* * * Red Light Cameras Declared Unconstitutional * * *
- J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California June 19, 2007
The Battle Lines are Drawn: J.A.I.L. versus The Foreign Power
A Power Foreign to Our Constitution
Red Light Cameras
By Ron Branson - National J.A.I.L. CIC
Finally, the courts are catching up with what most everyone already suspected, that is, that those red light cameras placed at intersections are unconstitutional. The problem is, it is such a money-maker for cities that, like drugs, it is hard to get off their addiction. Some years ago a judge in San Diego County California declared the cameras a violation of the Constitution, yet such violation seemed to continue unabated in California.
Throughout this country, local governments have reaped untold hundreds of millions of dollars for years from the people, but there appears to be no mass voluntary offer to pay it all back to everyone from whom they took it. The message conveyed is that it is alright to steal if you can get away with it, and if you get caught, you have only to restore the booty taken from the victim - provided he has the money to hire an attorney and go to court and sue for the return of his stolen money.
While the three below articles will be a delight to the ears and eyes of millions who have been victimized, the problem is much more immense than described. Back in 1968 the California legislature decided that California could make a lot more money if they totally eliminated jury trials in all traffic cases, and so, effective January 1, 1969, they "eradicated" the U.S. Constitutional provision of Article III, Section 2, Clause 3 that specifically provides, "The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury." Since California was able to pull off this heist and reap hundreds of millions of dollars, the enticement was too great for other states to resist. They, like bank robbers, likewise decided to participate in the heist, and enjoy the booty of stolen money without consideration that they were in direct violation of their sworn Oaths of Office and the Constitution. Indeed, "Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant." Proverbs 9:17.
As the author of J.A.I.L. I have afore-considered how ironic it will be if the downfall of evil and corrupt government is found in parking tickets, cameras and traffic citations. By no stretch of anyone's imagination can red light cameras fit the constitutional jury trial exception of "except in cases of impeachment." I have been castigated in the media for my position saying, "If Mr. Branson has his way, there will be a jury trial for not having a dog license." My response has been, "I did not write the Constitution, I am only interested in seeing it is adhered to by those who have sworn to obey it." Do we not constantly hear the mantra, "You will obey the law!"? I can think of no greater poetic justice than obedience to the standards established for those who love to impose standards on us. "For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers." Matthew 23:4. "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged." Matthew 7:2. With the passage of J.A.I.L. in this country, the Frankenstein they have created will come home to roost.
-Ron BransonMinnesota Supreme Court Strikes Down Red Light Cameras
The Minnesota Supreme Court delivers a unanimous decision striking down the legality of red light cameras.
The Minnesota Supreme Court today delivered the highest-level court rebuke to photo enforcement to date with a unanimous decision against the Minneapolis red light camera program. The high court upheld last September's Court of Appeals decision that found the city's program had violated state law (read opinion).
The supreme court found that Minneapolis had disregarded a state law imposing uniformity of traffic laws across the state. The city's photo ticket program offered the accused fewer due process protections than available to motorists prosecuted for the same offense in the conventional way after having been pulled over by a policeman. The court argued that Minneapolis had, in effect, created a new type of crime: "owner liability for red-light violations where the owner neither required nor knowingly permitted the violation."
"We emphasized in Duffy that a driver must be able to travel throughout the state without the risk of violating an ordinance with which he is not familiar," the court wrote. "The same concerns apply to owners. But taking the state's argument to its logical conclusion, a city could extend liability to owners for any number of traffic offenses as to which the Act places liability only on drivers. Allowing each municipality to impose different liabilities would render the Act's uniformity requirement meaningless. Such a result demonstrates that [the Minneapolis ordinance] conflicts with state law."
The court also struck down the "rebutable presumption" doctrine that lies at the heart of every civil photo enforcement ordinance across the country.
"The problem with the presumption that the owner was the driver is that it eliminates the presumption of innocence and shifts the burden of proof from that required by the rules of criminal procedure," the court concluded. "Therefore the ordinance provides less procedural protection to a person charged with an ordinance violation than is provided to a person charged with a violation of the Act. Accordingly, the ordinance conflicts with the Act and is invalid."
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN SUPREME COURT
Filed: April 5, 2007
State of Minnesota, Appellant,
Daniel Alan Kuhlman, Respondent.
Red Light Cameras on Trial in South Dakota, New Mexico
Class action lawsuits against photo enforcement systems in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Albuquerque, New Mexico moved forward this week.
Class action lawsuits against photo enforcement systems in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Albuquerque, New Mexico moved forward this week. Motorist I.L. Wiedermann and his attorney, Aaron Eiesland, argued yesterday before Circuit Judge Kathleen Caldwell that Sioux Falls must refund $1.7 million worth of red light camera tickets it has issued since May 2004. The city and its red light camera vendor countered that anyone who paid $86 is not entitled to his money back.
Wiedermann's attorney cited the recent Minnesota Supreme Court decision striking down red light cameras as illegal (read opinion) as well as a Minnehaha Circuit Court ruling that found it unconstitutional for a city to provide no appeal from its rulings on the facts of a case. There is no appeal allowed from a city hearing officer decision in a red light camera case.
Albuquerque likewise may be forced to refund the $9.3 million worth of tickets it has issued if it loses the class action lawsuit that District Court Judge Valerie Huling recently certified. Plaintiffs argued that the city's camera program created an unfair, city-controlled process to appeal citations using a "nuisance" ordinance to bypass traditional due process protections.
"They've essentially set up a parallel court that has no legal standing," plaintiffs' attorney Rick Sandoval explained to the Albuquerque Tribune newspaper.
Australian red light camera vendor Redflex (ASX:RDF) is in charge of both ticketing programs.
Source: City seeks limits on red-light lawsuit (Sioux Falls Argus Leader (SD), 6/13/2007)
City seeks limits on red-light lawsuit
Vehicle owners who paid $86 ticket shouldn't be included, lawyer arguesPublished: June 13, 2007
A judge heard arguments Tuesday in a class-action lawsuit against the city of Sioux Falls and Redflex Traffic Systems, the company contracted to photograph vehicles passing through red lights in downtown Sioux Falls.
I.L. Wiedermann of Sioux Falls is fighting the camera enforcement on behalf of himself and 20,000 vehicle owners who also have received $86 tickets since May 2004.
Circuit Judge Kathleen Caldwell listened to lawyers for the city and Redflex who, respectively, wanted the case significantly limited or thrown out altogether. She said she would rule on the motions within two weeks.
Bill Garry, representing the city, said that when the thousands who paid their fines did so, they waived their right to contest their tickets. Only Wiedermann and one other man who took his appeal to an administrative hearing officer and then to circuit court should be permitted to fight their tickets, he said.
Richard Casey, a Redflex lawyer, said Wiedermann's claims involve the city, not Redflex, so the company should be removed as a defendant.
Wiedermann and Rapid City lawyer Aaron Eiesland have accused the the city and Redflex of:
- Failing to enact an ordinance prohibiting a right turn on red;
- Altering the timing of stoplights;
- Illegally imposing civil penalties;
- Denying due process.
Eiesland said in court Tuesday that the case is all about money. With what Sioux Falls pays Redflex, the city could man the 10th Street and Minnesota Avenue intersection with police officers 24 hours a day.
In that case, however, Eiesland said the fine money would be funneled through the state and be shared with the public schools. The camera system allows the city an easy and sizeable revenue source.
Part of Wiedermann's claim is that the city has no authority to regulate traffic in a way not outlined by state law. That argument won over the Minnesota Supreme Court, which in March struck down photo cops along Minneapolis streets.
When Wiedermann filed his lawsuit last year, he argued that his due process rights were stripped by a system that punishes a vehicle's owner, not necessarily the driver.
An unrelated Minnehaha Circuit Court ruling since then boosted the due process argument. Judge Bill Srstka in January ruled in favor of Daniels Construction, which complained that the city's appeal system is unconstitutional and gives them no opportunity to argue the facts of their case on appeal.
Garry said Tuesday that because the $86 penalty is so small, the city's hearing officer provides sufficient due process.
The 10th and Minnesota location was selected for cameras because it has a large number of offenses and because a pedestrian was killed at the intersection.
Edie Adams, 58, an Argus Leader employee, was killed in April 2003 when she was struck by a car.
Reach Josh Verges at 605-331-2335.
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He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to
our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to
their acts of pretended legislation. - Declaration of Independence
"..it does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless
minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.." - Samuel Adams
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striking at the root." -- Henry David Thoreau ><)))'>