(Florida) Paralegal wins battle against red-light camera company

 

Florida's red light camera programs are folding, one city at a time....

"GULFPORT — Deborah Blake versus the city of Gulfport shaped up as a total mismatch.

The 61-year-old paralegal was so infuriated at receiving a $158 citation based on a red- light camera video she decided to take on the city and represent herself in court.

That pitted her against City Attorney Andrew Salzman, a lawyer for almost 30 years. The deep pockets of red-light camera firm American Traffic Solutions also paid for high-powered law firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt to represent the city.

Nonetheless, Blake, whose area of expertise is bankruptcy, was able to teach her opponents a lesson or two about traffic law.

Three Pinellas circuit judges ruled in Blake’s favor last week, overturning a decision by the city’s hearing officer and quashing her citation. The ruling raises questions about the legality of Gulfport’s red-light camera program."

http://www.tbo.com/news/crime/paralegal-wins-battle-against-...

and then:

Gulfport mayor says he will vote to remove red-light cameras early next year
http://www.tbo.com/news/politics/gulfport-mayor-will-push-to...

technicality

Sounds like she ran the light, but was able to show somehow that the "delegation" was improper.

That has nothing to do with the rlc technology, but everything to do with FLA and its not following whatever rules there are with delegation.

It amazes me that we applaud people who break the law, and figure out a way to wrangle out of it. If someone were to get paid $158/hr, this is silly.

applaud?

The "delegation" seems to be the Government following the law.
Sure, we do not want to celebrate illegal activity of any kind. The government is the body who initially sets up the rules (in this case proper police activity) and then the government ignores their own law.

It is wrong for the government to circumvent its own laws in order to extract money and make criminals of its citizens.

The Law Must Follow The Law

"Under the program, potential violations captured by cameras are first reviewed by ATS workers.

They then send video and stills to sworn law enforcement officers who then decide if a citation is warranted by clicking on “Accept.”"

What training do the ATS workers get to certify them in screening the recorded alleged offenses? Are these ATS workers sworn law enforcement agents? What I want to know more about are the things that the ATS system captured as a potential offense but were NOT forwarded to the police. But clearly there are/were people acting as sworn officers of the legal justice system that were not actually police officers. Not good at all. There could and probably should be many law suits.

It appears that ATS workers, not sworn officers of the legal justice system, first review (make a judgement) POTENTIAL violations. That is not proper police work, as the panel of judges ruled.

And the enforcement system must be pristine and not make mistakes that will invalidate the charges or create reasonable doubt in the accusation.

The burden of proof is on the State, and any mistakes made by the State in attempting to prosecute those charges can and will be used against the State.

Remember, we are innocent until PROVEN guilty.

--
GPSMAP64s, iPhone XR w/Garmin North America, Yaesu VX-8R w/GPS.

ever

see parents get upset, when people are driving 50 mph in their neighborhood, that has children playing and a 25 mph limit?

There are people who blatantly do it knowing they cannot be caught, i.e. there are no speed cams, and there are no squad cars. Sometimes in society, we have what were once known as mores. More often today, we have a catch me if you can mentality. Too bad. At any rate, it's pathetic to wrangle out of a $158 fine (too much time on your hands)

Not economic

All that work to avoid a legitimate citation.

I thinkk she did that not about the fine

but for the principle or maybe for fun to see if she can beat the city and a attorney with 30 years experience.

Proof?

david_kahn wrote:

All that work to avoid a legitimate citation.

If any step along the process is illegal, it is all illegal. The three judge panel ruled that the ATS workers were not police, but were doing police work. Therefore the citation is not legit.

And there is still no proof that she did anything wrong.

This is not a technicality, just bad prosecution. This was the way the system was deliberately set up, apparently by some that didn't know the law, or just tried to get away with something.

--
GPSMAP64s, iPhone XR w/Garmin North America, Yaesu VX-8R w/GPS.

What?

dtran1 wrote:

but for the principle or maybe for fun to see if she can beat the city and a attorney with 30 years experience.

Do you pay fines and plead guilty because it is the easier or less expensive option? Do you think the system is designed for that purpose?

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GPSMAP64s, iPhone XR w/Garmin North America, Yaesu VX-8R w/GPS.

All if fair against illegal Cam's

johnnatash4 wrote:

Sounds like she ran the light, but was able to show somehow that the "delegation" was improper.

That has nothing to do with the rlc technology, but everything to do with FLA and its not following whatever rules there are with delegation.

It amazes me that we applaud people who break the law, and figure out a way to wrangle out of it. If someone were to get paid $158/hr, this is silly.

"Innocent until proven Guilty" Municipalities change laws to make RLC's pay, defense difficult and expensive!

They change the rules

The problem in some places is that they change the length of the yellow light so you have very little time to stop. This actually causes more accidents.

--
d

Sad ....

johnnatash4 wrote:

see parents get upset, when people are driving 50 mph in their neighborhood, that has children playing and a 25 mph limit?

There are people who blatantly do it knowing they cannot be caught, i.e. there are no speed cams, and there are no squad cars. Sometimes in society, we have what were once known as mores. More often today, we have a catch me if you can mentality. Too bad. At any rate, it's pathetic to wrangle out of a $158 fine (too much time on your hands)

Some people really do believe "The end justifies the means".

MONEY is KING! Safety? ....the perfect excuse! The modern progressivism ..... Orwell would be proud!

--
If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem quickly resembles a nail. (Maslow's Hammer)

SWEET!

SWEET!

But it's not a legitmate citation

david_kahn wrote:

All that work to avoid a legitimate citation.

If the city isn't enforcing traffic laws legally, then the resulting tickets aren't legitimate. To hell with cities with traffic cameras.

Phil

--
Phil in Mentor, Ohio -- Garmin Nuvi 1450

This issue in this case, and

This issue in this case, and in the others before it, was NOT that the driver was guilty of a traffic offense and deserved a citation. Rather it was if the citation WAS legally issued, and in those cases cited IT WAS NOT.

Therefore each and every citation issued from day 1 is illegal and should refund those who paid and their "guilt" does not enter into the equation.

--
I never get lost, but I do explore new territory every now and then.

rlc

in order to be legal they would have to have a police officer view the pictures , so now what does it cost for the city to hire officers just to look at pictures (and remember you pay the extra taxes to hire these officers) or take officers off the street to look at pictures (now that makes a lot of sense) it all boils down to who is taking responsibility for breaking the law if the picture shows you going thru a red light you should be fined before you kill someone the camera doesn't lie ! its cheaper to hire outside people to view the pictures and I know the cameras have slowed people down at the lights if they know there is a camera there.

show the film

To a police dog... He's got an employee number and almost everyone he sees is a dirt bag!

Book em' Danno...

Er.....

I mean Bite en' Spot!!

--
Never argue with a pig. It makes you look foolish and it anoys the hell out of the pig!

yes

david_kahn wrote:

All that work to avoid a legitimate citation.

I understand the human aspect of things. My dad did not see a parking sign in Boston, got a summons (no parking during the hours he parked). He said I'm going to write a letter (I thought, good luck). Letter came back the summons has been dismissed.

a) he parked illegally
b) the sign was bent and he didn't see it

Is the above ok? I think so. My dad said if I have to, I'll pay, I just want to see what happens.

But on this case, the person ran the light, yet found a technicality to get out of it. The do the crime, do the time is absent. Some of us are tired of this behavior, it is no less serious than driving through a toll without paying. The technology is solid. It's the legislation that's weak.

In reality, life should be like Washington DC. The entire city is blanketed with speed and rlc's. And people generally follow the speed limit, and don't run lights. End of story.

violations

geo334 wrote:

in order to be legal they would have to have a police officer view the pictures , so now what does it cost for the city to hire officers just to look at pictures (and remember you pay the extra taxes to hire these officers) or take officers off the street to look at pictures (now that makes a lot of sense) it all boils down to who is taking responsibility for breaking the law if the picture shows you going thru a red light you should be fined before you kill someone the camera doesn't lie ! its cheaper to hire outside people to view the pictures and I know the cameras have slowed people down at the lights if they know there is a camera there.

Do police need to review toll violations, before fines are issued? Of course they don't. The video is 1080p, clear as, well, 1080p. Maybe one day they will be 4k.

Some here are just playing devil's advocate. but if there were a technology to prevent hit and run with kids in their own neighborhoods, or to apprehend motorists who speed, you bet they would be for it. This is the internet, remember.

Biases and conflicts inherent in the system

There's a reason we don't allow LEO's to delegate power to private entities.

We wouldn't trust a cop who takes a cut of the fines so why would we take the word (e.g. evidence provided by the RLC company in the form of video, etc.) of the RLC company that takes a cut?

let's see

scott_dog wrote:

There's a reason we don't allow LEO's to delegate power to private entities.

We wouldn't trust a cop who takes a cut of the fines so why would we take the word (e.g. evidence provided by the RLC company in the form of video, etc.) of the RLC company that takes a cut?

in 1080p on a IPS 27" monitor, a person watches a video.

The light turns red, a vehicle has not reached the stop line, and proceeds.

They conclude this is a violation.

They cannot draw this conclusion due to the fact their employer gets a percentage of the fine?

that's weak. the person is instructed to basically verify that the violation occurred.

This weak argument is also applied to police officers, remember how there was a myth that they had quotas to meet?

Lawbreakers have an excuse for everything. Again, this is the internet, there is a likelihood that some do not act the same way that they post.

Proof?

Many here are stating that this paralegal is guilty. I have not seen any evidence, either way. But there is evidence that the process had civilians doing police work, and that's a no-no.

That the camera company gets a rather large cut of the fines is just preposterous. I have read that about 30-45% of the fine revenue goes to the camera company. This makes no sense, and is indeed incentive for the camera company workers to see dollar signs as they review the captured alleged offenses, after all, it is what pays their salaries. And you want to deny that is incentive? The camera companies are private for-profit entities and you can bet that they have quotas, productivity, and profit objectives.

I was in Florida, on a warm clear night, parked in a lot waiting for my wife to finish shopping. My car was facing an intersection that had cameras. The flashes for the cameras were going off like a wild lightning in a thunder storm, but I did not see infractions. It was a tame intersection, but the camera flashes were going off wildly. It is after witnessing this that I have to presume that the camera system harvests anything close to an infraction, then is screened by the camera company workers before being forwarded to the police. There appears to be plenty of "by-catch" that is then discarded because the technology is not solid and not to be trusted.

Many municipalities are ditching the cameras due to these issues.

--
GPSMAP64s, iPhone XR w/Garmin North America, Yaesu VX-8R w/GPS.

c'mon now are we back to this

diesel wrote:

Many here are stating that this paralegal is guilty. I have not seen any evidence, either way. But there is evidence that the process had civilians doing police work, and that's a no-no.

That the camera company gets a rather large cut of the fines is just preposterous. I have read that about 30-45% of the fine revenue goes to the camera company. This makes no sense, and is indeed incentive for the camera company workers to see dollar signs as they review the captured alleged offenses, after all, it is what pays their salaries. And you want to deny that is incentive? The camera companies are private for-profit entities and you can bet that they have quotas, productivity, and profit objectives.

I was in Florida, on a warm clear night, parked in a lot waiting for my wife to finish shopping. My car was facing an intersection that had cameras. The flashes for the cameras were going off like a wild lightning in a thunder storm, but I did not see infractions. It was a tame intersection, but the camera flashes were going off wildly. It is after witnessing this that I have to presume that the camera system harvests anything close to an infraction, then is screened by the camera company workers before being forwarded to the police. There appears to be plenty of "by-catch" that is then discarded because the technology is not solid and not to be trusted.

Many municipalities are ditching the cameras due to these issues.

Harvesting?

"going off like a wild lightning in a thunder storm, but I did not see infractions. It was a tame intersection..."

This sounds like a NY Times bestseller, so descriptive

A light turns red. A split second later, the system arms. The vehicle is filmed in video. If it stops, human upon review does not issue a violation.

If the vehicle proceeds, a violation is issued. Video is provided to the law-breaker, along with high res pics of the license plate and vehicle.

Your account sounds like hyperbole. Or, a lot of people running lights.

But I Dont Like The Taste Of That Dog Food!

johnnatash4 wrote:

In reality, life should be like Washington DC. The entire city is blanketed with speed and rlc's. And people generally follow the speed limit, and don't run lights. End of story.

That's a pathetic way to solve a persistent and pervasive problem.

It's like saying sew fat people's mouths shut until they reach their optimum weight.

It's a wonderful life, not a perfect environment!

--
Never argue with a pig. It makes you look foolish and it anoys the hell out of the pig!

shoplifting

BarneyBadass wrote:
johnnatash4 wrote:

In reality, life should be like Washington DC. The entire city is blanketed with speed and rlc's. And people generally follow the speed limit, and don't run lights. End of story.

That's a pathetic way to solve a persistent and pervasive problem.

It's like saying sew fat people's mouths shut until they reach their optimum weight.

It's a wonderful life, not a perfect environment!

When you were a kid (I'm assuming you're not today but if so apologies in advance), did you ever steal anything and get away with it?

Today, very few intelligent folks steal. Because there is 100% coverage in 1080p of any given space, be it a Target, Saks, 2,000,000 sq. ft. warehouse. And there are drive spaces in the petabytes. What basically has happened is nobody steals. Those who do are easily caught. Most folks don't even worry about it, because they're not thieves.

Life ain't bad, it's not perfect, but we have it pretty good. When you really think about it, taking a nonsense position and arguing about it, that's a luxury.

No idea why you would take a shot at fat people in your thread. It's not politically correct, but beyond that, it's not nice.

Shoplifting? Really??? do you write for SNL?

johnnatash4 wrote:
BarneyBadass wrote:
johnnatash4 wrote:

In reality, life should be like Washington DC. The entire city is blanketed with speed and rlc's. And people generally follow the speed limit, and don't run lights. End of story.

That's a pathetic way to solve a persistent and pervasive problem.

It's like saying sew fat people's mouths shut until they reach their optimum weight.

It's a wonderful life, not a perfect environment!

When you were a kid (I'm assuming you're not today but if so apologies in advance), did you ever steal anything and get away with it?

NOPE, NEVER EVER!!!!. My parents would have taken turns beating my ass to the point I wouldn't have been able to sit down for a month.

johnnatash4 wrote:

Today, very few intelligent folks steal. Because there is 100% coverage in 1080p of any given space, be it a Target, Saks, 2,000,000 sq. ft. warehouse.

BUZZ!!!!! I think you've drawn a conclusion.. Misguided as it is... Most people are by nature good. They won't steal for the same reason they won't set your house on fire!

Most people don't get into their car and say I'm going to sppe, run red lights, make Hollywood stops...etc.

IT'S WRONG WRONG WRONG, CAMERAS AND VIDEO HAS CRAP TO DO WITH IT.

johnnatash4 wrote:

And there are drive spaces in the petabytes. What basically has happened is nobody steals. Those who do are easily caught. Most folks don't even worry about it, because they're not thieves.

Life ain't bad, it's not perfect, but we have it pretty good. When you really think about it, taking a nonsense position and arguing about it, that's a luxury.

No idea why you would take a shot at fat people in your thread. It's not politically correct, but beyond that, it's not nice.

It wasn't a shot at fat people. It was a parallel to putting up more cameras as a soloution. Hell, I'm a fat person!!!

The real fix is to make the traffic citations prohibitively expensive. Sure, we're not perfect so maybe the first two are $40.00 or some such, presuming no loss of life, damage to others ... After that spanky.. Tickets get expensive... quick... Third one say $500, next one say $1000 ... Next one say $2000???

It kind of works the same way car insurance works... Do enough things and the cost for you to get insurance on your car is basically unatainable...

The fix isn't more cameras!.. Just like the fix to get a fat person to their optimum weight shouldn't be a forced diet by sewing their mouths shut!

Don't worry, the day is conning where you won't drive.. You'll get in, announce your destination, the vehicle will transport you like a magic carpet to the place your rather be... all while never running a red light, speeding or making an illegal turn on red!! Then won't all those cameras be an eye sore?

--
Never argue with a pig. It makes you look foolish and it anoys the hell out of the pig!

They Did Change the Rules

The RLC yellow light timing was knowingly manipulated (shortened) to extract more money from motorists. This also placed drivers and passengers in more danger even though officials were informed of this problem. Their argument that the shorter yellow increased traffic flow was flawed. It is a shame that the RLC programs were so poorly managed as they could have been effective in increasing safety if greed had not intervened.

--
romanviking

It's a 6th amendment issue

Pure and simple. Some want of you want to give up your rights but I am not willing to. Enough of my rights get trampled every day. I am glad to see these companies and cities lose these cases every day.

im mizsing how is it a 6th amendment issue

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be ...

--
Never argue with a pig. It makes you look foolish and it anoys the hell out of the pig!

...

If ticket cameras are all just and pure, then they should put points on your license instead of a fine. Too many points and the terrible driver has a license suspended.

Your Right to Confront your accuser.

It helps if you actually read the text and not just copy/past the first google result.

the rest of it...

...informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense

You cant confront the camera, the software engineer who programmed it, the employee who initially reviewed the picture/video, etc...

Photograph as EVIDENCE Not ACCUSER

fkent484 wrote:

to be confronted with the witnesses against him;

You cant confront the camera, the software engineer who programmed it, the employee who initially reviewed the picture/video, etc...

Just to be clear, the camera, photograph and/or video of an infraction is NOT the accuser. It is EVIDENCE, in the same way a fingerprint or DNA at a crime scene is used as evidence against a person accused of a criminal offence.

The ACCUSER in the case of traffic violations, is the municipality or government agency that issued the ticket based on the evidence of the photograph or video.

which is

DanielT wrote:

The ACCUSER in the case of traffic violations, is the municipality or government agency that issued the ticket based on the evidence of the photograph or video.

the point the 6th Amendment champions miss.

--
Illiterate? Write for free help.

but the 6th

Is for criminal offences... Unless there's something I'm missing... A citation doesn't seem to stand the test of criminal..

--
Never argue with a pig. It makes you look foolish and it anoys the hell out of the pig!

Pay Back What Was Taken

I'm glad she won and I hope the perpetrators in this scam have to pay back all the fines collected plus interest.

Winner

It looks like the paralegal, Deborah Blake, took down the RLC program for Gulfport, Florida.

The entire RLC scam has been built on shoddy law. Turning moving violations into the equivalent of parking tickets is the first unfair move. It facilitated the right of municipalities to fine with ease for their convenience, without all of the hassle or expense of doing it the legal way. Legal, meaning the enforcement of a moving violation instead of a minor infraction.

In this case, the court agreed with Blake that delegating police powers to ATS is improper.

The articles I've read do not detail how Blake went through the intersection. It's rather difficult to determine if it was a major offense (truly blowing a red light), or a rolling right on red. Where I live, disregarding a traffic device is a petty offense. To say that someone broke the law, and they should just pay their fine and not fight the system is misguided. Everyone has the right to scrutinize how "laws" are enforced, just as the "law" has the right to scrutinize its citizens. If a procedure is not being implemented correctly, it really doesn't matter that someone broke the law over a petty offense. Like somehow, if you break a law, you're automatically guilty, and you deserve your punishment. Delegating police powers to ATS employees is way worse in my book.

More people should be challenging their red light camera tickets, but I would expect that most people don't have the background that Blake does.

Wait for it....

The sanctimony will commence shortly. If you are not for rolling over and paying the fine you must be in favor of running red lights argument to follow.

Heres a perfect soloution

fkent484 wrote:

The sanctimony will commence shortly. If you are not for rolling over and paying the fine you must be in favor of running red lights argument to follow.

Get rid of all traffic control devices. Yup, yield signs, stop signs, no u-turn signs, speed limit signs, traffic lights,those pesky traffic calming b umps and their cousins the speed bumps.

Just think, we wouldn't need speed cameras, red light cameras, cops to give out speeding tickets or tickets for a Hollywood stop.

Ah yes, I can se utopia conning to a delusion near you soon!

Now, where are those special coats where the arms are buckeled?

--
Never argue with a pig. It makes you look foolish and it anoys the hell out of the pig!

Actually

BarneyBadass wrote:

Get rid of all traffic control devices. Yup, yield signs, stop signs, no u-turn signs, speed limit signs, traffic lights,those pesky traffic calming b umps and their cousins the speed bumps.

Just think, we wouldn't need speed cameras, red light cameras, cops to give out speeding tickets or tickets for a Hollywood stop.

Ah yes, I can se utopia conning to a delusion near you soon!

Now, where are those special coats where the arms are buckeled?

This was done in a couple villages in the Netherlands. The interesting part was accidents are down as well as speeding and the like. As corners are uncontrolled, people slow way down to be certain some idiot isn't blowing through the intersection at a high rate of speed from the other direction. It's been working well from the reports I saw.

--
Illiterate? Write for free help.

Because it has to be one or the other

BarneyBadass wrote:
fkent484 wrote:

The sanctimony will commence shortly. If you are not for rolling over and paying the fine you must be in favor of running red lights argument to follow.

Get rid of all traffic control devices. Yup, yield signs, stop signs, no u-turn signs, speed limit signs, traffic lights,those pesky traffic calming b umps and their cousins the speed bumps.

Just think, we wouldn't need speed cameras, red light cameras, cops to give out speeding tickets or tickets for a Hollywood stop.

Ah yes, I can se utopia conning to a delusion near you soon!

Now, where are those special coats where the arms are buckeled?

Thanks for proving my point. Be careful and don't fall off that high horse of yours.

i Don't Have a High Horse

Now... A hobby horse???

--
Never argue with a pig. It makes you look foolish and it anoys the hell out of the pig!

Amazing!

Box Car wrote:

This was done in a couple villages in the Netherlands. The interesting part was accidents are down as well as speeding and the like. As corners are uncontrolled, people slow way down to be certain some idiot isn't blowing through the intersection at a high rate of speed from the other direction. It's been working well from the reports I saw.

They even put a playground in the middle of one of the roads to encourage people to slow down. Apparently this worked a little too well, to the point that traffic no longer flowed.
http://www.dw.com/en/european-towns-remove-traffic-signs-to-...
Given the selfish and entitled nature of many American drivers, though, I'm gonna prognosticate and say that it could never work here.

Good For Her...

Glad she won. grin

Nuvi1300WTGPS

--
I'm not really lost.... just temporarily misplaced!

NO Traffic Control Devices...

BarneyBadass wrote:

Get rid of all traffic control devices. Yup, yield signs, stop signs, no u-turn signs, speed limit signs, traffic lights,those pesky traffic calming b umps and their cousins the speed bumps.

Just think, we wouldn't need speed cameras, red light cameras, cops to give out speeding tickets or tickets for a Hollywood stop.

Actually... my hometown had NONE of the above. That's right! NO traffic control devices at all... and I don't ever remember there being a accident (or any other traffic problem) in all the years I lived there.

Sometimes having NONE is better than having some.

Nuvi1300WTGPS

--
I'm not really lost.... just temporarily misplaced!