|State Sen. Jim Lembke has a reason to smile.|
I was on vacation last week so I apologize for missing this bombshell. Still, it's worth mentioning now seeing how it got scant local coverage, with seemingly just one TV station last week reporting
On May 22, St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Theresa Counts Burke acquitted State Sen. Jim Lembke of a red-light camera citation he received in south city in January 2011. In a court hearing a month after the violation, a St. Louis municipal judge found Lembke guilty
of driving his Honda Accord through a stop light even as the state senator argued that city prosecutors had no way of proving he was actually the driver of the vehicle. Lembke, a longtime critic of the cameras
, appealed the ruling to circuit court, which led to last week's ruling.
In her decision last Tuesday, Judge Burke agreed with a ruling this past February in which St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Mark Neill declared the city's red light ordinance void
because its citations violated due process in that they didn't contain a court date or a way to challenge the ticket except on the grounds that the vehicle was stolen. (View Neill's order.
Judge Burke reiterated the same, finding that the "City of St. Louis Ordinance No. 66868, the Red Light Camera Ordinance, violates the Defendant's rights to procedural due process."
Lembke's attorneys, Bevis Schock and Hugh Eastwood, had wanted to argue other legal merits of the city's ordinance, but Judge Burke stated that those arguments were moot following Lembke's acquittal on the due process motion.
Meanwhile, the city says it has since changed its citations to allow for due process. Moreover, the city is appealing Judge Neill's ruling from February.