Society

California Red Light Camera Loophole May Mean Millions in Refunds

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A recent ruling in Newark, Calif., may mean thousands of ticketed drivers are due a refund.

Keisha Dunlevy appeared in court last week to contest a $500 ticket she received for running a red light. Dunlevy argued the public was never properly notified of the cameras at that intersection.

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She provided the court commissioner with a clipping from a November 2008 newspaper which said “a camera has been installed at the intersection of Cedar Boulevard and Mowry Avenue to capture vehicles that run the red light as they travel east on both streets.”

But the streets don’t run east. They run north and south.

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The traffic commissioner dropped the ticket saying the “matter is dismissed due to inadequate notice.”

“I had a great judge. I did a lot of legwork. I’m really happy with the outcome,” Dunlevy told KPIX 5.

“I do hope that this motivates other people to always check into their ticket, not just take it because the officer said it was wrong,” she added.

Roger Jones, a red light camera activist who blogs for Patch, said the city should refund all the fines it collected based on red light camera pictures since 2006. He estimates that amount could be as high as $5 million.

Lawmakers in Iowa City, Iowa, are currently considering banning red light cameras, drones and license plate readers. City councilmembers argue that traffic surveillance should not be ticketing citizens unless there is a police officer or other human attendant at the scene.

Sources: Newark Patch, KPIX 5