A California court decision has cast doubt on the use of red-light cameras, reports the Orange County Register. In an appeal of a 2008 red-light ticket, a panel of Orange County Superior Court judges ruled that photos and video submitted by police were inadmissible as evidence. The panel agreed with the defense that the photo and video were hearsay because no officer actually saw the driver run the red light, and the company that maintains the cameras did not testify in the case.
The decision not only repealed the nearly $500 citation, but has sent local agencies scrambling to review what this means to red-light citations that will be fought in court. Defense attorneys said that since the decision, several citations have been dismissed in court, and at least one local police department decided to dismiss several tickets in court while it reviewed the effects of the decision. Because the decision was published by the panel, the case may be cited in future traffic court cases and used as a defense, officials and attorneys said – but how judges interpret the decision remains to be seen, and could differ from one case to another.