RE: [tips_and_tricks] photo radar addresses
Hello to those on this list,
Photo radar presents some unique constitutional issues. In Phoenix a few years ago, a member of our research group
became the “King of red meter parking tickets and photo radar.” He became so adept at challenging the elements of the
“crime” that the judges routinely dismissed his tickets rather than let him “have his day in court” because the city, county, or
state would lose hands down. Of course, that took all the fun out of challenging his tickets. He specialized in red meter tickets
issued on leased or rented private property off-street parking and photo radar “robo-cop” unattended photo radar “speed traps.”
The judges complimented him on his thorough preparation, exhaustive research, and presentation skill. The newspapers always
called him “Scottsdale man” and the caption almost always was “Scottsdale man wins again.” At that time, photo radar was being
introduced as a revenue generator for the town of Paradise Valley, an upscale suburb located on the northeast side of Phoenix next
door to Scottsdale. The town of Paradise Valley is a bedroom community with almost no industry in its tax base. So, the town fathers
were looking for easy ways to raise revenue. “Robo-cop” automated photo radar units seemed like a godsend. Initially, they were parked
along busy cross-town thoroughfares and left unattended. “Scottsdale man” challenged the tickets he received from the Town of Paradise
Valley on the constitutional ground that the PV police dept. unconstitutionally delegated its “police power” to an out-of-state private sector
third party and on the technicality that the radar triggered system was supposed to merely enhance the “sensate powers” of a live officer
who actually observed the occurrence of the offense. Unattended, there could be no “enhancement of sensate powers.” What was more
interesting, the PV police dept. sent the photos of offenders to the photo radar equipment manufacturer in Texas where company personnel
there tried to match the photo to the Arizona driver’s license database of photos. If the Texas company’s people couldn’t match the photo, a letter was sent by the Texas company to the owner of record on the automobile’s title, asking the owner to “please identify the driver in this
photograph.” Needless to say, all too many “owners” actually did identify the driver. They cooperated with the Texas company and the PV
police dept. in the scam. Then the PV police dept. put a blow-up plastic manikin policeman look-alike in the parked radar photo units. “Scottsdale man” nailed them on that ruse. Finally, they had to put a live officer in the photo radar unit to observe the “offense” with his own
eyes and other “sensate powers” and make a note of the “offender’s” vehicle license plate number. A little later, a second camera was added to the automated photo radar unit to take a photo of the rear license plate immediately after the “offending” car passed. Not only did the automated photo radar unit have to be “manned” with a live policeman, the PV police dept. had to do the identifying of the driver and stopped sending the photos to the company in Texas. The Town of Paradise Valley soon found that the photo radar company’s claims of “easy money” wasn’t so profitable after all. The Town didn’t anticipate the constitutional problems that photo radar would raise or they didn’t expect anyone to actually raise them.
I had a friend in Glendale, which is a suburb northwest of Phoenix, who’s wife was driving his van one day and crossed through Paradise Valley on her way to Mesa which is southeast of Phoenix. She was in a hurry and passed one of their “manned” automated dual camera photo radar units. Flash. Click. Since, his, the husband’s name was on the van’s title, he got a letter from the PV police dept. requesting him to come to the police station in the Town of Paradise Valley and identify the driver. One day he was in the area and stopped by the police station. A lady laid the photo out in front of him. Sure enough, there was his wife, big as day, with a smile on her face. She was talking to two Mormon missionaries that she had volunteered to take to a meeting in Mesa. So he said to the nice lady police officer, “Am I required to do your job?” Long pause.
Then she answered with a cryptic, “No”, and gathered up the photo and other papers without saying another word. He left with a grin on his face.
He said the policewoman had a “rats, foiled again” look on her face as he turned and left. He never heard from them on the matter again. This friend of mine is not an attorney. He is an executive with the Quest telephone company Yellow Pages. He told of this funny experience with Paradise Valley’s photo radar at church one Sunday, and several attorneys present laughingly said he should have been a lawyer.
In recent years, photo radar has been expanded to street intersection “red light runners,” but the constitutional issues continue to plague and baffle the “revenue enhancers.”
Best regards from Virgil
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf Of Al Cintra-Leite
Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2007 4:51 PM
Subject: Re: [tips_and_tricks] photo radar addresses
On Jul 25, 2007, at 1:19 PM, mobinem@... wrote:
For those doing my photo radar letter, ....<<<<<<<
I saw online how Redflex has a patent fight over the photo ticket equipment and no tickets can be resolved till that is finished...