Red-light cameras in Bakersfield do not violate motorists' Constitutional
rights, according to a California appeals court. In
Jacquez v. City of Victorville, the three plaintiffs received red-light camera tickets in the city, and
they claimed that the cameras were unconstitutional.
The Court relied heavily on
People v. Goldsmith, the Supreme Court case that upheld red-light cameras, to refute each
of the Plaintiffs' allegations. VC 21455 does authorize localities
to install red-light cameras, and the Court interpreted this law as allowing
governments to contract out many functions, as long as the city or county
retained "overall control," whatever that means.
Essentially, the Plaintiffs claimed that the testifying police officers
lacked personal knowledge, they were not properly trained to review the
video evidence, they are unfamiliar with the software and that the camera's
strobe lights violate the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
The Court ruled that the first three allegations were essentially a re-hash
of Goldsmith, and it used the same analysis to strike them down. Basically,
evidence in red-light camera cases is legal and reliable, because the
Legislature made it legal and reliable by amending the Evidence Code.
As for the strobe lights, the court rather weekly denied that the red-light
camera lights were a safety hazard and, in any event, the Manual of Uniform
Traffic Control Devices did not create a private right of action. In other
words, even if the strobes are illegal, there's nothing you can do
about it in court.
Jacquez is an
unpublished opinion from the Fourth Appellate District, so it has precedential value only
in very limited circumstances.
There are still numerous procedural and factual defenses to red light camera
tickets. Contact our office for a free phone consultation on your rights.