News release from Rep. Andy Holt:
NASHVILLE, January 15, 2015– State Representative Andy Holt (R-Dresden) says his constituents are sick and tired of being constantly watched by street cameras hoping to make a quick dollar off of them. Holt took to social media to ask voters in his district whether or not they were in favor of highly controversial speed and red light cameras.
“If I could single-handedly outlaw every speed camera in the Great State of Tennessee, I would do it without a second thought,” said Holt. “Regardless of political party, the vast majority of folks are 100 percent against them.”
Holt says he received hundreds of messages from Democrats and Republicans supporting his call to outlaw the controversial cameras that have been ruled unconstitutional in many states.
“Speed & red-light cameras are nothing more than a modernized form of speed-trapping. They have very little to do with safety, and everything to do with municipal greed. Apart from being a technically unlawful form of local fundraising off the backs of local citizens, it’s a poorly contracted scheme since a large portion of the “revenue” is sent elsewhere, outside the State of Tennessee,” Holt continued.
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Police in Clarksville say someone is impersonating offices and attempting to collect hundreds of dollars for fake traffic camera tickets.
Sgt. Charles Gill told The Leaf-Chronicle (http://leafne.ws/WISOeq ) the man tells victims that they have received a Redflex ticket and a judge with Montgomery County General Sessions Court has suspended their driver’s license and issued a bench warrant for their arrest.
The scammer tells the victim he’s with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and to submit a $996 money order and their license while be reinstated and the bench warrant dismissed.
The city uses Redflex cameras for surveillance at the most accident-prone intersections. The sheriff’s office doesn’t use the Redflex system.
The $50 fines are civil and jail time or a loss of license isn’t a possible penalty.
A lawsuit filed in Knoxville takes a different approach in attacking the legality of traffic cameras than earlier litigation, which was unsuccessful. Basically, the new lawsuit says that – until July 1, 2008, when a law enacted by the General Assembly took effect – cities had no authority under state law to set up red-light camera systems and, therefore, they were illegal under state statutes and the state constitution.
While the lawsuit attacks red-light camera tickets issued in Knoxville, the argument, if accepted by the courts, would seem to apply to other cities that set up the cameras prior to July 1, 2008.
The text of the lawsuit is HERE. Rebecca Ferrar has a story on the matter. Here’s an excerpt:
Robert Pryor, the lawyer in the case, said his clients are seeking refunds of all fines, penalties, late fees and other charges made in regard to red-light tickets, not only for the four, but as a class for all those cited during the time frame the lawsuit covers.
The lawsuit covers the period from Feb. 1, 2005, when the city first passed the red-light ordinance, until the city passed another ordinance effective July 1, 2008, to mirror a state law effective the same day, making it a traffic violation to run a red light under camera programs.
Knoxville actually put its red-light camera program in place in February 2006, when the cameras were installed, the lawsuit states.
Pryor argues violations charged under Knoxville’s red-light camera ordinance are invalid because such charges did not conform with any existing state law, making them unconstitutional. The state constitution says there must be “consistency” between municipal laws and state laws and that municipal laws shall not conflict with state laws, according to the lawsuit.
Pryor says it’s a legal claim that has not been made before in Tennessee.