Red light camera tickets thrown out, but Mark Wandall Act dodges constitutional challenge in Brooksville

7:04 PM, Sep 13, 2013   |    comments
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BROOKSVILLE, Florida - The attorney general may chalk it up as a "win," but a pair of Hernando County judges upheld hundreds of dismissed red light camera tickets on Friday. 

Attorney General Pam Bondi dispatched one of her office's attorneys to Brooksville after learning judges were dismissing hundreds of "rolling right" tickets from the automated cameras this summer.   

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However, the AG's office made it clear its intentions were to protect and defend the Mark Wandall Traffic Act, the state law that regulates red light cameras (RLC).  And by avoiding the discussion of whether the law is actually constitutional, the AG's office succeeded in avoiding any potential ruling that could have set legal precedent across the state.

"Currently, the City of Brooksville still has its red light camera safety program," said city attorney George Angeliadis, "and we continue to go forward with that program."

Meanwhile county judges Donald Scaglione and Kurt Hitzemann indicated they'll continue to dismiss "rolling right" violations that are challenged in the court.

Hitzemann has refused to accept video and photographs from unmanned cameras as evidence.

Scaglione said Florida's nearly 80 communities with red light cameras have different definitions for what is a ticketable right turn (using the RLC), so the state statute shouldn't be enforceable.

As 10 News reported this summer, the red light camera law was written to prevent over-zealous ticketing.  Although, some communities are still writing huge amounts of them.

"We're at a stage where people are starting to figure out just how corrupt these cameras are," said Pat Miketinak, a frequent camera critic in Hernando Co.  "I think there's a really good chance we'll get rid of them throughout the state and country." 

Miketinak and others in Hernando County residents are currently collecting signatures to force a RLC referendum in 2014.  Critics of the cameras are hoping residents will vote the cameras out of Brooksville once and for all.

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