Missouri Appellate Court Hears Red-Light Camera Case

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Appellate judges for the Missouri Court of Appeals - Eastern District heard arguments this morning in a lawsuit challenging Creve Coeur's red-light camera ordinance.

The Creve Coeur municipal court and St. Louis County Circuit Court have both ruled against plaintiff Mary Nottebrok, of St. Louis County, in previous trials. Her attorney, Bevis Schock, hopes that this time a panel of three appellate judges will deliver the ruling that he and his client seek.

Schock argued today that the Creve Coeur law violates a person's right to due process, as it automatically assumes that the owner of the car was the person driving the vehicle at the time of the infraction. Schock ran a scenario by the judges: Under Creve Coeur's law, if a son ran a red-light while borrowing his father's car and the son went to court and admitted running the light, it wouldn't matter. The citation would still be issued in the father's name.

Moreover, Schock argued that the Creve Coeur ordinance is composed as an end-run around the state law. As written, motorists aren't cited for running a red light. Instead, they're cited for being present in the intersection when the light is red. Writing the law that way keeps it from being a moving violation under state law.

City attorney Carl Lumley represented Creve Coeur and argued that the city had the right to draft its ordinances as it sees fit, especially when those laws deal with public safety.

The appellate justices won't likely render a decision for a couple months.  

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Drivers with fast cars seem not threatened with photo enforced traffic system. Maybe as a penalty, they must only be allowed of driving scooters.

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Jeff R.
Jeff R.

The traffic sign is so much clear to be understood. Why break the then? 


Privatized traffic law enforcement systems may or may not be a useful tool in keeping drivers and pedestrians safe. But when private firms and municipalities consider profits first, and safety second, the public interest is threatened.  Before pursuing a camera system contract, local governments should heed the advice (LINK) of the Federal Highway Administration and first investigate traffic engineering solutions for problem intersections or roadways. If officials decide that private enforcement systems are appropriate, they should avoid deals that constrain decisions about protecting safety. Privatized traffic law enforcement should be used solely as a tool for enhancing traffic safety – not as a cash cow for municipalities or private firms. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group will be releasing a report on this subject on October 27.  Once it is released, it will be available atwww.uspirg.org/trafficcamrep....  - Joe Donnellan for U.S. PIRG

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