneys' fees and costs related to the defense of the notices of violation, and not to the extent they allege they have suffered embarrassment, humiliation, and inconvenience."

The drivers went on to argue that their rights to due process under federal law were violated by the Arnold ordinance that declared the owner of a vehicle guilty of an offense unless he can prove otherwise.

"In essence, the parties' positions on whether or not plaintiffs' federal due process rights were violated depend upon whether the ordinance violation proceeding is characterized as civil or criminal in nature," Mummert explained. "Plaintiffs' due process claims rely on their position that the ordinance is criminal in nature, and defendants counter that the ordinance is civil in nature."

Mummert found that the city could change a criminal violation into a civil one merely by declaring it "civil" and ensuring the only penalty imposed is monetary in nature. Evidence that the program never actually accomplished the goal of reducing accidents and was really designed to generate revenue is immaterial to this question.

"The only penalty available for a Red Light Camera Ordinance violation is the imposition of a fine, which requires the payment of money," Mummert wrote. "Such a monetary penalty is not deemed a punishment. Therefore, this factor supports a determination that the ordinance and its sanction are civil in nature.... Any evidence of the effect the red light cameras may have had on the amount of accidents at traffic signal intersections or the amount of revenue in the city's coffers does not indicate the non-punitive, public safety purpose of the ordinance was pretextual or a sham at the time the ordinance was enacted."

Once the red light camera is declared a civil matter, constitutional protections no longer apply. Mummert concluded by dismissing the idea that ATS and Arnold engaged in mail fraud by knowingly sending notices of violation that contained false legal threats. The judge dismissed in full the federal allegations made against ATS and Arnold while declining to address questions of illegal conduct made under state law.

A copy of the decision is available in a 160k PDF file at the source link below. Source
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Red Light Camera Program Returns to Virginia NMA Reporter Economics & Politics 0 2009-06-17 13:20
Red Light Camera Companies Exploit Victims to Push Florida Law NMA Reporter Economics & Politics 0 2009-04-26 00:32
Red Light Camera and Speed Camera CrimeLine NMA Reporter Economics & Politics 0 2009-01-07 22:11
Missouri: Anti-Red Light Camera Referendum Gains Momentum NMA Reporter Economics & Politics 0 2009-01-05 23:26
Houston Red Light Camera Report Undermines TxDOT Camera Study NMA Reporter Economics & Politics 1 2009-01-01 08:24


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:38.


©2019 SpeedTrapHunter