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Hearing Tomorrow Over Court Summons Regarding Red-Light Cameras

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Bevis Schock: Itchin' for a red-light fight.
Attorney Bevis Schock will be in St. Louis County Circuit Court on Friday asking a judge to tell Creve Coeur officials to quit harassing his client over a red-light camera infraction.

The Clayton lawyer filed a petition Monday after his client, Mary Nottebrok of St. Louis County, received a summons form Creve Coeur warning her that a warrant would be put out for her arrest if she missed a court date this month regarding a red-light camera infraction from August 2009.

Nottebrok received a similar letter in May informing her that she'd have a warrant out for her arrest if she didn't attend a court hearing over the ticket. Back then, Schock fired off a letter to Creve Coeur arguing that the city lacked probable cause to arrest her over the red-light camera infraction because the image captured by the camera doesn't show who was actually driving the vehicle.

Creve Coeur responded to Schock's letter with a note of its own -- writing that the summons was a mistake. "The summons issued in this particular instance was issued in error and is being withdrawn. Your client will not have a matter on the June 2 docket, nor will any warrant be issued at this time."

Schock says his client was surprised then when she got a similar warning this month telling her to appear in court over the ticket or face the threat of arrest.

He believes Creve Coeur is one of several local municipalities using missed court dates as a way to go after people who refuse to pay for red-light camera tickets.

"They don't have probable cause to issue a warrant for the ticket, so they issue the warrant for the missed court date," says Schock.

At the hearing on Friday the attorney says he'll ask the judge to quash the summons against his client all future summons over the matter. In the meantime, he's encouraging anyone else who's received similar summons to give him a call.

Carl Lumley, an attorney for Creve Coeur, couldn't be reached for comment for this post, but back in June told Daily RFT that he didn't see an issue with the court summons. "We're not looking to intimidate people, but we are trying to inform that court is a serious matter," said Lumley. "And a warrant doesn't mean you've been found guilty. It's just a way of getting you to court."

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