by Mike Masnick
Wed, Aug 12th 2009 7:48am
Yet again, we find out about a story of a city putting in place red light cameras, and using them not to increase public safety (per the official claim of the city) but to drive revenue -- even by shortening the length of yellow lights to under the legal limit, thereby increasing both ticket revenue and accidents. Luckily, this time, in Santa Ana, California, a judge has declared the whole program illegal and declared all of those who received the tickets under the program as "not guilty" (found via Jeff Nolan). There were a few reasons for this. First, the city broke the law in not clearly announcing which traffic lights would have the cameras with 30 days' notice. In fact, the city actually moved the cameras around with no notice in an attempt to maximize revenue. The city claimed that it gave notice... by stating at a city council meeting that they'd be moving the cameras around, but without indicating where. Also, the city had promised that the lights would have a minimum yellow light of 4.4 seconds, but 17 of 18 lights checked had yellow lights that were less than 4.0 seconds, which makes a huge difference. The judge also specifically ruled that the people who got tickets this way were "not guilty" rather than just dismissing their cases, to avoid having their cases somehow reinstated.
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