Attorney Decodes Numbers On Redlight Camera Photo To Prove That The Light Was Green
from the why-isn't-the-light-in-the-photo? dept
We've seen all sorts of stories about various cities shortening the timing on yellow lights to try to get more money from redlight cameras, but here's a twist. Up in Portland, apparently they'll send you a ticket even if you didn't run a red light at all! Reader Josh sends in the story of a lawyer who was surprised to get an automated ticket as he didn't remember running a red light at all. Of course, the photographic "proof" just happens to not show the actual light (convenient!). However, there were various numbers on the images, and he had to decode what those numbers meant to prove that he hadn't actually run the light:
The first photo shows Ginsberg's Volkswagen a few feet before the crosswalk at Southwest Fourth Avenue and Jefferson Street. Using a key provided by the city, Ginsberg learned that the coding stamped at the top of the photo indicates the light had been red for 24.9 seconds. Ginsberg got a signed letter from a city signal engineer, stating that the light remained red for 25 seconds -- one-tenth of a second after the photo was snapped.
The next photo taken about two seconds later shows Ginsberg's car in the middle of the intersection, but the same coding now reads 00.0 -- indicating the light is no longer red. It's green. It does not resume counting until the light turns red again..
Then apply a little basic math:
A code on the second photo indicated he was traveling 15 mph. In one-tenth of a second, Ginsberg calculated he traveled less than 2 1/2 feet -- his front wheels wouldn't have reached the crosswalk.
The police originally defended the ticket claiming -- falsely -- that the light was a 26 second light. However, after the case was dismissed, in a video the police admitted it was human error, but insisted that this was the only time this ever happened:
But, how can he say that? Most recipients have no idea what the numbers in the photo mean or how to fight it. This was just the first time the police got caught issuing a bogus redlight camera ticket.