Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Court Tosses Cops' Scamera Tickets

The Washington Examiner has reported that four on-duty Montgomery County police officers caught by Montgomery County speed cameras had their $40 tickets thrown out by a county judge.

Circuit Court Judge Ronald Rubin ruled the officers' right to due process had been violated, because the county police department does not have a written policy that outlines when on-duty officers would be exempted from getting tickets from speed cameras.

"How are they going to recall that it wasn't because they were speeding to stop a kid from running in the street chasing a ball," attorney James Shalleck asked.

After his ruling, Judge Rubin was quoted as saying : "That's what this statute is: This is a revenue raiser, it is a tax machine."

"They're afforded more due process than the average citizen," the Examiner quotes Assistant State's Attorney Teresa Casafranca.

Three of the officers in the case did not give a reason for speeding. One officer told supervisors that he was driving to training, according to court records.

Capt. John Damskey, who heads the traffic division that operates speed cameras, said the police department may appeal the case.

Read the Complete Story in the Washington Examiner.
This is nowhere near the first case where government vehicles or employees have received speed camera tickets. In March 2008, the Washington Post reported that there had been 224 instances when county police vehicles had been ticketed by speed cameras. At that time 148 officers were refusing to pay under instructions from their union, whose position was that since the county owns the vehicles the tickets were the county's responsibility. That same article reported that County Executive Ike Leggett had gotten a speed camera ticket himself, although he stated that he had paid the citation.

DC.CameraFRAUD.Com reported that Mayor Fenty's city owned "smartcar" was issued a speed camera ticket for going "11-15mph" over the limit. The ticket was discovered by a reporter from the Washington City Paper in May 2009, who ran the Mayor's plates through an online database. The city confirmed that the mayor had been driving at the time. The article in the City Paper indicated the mayor had not received the ticket yet, possibly because it had been sent to the city who owns the vehicle instead of to Fenty himself. Fenty stated that he would pay the citation... after being questioned about it by the media. Fenty is a champion of DC's speed and red light camera program, even though it has been documented that his motorcade frequently speeds through red lights, including when he is on his way to political fundraisers, and that his wife is given the same treatment.