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Red Light Cameras - Question of Constitutionality

Red light cameras have been a cause for a lot of controversy since they have become more commonly used across the country over the past several years. One of the biggest questions concerning these traffic violation enforcers is their constitutionality. A Florida judge recently ruled that they are constitutional, but here are several reasons why some might disagree and believe the cameras are unconstitutional: Every defendant has the right to cross-examine his accuser: In the case of a red light camera ticket your "accuser" is the red light camera, which is often operated by an out-of-state company. You cannot cross-examine a picture, which is really all there is that is accusing you of violating the red light. There was no officer present that can testify against you. It is too difficult for a picture to show every single thing that is happening at the time it was snapped, making it incredibly difficult to reach a fair ruling. Even if an officer is present, it is still hard for him to recall the situation when the picture was taken. Red light cameras are operated by cities, not states: In many state Constitutions, it is stated that only the state legislature can enact traffic laws. Red light cameras are operated and enforced by the cities that pay for their services. This would technically make them illegal in many of the states that use the service. The driver of the vehicle cannot properly be ID'd: It is nearly impossible to properly identify the driver of the vehicle through red light cameras, therefore it is questionable that they would even be allowed to issue a citation to an individual. The issuing of a ticket seems like it would be unfair if it cannot even be identified who was operating the vehicle at the time of the red light violation. No consistent delivery method: With many of the red light ticket systems, there is not much consistency in the delivery of the tickets. This is a huge issue because if motorists don't receive the ticket they cannot pay it, and a warrant can subsequently be issued for their arrest even though they may not even be aware of their violation.
Posted in Government, Red Light
Aug 24th, 2011