A Florida court has ruled that red-light camera tickets are illegal.
In City of Hollywood v. Arem, the Court essentially asked whether the state could delegate its power to issue traffic citations to a third party, which in this case was ATS, a red-light camera company based in Arizona. Mr. Arem allegedly ran a red light in Hollywood. Although a Traffic Infraction Enforcement Officer reviewed the citation before it was mailed out, that cursory review was the state's only involvement in the process. ATS did everything else. Mr. Arem contested the citation, and the trial court ruled that simply hitting the "accept" button was insufficient, and that ATS had illegally issued the citation.
The appeals court upheld that decision, stating that the state did not have the right to delegate this power to a third party.
The decision is not binding anywhere except in some parts of The Sunshine State, but it could spell the end of red-light cameras as we know them.
Cities have red-light cameras for financial reasons: the cameras make money. If judges begin requiring a police officer to actively oversee the process, the red-light cameras may no longer be cost efficient. The case is persuasive, meaning that an attorney in Kern County may use it as a way to convince the judge to throw out the ticket or the prosecutor to reduce the fine and/or points.
Arem is probably headed for the Florida Supreme Court, as are a number of other red-light and speed-limit camera cases throughout the country.