Judge Stops Red Light Camera Enforcement in St. Louis City

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No more red-light cameras for St. Louis! For now, at least...
St. Louis City must stop using cameras to ticket drivers for running red lights, a judge ruled Tuesday.

An injunction granted by Circuit Judge Steven Ohmer says the city must stop sending tickets or processing fines for red-light camera violations.

In other words: A judge says St. Louis can't make you pay your red light camera tickets, for now.

See also: St. Louis City Counselor: Don't Like Red Light Cameras? Don't Drive.

Update, Noon: The city of St. Louis says it will appeal the judge's ruling and may go to legislators for a state-wide law on red light cameras.

Ohmer's judgement is the latest in a series of Missouri court decisions trending away from the use of cameras, but the patchwork of contrasting laws means the final decision will probably be up to the state Supreme Court.

Missouri courts have recently ruled that red-light cameras violate the state constitution because they punish the owner, not necessarily the driver, of the car, in cases out of Arnold, Ellisville, Kansas City, Creve Coeur and Hazelwood.

See also: -Court Rules Arnold's Red-Light Camera Ordinance Unconstitutional
-Missouri Court Rules Ellisville Red Light Cameras Violate State Law

St. Louis remains adamant that red light cameras are a successful crime-solving tool, especially since they allow police officers to focus on patrolling neighborhoods.

"Red light safety cameras save lives and are a proven, effective tool that is changing driver behavior in the City of St. Louis," says St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson. "At some of the earliest intersections to install cameras, citations are down more than 80 percent. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, from 2010 - 2012, total traffic fatalities in the City of St. Louis dropped 19 percent and total crashes have dropped 12 percent."

In 2012, a deadly crash caught by a red light camera helped law enforcement solve an outstanding murder. The city says there are 150 cases where police have requested video from red light cameras to assist in investigations.

Two St. Louis drivers, Sarah Tupper and Sandra Thurmond, filed the injunction in November after receiving tickets for red-light camera violations. Ohmer granted the injunction February 11.

Continue to read the judge's decision.


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45 comments
Smok Eingspirit
Smok Eingspirit

why worry about cameras on streets just demand that the auto makers have tickets that automatically print in the car when ever the person speeds or parks to long- lets end there addiction to our money

Thomas Neal
Thomas Neal

To Whom it May Concern, I received a letter claiming I committed a violation of a speeding law in the District of Columbia on 04/21/2012. As per the instructions, I am writing to plead ‘not guilty’ to this charge. Although this option is said to result in this matter going to court; it is my suggestion that the charges simply be dropped. This suggestion comes out of respect for tax payers, and my request that their hard earned money not be wasted in such proceedings. As there is no evidence of my involvement with this alleged ‘crime’, as well as the fact that I am not granted my 6th amendment right to face my ‘accuser’ (a camera); I see no way the government could prove my guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I also see find no legal requirement for me to implicate someone else in this process, as it is the government’s responsibility to prove a person’s guilt. It is also my 5th amendment right to remain silent on the matter. If it is the government’s decision to move forward in this matter, I would request copies of any evidence the prosecution may have of my involvement in the “offense”; as well as, all maintenance records for the camera(s) involved. Sincerely, Nathan Cox United States Army Veteran

Angelo Olegna
Angelo Olegna

Drivers: We hate cyclists, they break the law! Drivers: We hate red light cameras, they catch us when we break the law!

Harrison Elfrink
Harrison Elfrink

I heard the entire state of Missouri is reconsidering the red light tickets, St. Louis might have the state on its side.

Julie Parker Schmieder
Julie Parker Schmieder

On February 4 I was hit due to a guy running a red light. I wish there was a camera to catch him because it would make the insurance drama go faster.

Lorraine Stewart
Lorraine Stewart

I saw two cars today run red lights, so much for safety of law abiding citizens.

Christy Beem
Christy Beem

That's a relief. They go off for (legal!) right turns all the time.

Matt Hay
Matt Hay

So did the Missouri Eastern District Court of Appeals in Jeff Brunner/Kim Moore v. City of Arnold, that was handed down in December. Ruled Rebuttable Presumption is unconstitutional (issuing to registered owner and not driver), and likely a whole host of other issues which they remanded to back to Circuit. Here is the ED Opinion Summary: https://www.courts.mo.gov/file.jsp?id=68426

Karl Richards
Karl Richards

I would rather sit in jail than pay a cam ticket. Can the courts prove video and pics of my car were not electronically altered? Or prove I was driving the car at that time? Too many issues with it being a cam instead of a live cop who witnessed the event and got proof of license and insurance etc.

Ken Swecker
Ken Swecker

St. Paul ruled it unconstitutional recently. Arizona did also. Now St. Louis. Good stuff.

Matt Hay
Matt Hay

This is the same City who up until she "retired" the City Attorney was Patty Hagmann, who is married to ATS Employee Ed Rhode (who is Slays fmr PR guy, and now Steve Stenger in Stl. Co's PR Guy). She had to do every underhanded move she could since she had a direct financial conflict in the ordinance continuing. If the systems were shut down, it could hurt Ed's compensation.

Matt Hay
Matt Hay

Aboussie and the Good Ol' Boys in STL make almost a 10% cut, do not forget that. It goes straight into their political machine.

Matt Hay
Matt Hay

ATS is owned by Goldman Sachs Private Equity, what do you expect? The most disgusting thing however is that Joyce Aboussie makes almost 10% of ATS Missouri revenue via a consultancy agreement, which she then "invests" into Slay and others in the St. Raymonds crew to continue to control the city.

Matt Hay
Matt Hay

So, it is anecdotal then? Please post these statistics so that all can see them from your NSO. Sorry if I do not take your word on this, having actually seen the real numbers. Just very interesting in how they spun them to convince you there was somehow a decrease of anything.

Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

whoooooooooooooo hoooooooooooooooo (throwing confetti !!!)

Claire Wiman Wirt
Claire Wiman Wirt

I got a camera ticket gir going thru a light at 17 mph. Seriously? I can't even MAKE my car go 17 mph!! I was bring waved thru an intersection at Skinker during construction. I fought it !

Chris Crum
Chris Crum

They never were legally able to in the first place

Are Jay
Are Jay

Lol bud it is St .louis, a police officer policing, smh, lol

Karen Lynn Neuf
Karen Lynn Neuf

The upside to red light cameras was that it made people think before intentionally crossing into the intersection and blocking traffic! So many times Ive sat thru green lights because the intersection was blocked.

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

so are the 2 i just got from making a right on red null and void...

Karen Hall
Karen Hall

They'll just plant cops at those lights 24 hours a day. They will find a way to keep that revenue.

Dana Geister
Dana Geister

Why don't you go ahead and have our NSO post those statistics to one of the websites our neighborhood uses. I cannot find one thing that substantiates your claim.

Steve Horak
Steve Horak

Well what about the Dbags in Hazelwood??? Can we shut that down too? These towns are suppose to belong to the people. Let the people decide if they need cameras. Not the idiots in government.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

American Traffic Solutions has received 8.3 million dollars, they put them up and collect the cash... good deal right?

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

Sounds like the Grand/44 intersection and street along SLU should be redesigned... where is SLU leadership? This is about dollars, not safety, or else American Traffic Solutions would donate their cut to improve the streetscape for students to travel safely.

Bud AkaCali
Bud AkaCali

Safety is never an excuse to violate Constitutional rights.. I do sympathize with you.. but that is one of those scenarios where a red light cam is not needed.. good old fashion police presence at that intersection would do the trick just fine.. and it would spare us all from being punished for the actions of a few.

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson

My lawyer told me throw them away ive got 3. 2 of which my employee was driving one of our trucks. That was 2 years ago never heard anymore about them. Just a money thing. But as lordthomas was saying it does curve speeder and light runners. I think they should use them just for the hit and run evidence. being is their already there.

Carlos Lardizabal
Carlos Lardizabal

Do we get a refund for the thousands of lights that were installed?

Abby Megginson
Abby Megginson

Good. They did this in LA too. They found out they cause more accidents than they try and prevent.

LordThomas Fortenberry
LordThomas Fortenberry

This is sad as there has been so many accidents and deaths at the red lights at 44 and grand where people have run the lights killing SLU students and hospital employees..... ever since they went into effect there is minimal people running lights....People speeding down Grand at 60MPH to save 2 minutes at a light and then killing someone is a joke.... These red light cameras have curtailed that behavior.

Chris Ferguson
Chris Ferguson

they tried to avoid the injunction by dismissing the tickets of the people bringing suit. Dirty tricks St. louis. Didn't work

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

The most disgusting part of these Red Light Cameras is that American Traffic Solutions collections MILLIONS of StL dollars... which proves it's all about the DOLLAR not safety.

billj598
billj598 topcommenter

Next, the Courts should issue orders requiring these Cities and Municipalities to fully refund the un-Constitutional fines they extorted from motorists with these Red-Light Robber cameras.  What's that ?  A percentage of the fines went to the camera's manufacturers ?  Tough....let the corrupt elected officials who put these things in place and who got wined and dined by the camera's salesmen figure out how to recoup those funds.   

Hayek
Hayek

@billj598  Perhaps Joyce Aboussie can help Slay pay it back. She pockets almost 10% of ATS's Missouri revenues via a consultancy agreement.

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