Curtains for the cameras (The Washington Times) -- Gazette.Net


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Curtains for the cameras

The courts are reconsidering the legality of revenue cameras, and that’s bad news for the municipal taxaholics everywhere who prey on motorists to balance their budgets. Several cities in Missouri reluctantly pulled the plug on their red-light cameras [this month] after the state Court of Appeals said the robotic cameras have been violating state law.

Municipalities came up with the revenue cameras — in the name of “safety,” of course — to evade a state law requiring the assessment of points for every moving violation. The schemers evaded this by calling red-light camera tickets “non-moving” violations for “vehicular presence in an intersection while the traffic signal is emitting a steady red light.” In effect, the photograph of the violation creates a parking ticket, issued for being in the middle of the intersection at the wrong time, not a ticket for running a red light....

It’s a ridiculous excuse that a schoolboy might devise to explain to his mother that he didn’t actually eat that forbidden chocolate chip cookie. It just happened to be “present” in his mouth when she caught him eating it....

The case before the justices only affects red-light camera programs in operation before July 2010, but a loss would cost cities and the revenue-camera companies tens of millions of dollars....