California's leading red-light company claims the Court of Appeals
got it wrong, and it wants the Supreme Court to make it right.
Redflex petitioned the justices to depublish
California v. Retke, which challenged the legality of red-light cameras.
Unpublished cases have no precedential value in The Golden State. Michael Stewart, the company's
attorney, told the court that the case "would cause confusion in
the traffic courts and in the public." Mr. Stewart also attacked
the court's finding, pointing out that Mr. Retke's expert never
actually reviewed the video evidence. Mr. Retke's attorney countered
that Redflex did not turn over the video until very late in the process,
so the expert did not have the opportunity to examine it. He also reminded
the justices that the red-light camera was 40 percent obstructed.
The Supreme Court has the final say as to which cases are published.
Retke case puts forth two very good defenses to a red-light camera ticket in
Bakersfield. The yellow light is often a fraction of a second too short,
meaning that the camera snaps a picture too early while a vehicle is still
in the intersection. In addition, additional signage, and sometimes the
traffic signals themselves, often make these cameras very difficult to
see, especially from odd angles.
Sometimes the cameras do not record a vehicle stop; for example, a car
may stop so briefly prior to making a right turn on red that the camera
cannot tell that the car stopped moving. Red-light cameras also fail to
account for time of day. A person who rolls through a red light at three
in the morning is clearly no threat to others on the roadway, which was
supposedly the reason these cameras were set up in the first place.