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The Legal Netherworld Of Traffic Cam Tickets, Where Everything Is Both Civil And Criminal, While Also Being Mostly Neither

from the American-Traffic-Systems-Multiverse dept

Adam MacLeod, law professor at Faulkner University, was the recipient of a traffic cam speeding ticket. The problem was that he wasn't driving the vehicle when the infraction occurred. So, it was his vehicle being ticketed, but he was being held responsible for someone else's infraction.

He decided to fight it, and that fight uncovered just how crooked the traffic cam system is. Not only are traffic camera manufacturers receiving a cut of every ticket issued, but tapping into this new revenue stream has prompted municipalities to undermine the judicial system.

MacLeod's detailed report of his fight against city hall is well worth reading in its entirety. But one hint of things to come reveals itself in MacLeod's conversation with the city's attorney when attempting to figure out how one goes about actually challenging a traffic cam ticket.

I asked her whether this was a criminal action or a civil action. She replied, “It’s hard to explain it in those terms.” I asked whether she intended to proceed under criminal procedural rules or in civil procedure. We would proceed under the “rules of criminal procedure,” she answered because this is a criminal case. I asked when I could expect to be charged, indicted, or have a probable cause determination. She replied that none of those events would occur because this is “a civil action.” So I could expect to be served with a complaint? No, no. As she had already explained, we would proceed under the criminal rules.

The attorney had no way of answering this question honestly, or even accurately. What MacLeod discovered during his speeding ticket battle is that his local government -- like many other local governments deploying traffic cameras -- had created a legal netherworld between civil and criminal law where tickets issued by software were allowed to operate.

[T]raffic cameras do not always produce probable cause that a particular person has committed a crime. To get around this “problem” (as a certain law-and-order president-elect might call it), several states have created an entirely novel phylum of law: the civil violation of a criminal prohibition. Using this nifty device, a city can charge you of a crime without any witnesses, without any probable cause determination, and without any civil due process.

In short, municipal officials and their private contractors have at their disposal the powers of both criminal and civil law and are excused from the due process duties of both criminal and civil law. It’s a neat trick that would have made King George III blush.

Once a government becomes reliant on a new, legally-questionable revenue stream, the "questionable" part tends to be buried under absurd claims about traffic safety and traffic accident deaths. At this point, the entire system is corrupted. Legislators like the money. Cops like the money. The camera company (in this case, American Traffic Solutions) likes the money. Everything that needs to be done to ensure the cashflow doesn't dry up is done, including engaging in perjury.

MacLeod was finally allowed to address the proxy accusing him of speeding: the local PD. Its testifying officer buried himself (along with the city and ATS) during cross-examination.

On cross-examination, I established that:

- He was not present at the time of the alleged violation.

- He has no photographic evidence of the driver.

- There were no witnesses.

- He does not know where Adam MacLeod was at the time of the alleged violation.

And so on. I then asked the question one is taught never to ask on cross—the last one. “So, you signed an affidavit under the pains and penalties of perjury alleging probable cause to believe that Adam MacLeod committed a violation of traffic laws without any evidence that was so?”

Without hesitating he answered, “Yes.” This surprised both of us. It also surprised the judge, who looked up from his desk for the first time. A police officer had just testified under oath that he perjured himself in service to a city government and a mysterious, far-away corporation whose officers probably earn many times his salary.

Once you're corrupt, it's all over. The officer MacLeod questioned seemingly didn't realize his complicity in this corruption until he was directly questioned. In all fairness, he'd likely been told everything about the ticketing system was above-board, legally and constitutionally.

But once the new system -- one that is neither criminal nor civil -- is challenged, it falls apart. MacLeod reports that Alabama residents fought back against the deployment of traffic cameras, resulting in the repeal of the state's traffic cam law. Not that his mattered to the city of Montgomery's (where MacLeod resides) governance.

[M]ontgomery’s defiant mayor announced that the city would continue to operate the program. Curiously, he asserted that to stop issuing tickets would breach the city’s contract with American Traffic Solutions.

That went on until the state's District Attorney stepped in to shut down the mayor's rogue traffic cam program. Or tried to. A compromise of sorts was reached. Car-mounted cameras were shut down, but stationary cameras already in place were allowed to keep issuing tickets summoning citizens to the city's judicial Kafka-esque criminal/civil intersection.

Unhappy with having to (sort of) comply with state law, the mayor made it clear that cameras may come and go, but newly-found revenue streams are here to stay.

In a fit of petulance, and belying his insistence that the program is motivated by safety concerns rather than revenue, the mayor announced that the amounts of fines for ordinary traffic violations will now be tripled.

That's how the system works. The money must flow from the citizens to their government. And if the pipeline has to run right through their civil rights and liberties, so be it. Traffic camera systems are sold as public safety enhancements, but all they're really doing is transferring more money -- and more power -- to governments willing to let contractual obligations with private companies take precedence over Constitutional amendments.


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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 18 Jan 2017 @ 7:20am

    > [M]ontgomery’s defiant mayor announced that the city would continue to operate the program. Curiously, he asserted that to stop issuing tickets would breach the city’s contract with American Traffic Solutions.

    If complying with a contractual obligation would place you in violation of the law, doesn't that make the contract itself legally indefensible and therefore void?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 18 Jan 2017 @ 8:25am

      em

      One would think so, but the wily company probably included an NDA in the contract so that no company employee nor any government employee could testify in any way about the contract. No testimony, no contract abrogation. Circle complete.

      /s

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 18 Jan 2017 @ 8:34am

      Re:

      That was my first thought. Since a contract is a document that's only worth is enshrined in law, wouldn't violation of the law in order to keep to the contract make it unenforceable?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 9:03am

        Re: Re:

        No.

        Suppose you make a contract with ACME Animals to have an elephant delivered to your house to live in your backyard. The city informs you that having elephants is illegal.

        You still have a valid contract with ACME, and even if you're unable to perform your part (since owning an elephant is illegal), you're still responsible to ACME- including making them whole if you breech, by refusing to accept the elephant when they deliver.

        The contract itself isn't illegal and won't be unenforceable due to the elephant prohibition.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Roger Strong (profile), 18 Jan 2017 @ 9:24am

          Re: Re: Re:

          And American Traffic Solutions has sued over this before:

          The Mississippi Legislature thought it was saying no to Big Brother in passing a law banning the use of traffic cameras three years ago. Now an Arizona-based manufacturer of the cameras is claiming the state has no such right.

          American Traffic Solutions has filed suit in Hinds County Circuit Court, claiming that the state’s three-year-old ban on traffic cameras is depriving it of private property without due compensation.

          It's unclear where the state violated a contract, or simply refused to renew or continue it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 18 Jan 2017 @ 1:50pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            To which the judge should respond "The state isn't 'depriving you' of any property, you still own your cameras, you're just not allowed to deploy them in this state."

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 10:55pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I think your analogy is flawed, as there are hundreds of legal uses for a courier-delivered elephant.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 19 Jan 2017 @ 12:16am

          Re: Re: Re:

          That analogy is a bit weird, but your contract would surely be just to have an elephant delivered - which, in itself may not be illegal. Your contract with ACME would be for purchase and delivery, they would not be involved in what you do with the animal afterwards. Therefore, your contract is legal even if you intend to do something illegal.

          To use another analogy - if you buy a gun in order to rob a bank, the contract you have with the gun seller is perfectly legal because they have no involvement with what you do after purchase. Your contract with them is simply to provide the firearm, which would most likely be legal if they follow the rules correctly. They may be liable if you tell them what you're going to do, but otherwise the contract is legal even if it involves illegal activity later on.

          So, this is a really bad analogy for the situation at hand. The point here is - was there a way of honouring the contract in a manner that did not break the law? If so, the city is on the hook for having chosen to do so, but if not how can the contract be legal given that it demands illegal activity?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Cowardly Lion, 19 Jan 2017 @ 2:56am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I would be astonished if both parties to the contract, but especially the buyer, did not insert their own exit clauses, not withstanding a wide set of force majeure clauses, that would permit either party to terminate the contract early.

            In this elephant analogy for example, the buyer could add a clause stating that the contract would become void if elephants are ever prohibited.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    zerosaves (profile), 18 Jan 2017 @ 8:36am

    In a fit of petulance, and belying his insistence that the program is motivated by safety concerns rather than revenue, the mayor announced that the amounts of fines for ordinary traffic violations will now be tripled.

    I would hope the local citizenry will take note of this during the next election.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 8:46am

    "but all they're really doing is transferring more money -- and more power -- to governments willing to let contractual obligations with private companies take precedence over Constitutional amendments."

    You don't say...

    If those pesky little "I cannot be bothered to vote for anyone but my president/king" pissants would just oust that fucking looney... well they just fucking get what they deserve!

    Combine that with the fact that the Sheriff is not in picture then what do you have? Corruption, and lovingly allowed corruption by the "I can't be bothered with this" citizens and their apathy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous, 18 Jan 2017 @ 8:52am

    process in MD

    My own experience in MD (posting anon, sorry)-- to protest the ticket claim for a speed camera, you get a court date (1 hour windows, not too bad).

    To contest the ticket (rather than ask for lenience), you have to plead "Not Guilty". However, the judge tells you that if you plead Guilty, he/she will look at the situation and make a decision, usually reducing the penalties. But if you please Not Guilty, you are potentially liable for the entire original fine plus court fees.

    I nervously still plead 'Not Guilty', at which point... the judge looked at the computer records, stated "the camera was not calibrated within the required time interval before and after the ticket, so the ticket is thrown out." I don't have to say anything.

    So all that tension-- for something that the computer should have automatically kicked out and never issued a ticket. Bear in mind, though, you have to sit through the scary speech on the risks of pleading Not Guilty, or they don't even check if the camera was valid.

    *sigh*

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 10:16am

      Re: process in MD

      Also writing from MD. From my fortunately limited experience, they also make the fine ($40) too low to make it worth contesting. It would probably cost me more than that to go contest it. That's where the Mayor of Montgomery really screwed up- triple the cost is probably going to raise it to where too many people will contest it to make it profitable.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 11:18am

      Re: process in MD

      I know every State/Province has its own laws, but here in BC if you receive a red light camera ticket by mail, you only need to pay the fine with no demerits on your license. If you contest the ticket and lose, you not only get the fine but also demerits on you license.

      Running a red light is $167 fine and 2 demerits. Each year, 2 demerits are removed from your record. If you have more than 3 demerits in a year, you pay an additional penalty each year until your demerits drop below 3. The penalty ranges from $175 for 4 to $24,000 for 50.

      So in most cases, it's cheaper to just pay the ticket than to fight it and get screwed with additional penalties. Keep in mind that you are mandated to buy insurance from the government and that they require you to pay all outstanding fines and penalties before allowing you to renew your license or insurance.

      On a side note, it's cheaper to fail to stop for police than it is to run a red light. It's only $138 and 3 demerits. But I guess you'd likely be on the receiving end of many other charges too if you did that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ShadowNinja (profile), 18 Jan 2017 @ 8:56am

    [M]ontgomery’s defiant mayor announced that the city would continue to operate the program. Curiously, he asserted that to stop issuing tickets would breach the city’s contract with American Traffic Solutions.

    Any Business Law 101 college course will clearly state that a contract is unenforceable if it involves something illegal.

    There's exceptions to this, such as if you unknowingly got tricked into violating the law (such as a moving company transporting a box full of illegal drugs, that had no idea what was in the box they were moving) then you can't get out of payment by revealing to the other party that it was an illegal contract.

    But this case clearly does not fall under any of the exceptions to the rules of illegal contracts not being enforceable. The city would be on solid ground to declare the contract with American Traffic Solutions is null and void thanks to the state making it illegal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 8:58am

    “So, you signed an affidavit under the pains and penalties of perjury alleging probable cause to believe that Adam MacLeod committed a violation of traffic laws without any evidence that was so?”

    Without hesitating he answered, “Yes.”

    And what about this dimwitted fucktard?

    An officer lying under oath (and just to show the level of his stupidity, freely admits it) is now perfectly acceptable?

    Could we find out what this fuckstick of a mayor thinks about that?

    What about the district attorney? Wonder if he's got the balls to hold one of their own to the same standards as everyone else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 9:20am

      Re:

      "An officer lying under oath (and just to show the level of his stupidity, freely admits it) is now perfectly acceptable?"

      Well, I would challenge you to provide a time in which it was not perfectly acceptable. Perjury laws are typically only enforced against citizens during testimony that makes mama government angry. Law enforcement has quite traditionally enjoyed the privilege of downright obtuse lying right in the court to the judges face.

      The Justice System is nothing of the sort.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        DCL, 18 Jan 2017 @ 10:41am

        Re: Re:

        I find it disappointing that when somebody on the stand answers honestly and straight forward there are others to jump on him to call him out as being "stupid" just because they didn't play the "word game" that every expects.

        Like the article states he was probably told it was all legal and legit and was just doing 'what he thought was right'.

        In my opinion, he should be shown leniency for his honesty if he continues to be cooperative and the information should be used to further investigate the conspiracy to disrupt due process (a Constitutional requirement right?).

        ... instead he likely will be thrown under the bus by all sides and be the only one that is punished and the bastardization of due process will continue unscathed.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 10:58am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I find it disappointing that when somebody on the stand answers honestly and straight forward there are others to jump on him to call him out as being "stupid" just because they didn't play the "word game" that every expects.

          Interesting point.

          So he's a morally sound person for telling the truth - with the truth being that he lied?

          I'd appreciate him more if he (wait for it...)didn't lie in the first fucking place.

          Fuck him and everyone else involved in this shitshow.

          ... instead he likely will be thrown under the bus by all sides and be the only one that is punished and the bastardization of due process will continue unscathed.

          He can take that up with the other assholes who told him it's "the right thing to do." Given that it's probably another cop, I'd expect nothing will happen to him.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            DCL, 18 Jan 2017 @ 11:03am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You do make a good point about him not signing it in the first place as it is perjury... but at this point do you encourage him to continue to help get back to due process or let him hang in the wind.

            At this point he is still probably employed but likely transferred to cleaning the drunk tank as his primary job.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 11:10am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              ... but at this point do you encourage him to continue to help get back to due process or let him hang in the wind.

              For me, I'd let him hang in the wind. When his own ass is on the line, I'd expect him to sing like a canary.

              "Help get back to due process" doesn't seem to be getting much support from the highest levels (e.g. the mayor's statement). Maybe if enough low level lackey's get the shaft, they won't be able to staff the department that handles these cases.

              Just thinking that if you can't effect change from the top down, you might as well try from the bottom up.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              mhajicek (profile), 18 Jan 2017 @ 4:23pm

              Consequences

              You need to show people that there are consequences for things like perjury, otherwise they'll keep doing things like this. "I was just following orders" is no excuse.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 2:15pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I find it disappointing that when somebody on the stand answers honestly and straight forward there are others to jump on him to call him out as being "stupid" just because they didn't play the "word game" that every expects. "

          You are the Disappointing one DCL. Where did I call them stupid? I once considered you a reasonable person. I guess I will have to retract that thought of mine for the time being.

          Further more... the word game is generally played by you all. Most people often care more about the theatricality of these things, I care more about the technical accuracy, hence my challenge to point out when and where police were frowned upon for lying in court!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DC Pathogen, 18 Jan 2017 @ 9:27am

    Stupid People

    If the citizens wouldn't just blindly pay the fines and contest these silly things and complain to their government representatives, this could go away.

    "I know this is probably wrong but I don't wan't to take the time to fight it, here just take my money."

    They set the fine just right so that it's not worth the hassle to go to court.

    This is all part of a systematic plan to rid the world of the middle class thru taxation, fees and fines.

    The poor are more easily controlled (placed in bondage) by the .1% that control the worlds financials. The middle class is the only group with more money collectively then the worlds power brokers.

    Financial Slavery.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John85851 (profile), 18 Jan 2017 @ 10:36am

      Re: Stupid People

      As the old saying goes, this is easier said than done. Here's the choice:
      1) Pay the $150 fine and be done with it.
      2) Fight it: go to court, take a day off from work (which will cost you how much?), go downtown, pay for parking, wait until your name is called, listen to the judge's speech about how pleading not guilty may cause you to have to pay the ticket and additional fines, and then risk pleading your case. Oh, and if you're found guilty, you get points on your license, which will raise your insurance rates and cost you more money.

      And the poor that are more easily controlled? They're the ones who can least afford to take a day off of work and take the risk of going to court.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 9:42am

    Traffic anti-safety cameras

    Around here, intersections with red light cameras have a sign as you approach notifying you of the camera. I make it a point to avoid situations that might require me to run a yellow light (technically legal if you can plead that stopping was more dangerous than going, e.g. if the road is wet or you were being tailgated), lest that yellow flip red. I might be able to argue a traffic cop out of the ticket (whether red or yellow) by pointing out it was unsafe to stop (assume for the sake of argument it really is unsafe). I doubt I can get out of a traffic camera that way, so I avoid the situation entirely. Incidentally, this means that I must drive poorly - hard stops to stay out of the intersection (at risk of being rear-ended), very cautious approach if I can't tell how much green time is left (thereby screwing up surrounding traffic that wants to go at or above the speed limit always), etc. Overall, traffic flow is worse because I trust the camera to be substantially less fair and competent than a traffic cop. Stories like this one, chronicling grossly unfair handling of enforcement, reinforce my belief that I am right to believe the camera's operators are out to screw me at every turn.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 10:15am

    I had a daydream once where everyone drove safely, responsibly, and within the bounds of all traffic enforcement requirements. In the end, it bankrupted the state.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TripMN, 18 Jan 2017 @ 10:32am

      Re:

      So you're daydreaming of bankrupting the State? I do believe there is a list for that, and now you are on it my friend.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Paul, 18 Jan 2017 @ 12:28pm

      Re:

      Your dream had self driving cars right? Who not only followed the law to the letter but would drive to service stations when lights burned out, repair centers when the door gets a ding, and maintenance shops every 3000 miles.

      Soon criminals found themselves delivered to the local PD shortly after a warrant is put out. Which happens the moment anything happens including expired license, a car put in manual mode, or a child more then 100 feet from his parental unit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 18 Jan 2017 @ 10:41am

    Driverless cars

    Here's a hypothetical question that will become real pretty soon: how does this system handle driverless cars?
    Let's say this is an Uber car with no one in it. And let's say that the car is owned by a person who's letting it drive around on its own to make money.
    Now suppose the traffic cam takes a picture of it doing something wrong.

    Who gets the ticket: the owner, since it's his car? Or Uber, since the car is "on duty" for them?
    And how does the owner fight the ticket since the traffic cam is at fault because the car was probably doing everything correctly because of its programming?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 2:11pm

      Re: Driverless cars

      Do not worry. The police will seize the car under civil asset forfeiture since you can not prove t was not used to transport drugs.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    techdirtReader, 18 Jan 2017 @ 10:47am

    In his "The Volokh Conspiracy" blog on the Washington Post, Orin Kerr finds faults in Adam MacLeod's legal arguments, as do many of the commenters to the article:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/01/13/law-professor-gets-a-tra ffic-camera-ticket-hilarity-ensues/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 18 Jan 2017 @ 5:59pm

      Re: Orin Kerr finds faults in Adam MacLeod's legal arguments

      None of which were mentioned here, you will notice.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 10:48am

    I'm confused, if your car is issued a ticket here, it doesn't matter that you were not driving it. Your are responsible for your vehicle, and as the registered owner you can be held for offences involving the vehicle.

    Only in cases involving stolen vehicles or another registered person who can drive the vehicle could you say that you are not responsible for the ticket.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      techdirtReader, 18 Jan 2017 @ 11:13am

      Re:

      "as the registered owner you can be held for offences involving the vehicle"

      Curious, if you lend your car to your neighbor and they run over and kill somebody, who should be tried for the criminal acts committed?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 12:58pm

        Re: Re:

        > Curious, if you lend your car to your neighbor and they run over and kill somebody, who should be tried for the criminal acts committed?

        Of course! So, remember, if you want to kill somebody, the way to do it is to rent a car and then run them over. The rental car company will then be responsible because they owned the car. Beautiful!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 11:21am

      Re:

      I'm confused, if your car is issued a ticket here, it doesn't matter that you were not driving it.

      Well yeah, it kinda does.

      A car doesn't have a driver's license. The driver does.

      A car isn't issued a ticket. The driver is.

      A car doesn't get points for speeding. The driver does.

      So no. It matters.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 11:31am

      Re:

      Tickets are issued to drivers. The Alabama Vehicle Code distinguishes between the owners of vehicles and the drivers of said vehicles. If your vehicle is being driven by someone else and causes damage, you and the driver are jointly responsible. However, if the driver runs a red light, the owner is not responsible.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    limbodog (profile), 18 Jan 2017 @ 11:09am

    Can I just take a moment to post thig?

    http://represent.us is the only organization I am aware of that has had success in fighting corruption in the USA. They've got a great plan, and it works (bipartisan bills that work from the ground up to reduce corruption at local levels)

    I read an article like the one above and I can't help but think that this one lawyer may have gotten himself out of a ticket, but most people will just suffer the burden of an un-representative government because they think nothing can be done.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 11:31am

    Reading the whole article I see that he had to pay double the fine in an appeal bond which wasn't returned. You can say whatever you want about the corruption of the system, but the system still technically won in this case.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Paul Brinker, 18 Jan 2017 @ 9:08pm

      Re:

      He will eventually get the money back, because if they dont release the bond after some amount of time he has grounds to sue the local city. Given he has legal judgement that his case was settled and no pending appeals the city has no grounds to keep the money other then "we dont wanna".

      In addition there are legal methods (like the one he took) to force the court to say pay him back, the court can stall for a while but at some point this stalling tactic fails (normally after a reasonable time he can sue or otherwise ask a higher court to look at this case as the current court is failing to take action resulting in harm)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 5:36pm

    On behalf of the rest of the world: America, why the hell are you using private companies for criminal offences/proceedings?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      I Love Capitalism, 18 Jan 2017 @ 9:04pm

      Re:

      "On behalf of the rest of the world: America, why the hell are you using private companies for criminal offences/proceedings?"

      Because, capitalism rules! What are you, some kind of lefty socialist?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2017 @ 6:27am

      Re:

      That question has been raised in Florida over traffic cam companies deciding which pictures from the traffic cams get referred to the police department. Fortunately, a couple of courts have ruled that outsourcing police duties like this violates state law resulting in some cities dumping traffic cams as they don't want to review every picture taken by the cameras.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Guvnor Damm, 19 Jan 2017 @ 2:54am

    Modern democracy

    Government OF the people, BY the Government, FOR the Government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    freedomfan (profile), 19 Jan 2017 @ 1:23pm

    En rem ?

    Though the article doesn't address it, it seems to me that the worse outcome is that states start rewriting some traffic violations (like speeding and red light running) to be violations against the vehicle itself. (Other violations, like DUIs, would remain against the driver.) Then they can use traffic cam footage and seize the vehicle, with the possibility of the owner getting it back by paying a fine. As we know from civil asset forfeiture, those en rem proceedings don't confer the legal protections that the article's author rightly notes he was denied.

    To me, that's another potential nightmare scenario.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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