Red-light cameras work, study says; judge rules some tickets unconstitutional

  • Red-light cameras might reduce accidents in KC, but St. Louis courts are giving them hell.

The same week that the Kansas City Police Department and American Traffic Solution declared red-light cameras in KC a success, a circuit judge in St. Louis ruled that some tickets ATS sent to motorists are unconstitutional, The Kansas City Daily Record reports.

In a narrow ruling on Monday, Judge Theresa Counts Burke acquitted driver Nicholas Pateri and state Sen. Jim Lembke (R-St. Louis) of running red lights because the tickets ATS mailed to them did not give the drivers a court date or fully inform them about their options to challenge the citations. The tickets only said they could challenge the fines by saying they were not driving or claiming that their cars had been stolen. Burke ruled that a violation of due process. She did not consider whether the use of cameras was constitutional.

It’s the second legal blow to ATS from a St. Louis court this year. In February, Judge Mark Neill ruled that the city’s red-light camera tickets violated drivers’ due process for the same reasons. But Neil’s ruling went much further than Burke’s. He ruled that the use of the cameras was a violation of the Constitution because the state Legislature never gave cities permission to issue tickets based on photos. St. Louis is appealing that ruling.

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