For traffic ticket attorney Los Angeles red light camera became a little less friendly. Traffic offenders who are captured by traffic cameras as they run passed red light are most likely to pay their ticket fines as the California Supreme Court finally ruled that images captured by traffic cameras are valid evidence against offending drivers.
This decision seen as a victory for law enforcement was made on Thursday, June 5th 2014, in a case involving a Los Angeles – area woman challenging a $436 traffic ticket she received after a traffic camera captured her running a red light in the city of Inglewood.
Irrespective of critics’ opinion that automated traffic cameras are more of revenue – generating trick for local government than effective tools for public safety, the court ruled that pictures captured by automated cameras of motorists who enter an intersection on a red light can be legally presumed as accurate unless proven otherwise.
Argument by Carmen Goldsmith that evidence from traffic camera images could be taken as hearsay was dismissed by the court saying that hearsay could be committed by a human, not a camera. While her defense attorney’s demand for testimony by the manufacture of the camera about the camera’s operations and reliability was rejected by the court. According to Chief Justice Tani Cantil – Sakauye, the substantive use of photographs as essentially a silent witness to the content have long been approved.
As a traffic ticket attorney will tell you, the use of cameras has been stopped by several local governments in California because of legal cases arising when residents contested the validity of their tickets according to Patrick Santos, who submitted a brief in support of Goldsmith. He said as a result of the ruling, he expects to see resurgence in traffic cameras across California. According to him, they have green lit the red – light traffic cases which will rise to a massive increase in these companies.
Reacting to the ruling, The American Civil Liberties Union, a non- critic of cameras being used for traffic law enforcement, raised concern about its effect on the privacy rights of the people. According to Will Matthews, a spokesperson of a California arm of ACLU, the cameras have potential to collect enormous amount of data. He stated that a warrant should be required if law enforcement were to use the data for non – traffic related cases. This step will assure the populace that their privacy right will not be violated by a technology like this