Thursday, June 17, 2010

Judge Dismisses Camera Lawsuit

The Washington Examiner has reported that a Circuit Court judge dismissed the lawsuit against Montgomery County's contingent fee contract. The case had been in the courts for two years and was scheduled for a jury trial in July. The court refused previous requests by the county to dismiss the case. However this week Judge David Boyton made the decision that the county's contract, which pays ACS State and Local Solutions a 40% cut out of each ticket does not violate state law which reads "If a contractor operates a speed monitoring system on behalf of a local jurisdiction, the contractor’s fee may not be contingent on the number of citations issued or paid."

According the ACS's own press release : "Under the contract, ACS processes violations; generates and mails notices; schedules adjudication and appeals appointments; provides document imaging and correspondence management; provides walk-in customer service; maintains camera equipment; and provides pay-by-web, pay-by-phone, and integrated voice response systems."

It is unknown at this time whether the plaintiffs in the lawsuit will appeal the decision.

StopBigBrotherMD.org has previously documented statements by state lawmakers who include the ban on contingent fee contracts as part of their justification for supporting speed cameras. This website has also documented the fact that the county government has publicly promised to eliminate their contingent fee arrangement on several occasions to remove 'even the appearance of impropriety' but instead has renewed and expanded the arrangement. Nothing in this decision alters the hypocrisy and deception the government has engaged in, nor does it alter any of the many other abuses we have documented.

What this shows is how easily all of the advertised restrictions on speed cameras can and will be circumvented by local governments, enabled by teams of lawyers and PR campaigns paid for with our tax dollars. Those governments will view this as a green light to increase the extent to which they bend, fold, spindle and mutilate those restrictions. This website will continue to expose the corruption surrounding speed camera programs in Maryland.

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Update 8/04/2010: We have been informed that the plaintiffs have filed an appeal. Briefs will be submitted to the special court of appeals within a few months. The People have a right to see this issue put before a jury; this matter is NOT closed.