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Missouri Supreme Court Takes On St. Louis City Red-Light-Camera Case

redlightcamera123.jpg
Sylvar on Flickr
Sorry, St. Louis, but these probably aren't going away anytime soon.
After rejecting seven other red-light-camera cases, the Missouri Supreme Court has agreed to take the case against St. Louis and decide once and for all how the city should run its traffic-camera program.

The court isn't likely to eliminate the city's red light camera program, like a circuit court judge tried to do in February. Rather, the city expects the high court to clarify the state's muddled approach to the cameras.

"Conflicting Missouri Court of Appeals rulings have led to confusion on the proper enforcement of red-light cameras," says Deputy City Counselor Michael Garvin. "We are pleased the Supreme Court is willing to clarify the situation."

See also: Can This Simple Letter Get You Out of Paying a Red-Light or Speeding Camera Ticket?

The case, Tupper v. the City of St. Louis, comes from two women who were ticketed by red-light cameras even though they weren't driving the offending cars at the time.

Judge Steven Ohmer invalidated St. Louis' red-light-camera program earlier this year but then changed the ruling to allow the city to operate red-light cameras during the appeals process. Since then, all the fines collected from red-light runners have been held in escrow.

The state's highest court hasn't taken all the red-light-camera cases that have come its way, but it agreed in May to hear a speed-camera case from KMOX radio host Charlie Brennan.

St. Louis has unwaveringly defended its use of red-light cameras to catch drivers without dispatching officers to wait at intersections. The number of citations issued in intersections with cameras decreased 63 percent from May 2007 to November 2013, according to the city. More than 80 percent of drivers who get a ticket do not get a second one.

See also: Red Light Cameras Capture St. Louis' Worst Car Crashes of 2013: Video

"I believe that the cameras are a valuable public-safety tool," says St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson. "Red-light safety cameras have saved lives, reduced crashes and improved driving behavior in St. Louis and across the state."

Plus, the cameras are a real moneymaker. The city brought in $32 million in red-light tickets as of February, minus the $10.2 million that goes to the camera operators, American Traffic Solutions, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.



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17 comments
labelbro
labelbro

Red Light camera's aren't so bad...the main problem is the ones that check to see if you have a complete stop behind the line when you make a right turn.  That is BULLSHIT.  Most people go a bit past the line to see oncoming traffic better, but when you do this you get a ticket.


The right-turn cameras need to go.  

zh101
zh101

Hey Scott you must not own a car or have any friends to drive said car.  I can never break the law as you so inquisitively suggest, but can't guarantee my friend borrowing my car doesn't run a light and I get the ticket.  I imagine a prick like you wouldn't let anyone borrow his car anyway though.  Here's to Scott's world, glad we're allowed to live in it.

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

The only ones who complain are the law breakers. Funny huh ?

Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

I am never paying a red light camera ticket.

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

On average you are on camera 42 times a day. Who cares ? Get used to it. You all want privacy until you are a victim of a crime and the camera identifies the attacker. Lol

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

If you read what you posted charged and convicted are two separate terms. Lol.

Eric Farlow
Eric Farlow

The average american commits 3 felonies a day. There's such a thing as corrupt lawmaking.

John Eigenseher
John Eigenseher

FYI, The image posted is of a traffic camera, not a red light camera.

Jackie Marie
Jackie Marie

It's not about "doing illegal things" it's about whether it's constitutional to accuses someone of a crime without proper evidence or an appeal. Just because it's your car doesn't mean you're the one committing the crime. What if you have two peoples names on your car or you lent your car to someone and it happens on their watch. You didn't commit the crime, but you're expected to be punished for it. If they had photos of your face then that would make things a lot easier.

Tony Bologna
Tony Bologna

People get awfully upset when they get tickets for doing illegal things.

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

Me neither, because I don't fucking run red lights.

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