Wow, have you ever run a red light and then see that red light camera flash bulb go off? Then, just as expected, that nasty ticket came in the mail? You knew you were a goner, right? Well, maybe not! A California Appeals Court recently came down with a decision in The People v. Tarek Khaled which rendered the photographs inadmissible as hearsay and, on that basis, overturned a the conviction for running a red light based on the red light photo!
The ruling, in part, reads as follows: "To be more specific, the photographs contain hearsay evidence concerning the matters depicted in the photographs including the date, time, and other information." Here are some relevant bullet points:
- Person who entered relevant info into camera-computer system did not testify
- Person who entered that information was not subject to cross-examination
- Person(s) who maintain the system did not testify
- No one with personal knowledge testified about how often system is maintained or how often date and time are verified or corrected
- Custodian of records for company that contracts with city to maintain, monitor, store, and disperse the photographs did not testify
- Person with direct knowledge of workings of the camera did not testify
- The person who did testify, Santa Ana Police Officer Alan Berg, had attended a training session in the distant past about the overall workings of the system. He could not testify about specific procedure for programming and storage of system information
Bottom line: All is not lost!!! Hire yourself an attorney experienced in red light camera tickets.
Here are some interesting and useful red light camera links:
Photo Enforced Camera Database: Intersections, Locations and Fines throughout U.S.
National Motorists Association: All Kinds of Interesting Links about Red Light Cameras
My Past Traffic Ticket Postings: Some very interesting articles
Hey, I'm not advocating that you run red lights. Obviously it's always safety first.
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