FC: Judge dismisses 290 red light camera tickets in San Diego
----- Original Message -----
From: "Declan McCullagh" <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2001 6:28 AM
Subject: FC: Judge dismisses 290 red light camera tickets in San Diego
SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO In re: Red Light Camera
Cases CASE NO. 579275D ORDER EXCLUDING EVIDENCE
The People of the State of Califomia,
John Allen, et al.,
The prosecution's arguments have not persuaded the Court to change its ruling. The prosecution relies on People v. Adams (1976)59 Cal.App.3d 559 and the cases following it for the proposition that failure to follow the statute only goes to the weight of the evidence and not to its inadmissibility. As pointed out in People v. Williams (2001) 89 Cal.App.4th 85 at 100,
Adams and its progeny were crafted to address anomalies or occasional errors and innocent lapses in law enforcement. They were not meant to provide a means for peace officers and their agencies to ignore clear, easy-to-apply statutory law and administrative rules, for any reason, including budget or personnel constraints.
In this case, the failure of the city to operate the system as required by the legislature, combined with the contingent fee paid to Lockheed Martin goes far beyond Adams or any of the cases which follow Adams. The Court sees no difference between a contingent fee to a private corporation and a contingent fee paid to an individual.
Therefore, the Court's ruling will stand. The evidence from the red light cameras will not be admitted.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED; September 4, 2001
Ronald L. Styn
Judge of the Superior Court
By Len Novarro
September 4, 2001
SAN DIEGO A San Diego judge Tuesday threw out 290 traffic tickets issued to motorists by the city's controversial red light camera system, placing the privately operated program in jeopardy along with its millions of dollars in revenue.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Ronald Styn, ruling in a case that has been closely watched on both sides of a growing debate over the new technology, said that a contingency fee paid to the private operator of the city's system, Lockheed Martin IMS, made the evidence unreliable.
"The evidence from the red light cameras will not be admitted," Judge Ronald Styn said in reaffirming his Aug. 15 opinion in a class-action lawsuit against Lockheed Martin. Styn's ruling came after he heard arguments from attorneys representing the motorists and by Deputy City Attorney Steven Hansen, who said he was considering an appeal.
"I'm pretty adamant," Hansen said. "The judge's decision was incorrect. The judge said that there was no problem with the camera's system. The only problem ... was that a private company was operating it."
Attorney Arthur Tait, who represented the motorists, said he last week filed a suit in federal court under the government's anti-racketeering statute asking the city to reimburse 100,000 motorists already fined.
The plaintiffs are arguing that the city engaged in a scheme to defraud the public. Lockheed Martin, which has been operating the system since 1998, is also named in the suit. While his decision is not binding in other cases, Styn said evidence in this suit was unreliable because the system was operated by a private entity on a contingency fee basis, which was not what the state legislature intended when it passed the statute that gave the go-ahead for the cameras, he said.
Since the cameras were installed at 19 intersections, they have issued citations carrying a $271 fine for each conviction, with Lockheed Martin getting $70 of every fine paid. Attorneys for the motorists argued that because the company's fees were based on the number of tickets issued, the system was flawed.
Lockheed Martin's goal was "to grab as many people as they can," said plaintiff's attorney Christopher Plourd.
But Hansen argued that even if the state statute had been violated, the evidence was still admissible, citing a 1976 case, People v. Adams. He also argued, "The fact that private employees are doing the work rather than government employees has no relevance on the trustworthiness of the evidence."
Styn disagreed, saying: "In this case, the failure of the city to operate the system as required by the legislature, combined with the contingent fee paid to Lockheed Martin goes far beyond Adams or any of the cases which follow Adams.
Meanwhile, the controversy here has attracted nationwide attention, especially in cities where similar systems are in use. Last week, city officials of Oxnard, California, said they will reevaluate their system in light of the San Diego case.
From: "Jack Dean"
To: "Declan McCullagh" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: San Diego's red-light cameras ruled illegal
Date: Tue, 4 Sep 2001 17:38:47 -0700
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 4TH, 2001
NEWSRADIO AM 600 KOGO (3P-6P) SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
ROGER'S RED LIGHT CAMERA LAWYERS.WIN!! (judge rules Scamera citations illegal..cannot be evidence)
ROGER so hyped when he hears the ruling this morning that he's already planning a party. Likely Thursday at ROGER'S On Fifth. Judge Ron Styn rules to reaffirm his previous decision that the conspiracy between the city of San Diego and Lockheed Martin is illegal, thus any evidence produced by the illegal scheme cannot be submitted in court against innocent drivers/extortion victims.
IMMEDIATE RESULT is that the 290 (or is it 400) cases involved in this specific matter are dismissed. The secondary result is that we'll want ALL OTHER extortion cases dismissed.even if folks paid up without a trial. We're talking every single
dime refunded to every single victim nabbed by a San Diego Scamera. Then we' re on to getting driving records returned to clean status..no points, marks..REMOVED. And then we want insurance companies to rebate any premium hikes associated with an illegal Scamera conviction. And if folks were forced to go to a traffic school.we want the city and/or Lockheed to
rebate that fee as well. How all this is gonna happen will be fodder for discussion on ROGER'S radio show in the days to come.
ANOTHER RESULT OF JUDGES RULING today is that communities all over America will have to re-look at their
in progress or proposed Scamera projects. We're not legal but we guess that this ruling has no validity in a D.C. or Carolina court, but any judge worth salt has to consider San Diego as the cesspool of this criminal conspiracy and measure cases against our now proclaimed and validated miscarriage of justice.
ROGER VOWED in May of 2000 that he'd shut down the Scameras in San Diego. Not only has that happened, but we're well on our way to ensuring that they never return as entrapment, revenue scheming, extortion, entrapment gadgets.
THIS VICTORY IS SWEET listen up on the radio today as ROGER thanks those who made it happen.but know beforehand that he is likely to give supreme credit to all those thousands of men and women who said "hell No," and took their cases to
court. Took time from work, were abused too often by the court system, demanded justice and many who paid more than the price of the Scamera ticket to fight against the City/Lockheed conspiracy. This morning's verdict belongs not only to ROGER'S Red Light Lawyers, but also to the 290 (or is it 400) victims who stood up, demonstrated backbone and raised their swords
against the windmill. We hope they'll join us on Thursday to rejoice!!
AND BEAR IN MIND that this battle resumes on several fronts. Our class action lawsuit a work in progress. The newly filed federal RICO suit of last Thursday is just aborning. We'll need to keep at least one good eye on that "Independent" city audit of the entire Scamera fiasco. Steve Peace legislation in Sacramento will need our support (and beefing up.Dems are watering down Senator Peace's bill and it may not make it to full floor votes this session).Oh, and note please from yesterdays post on ROGER'S News, that the city of Oxnard, (home to the bogus and too much quoted Red Light Scameras are for safety insurance study) is now re-thinking its Scamera program, based on the illegal criminal conspiracy perpetrated in San Diego. That should stop Chief David and others from spouting Oxnard Report nonsense. (wonder if we can use David's handcuffs on him? Do Chiefs have handcuffs?..humm)
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