Class Action Suit Filed Against Redflex Over Red Light Cameras

Attorney Robert Conaway earlier this month filed a class-action lawsuit against Victorville and its red-light camera program, alleging due process rights violations. The suit seeks the recovery of fines paid and millions of dollars in damages.
Conaway, who is based in Barstow, filed the lawsuit in Victorville Superior Court February 14 on behalf of lead client Michael Curran and others who received red-light tickets issued as a consequence of the  Redflex Traffic Systems camera devices mounted in Victorville.
According to the suit, in order for a peace officer to issue a citation for a misdemeanor or infraction, the offense must occur in that officer’s presence. Removing that requirement, as does the arrangement in Victorville, violates the California Penal Code, according to Conaway. Declarations for the red-light camera citations from the Redflex system issued in Victorville are certified under “information and belief,” which the lawsuit maintains is akin to hearsay, not a police officer’s personal knowledge.
The officer who issued Curran the citation, deputy Barbara Hill, did not contemporaneously witness the alleged red light violation, rendering the ticket Curran received invalid, according to Conaway. In addition, according to the lawsuit, the proof of service was signed by a Redflex computer operator and was bulk mailed, further rendering the ticket invalid.
Utilizing a computer controlled camera to initiate and carry out the citation process, Conaway asserts, deprives defendants of the opportunity to confront their accuser in court, a guarantee granted all citizens under the Bill of Rights. Beyond the Constitutional issue, Conaway contends Australia-based  Redflex violated the California Business and Professions Code Sec. 17200 by engaging in unfair business practices that unjustly enriched the company. Moreover, according to Conaway, Redflex should be held accountable under the product liability doctrine because of the flaws in the design and operation of its system.
The suit seeks $9 million in damages and more in punitive damages for the roughly 5,000 motorists impacted by the system.
Redflex, which has a corporate office for the United States in Phoenix, Arizona, maintains that its processes are legal and constitutional and contribute to public safety. In a corporate statement, Redflex said “There’s no good excuse for running red lights.”
In March 2011, the Victorville city council agreed to look into the possibility of terminating its contract with Redflex but by July had concluded that penalties written into the contract for early termination were too expensive and that it would be best for the city to keep the cameras in place until the 2014 expiration of the contract with the Australian company.
Other cities in San Bernardino County have likewise expressed a desire to do away with the camera ticketing systems or have done so.
The city of San Bernardino last year considered shutting down its system but did not do so because of the expense in terminating it and instead its city council voted 5-2 in September to allow the red-light cameras operated by a different Arizona-based concern, American Traffic Solutions, to remain in place until 2014.
The Grand Terrace city council voted in July to discontinue its contract  with Redflex when  it expires in August after the program ended up costing the city $72,204.
The city of Loma Linda bailed on its contract with Redflex in December 2010.
Upland nearly three years ago ended its red light camera program, terminating its contract with Redflex.
The city of Highland has bucked that trend, and last April its city council in a 4-1 vote extended its contract with Redflex until later this year.

Leave a Reply