Dreaded Red-Light Camera Tickets Are Legit, California High Court Rules
Updated at the bottom with a new court challenge brewing. First posted at 12:44 p.m.
A man's challenge to the legality of California's red-light cameras was rejected by the California Supreme Court today.
Citizen Howard Herships fought the good fight against sometimes abusive robo-tickets that really don't allow you to have a fair day in court, but ultimately the Golden State's highest panel of justices said no to his request to stay and correct the law:
CSUN Womens Soccer
TicketsThu., Oct. 26, 7:00pm
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors
TicketsFri., Oct. 27, 7:30pm
UCLA Women's Soccer v California & UCLA Men's Soccer v Washington
TicketsSun., Oct. 29, 1:00pm
South Bay Lakers vs. Northern Arizona Suns
TicketsSun., Oct. 29, 7:00pm
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons
TicketsTue., Oct. 31, 7:30pm
Herships argued in his request for a stay that "unconstitutional statutes presume that a computer generated picture is 'presumed accurate' and claims burden of proof shifts to the criminal defendant at trial to prove otherwise."
In other words, he argues, when you get that red-light ticket in the mail, if you want to fight it you have to prove your innocence. The law says it's up to the accuser to prove your guilt, however, in all other cases.
He says red-light camera tickets, by offering up no witness testimony (remember, you generally have the right to confront and question your accuser), denies folks their due process.
"The U.S. Supreme Court says absolutely not," Herships told us. "You have to bring someone to put the document in court to be cross-examined. But you would have a police officer come with no knowledge of the issue."
On top of that, he alleges the legislature is trying to enact a workaround while red-light cameras are still being challenged in court.
"They've decided they're going to change the law and not allow the court to rule on it," Herships said.
His case challenged two red-light tickets he received in Rancho Cordova courtesy of an Arizona-based red-light ticket contractor, Redflex Traffic Systems.
Today the Supreme Court announced that his "Petition for writ of mandate/prohibition & application for stay [is] denied."
So much for justice.
[Update at 1:50 p.m.]: Herships says he plans to take this all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. He's says he'll file an appeal in U.S. District Court next week challenging the constitutionality of red-light tickets.
"The issue is the denial of the right to confront your accuser," he told us.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Los Angeles, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.