A critic of Houston’s red-light camera system intentionally ran a downtown red light to get caught on camera yesterday so he could challenge the new system in court – only to be ticketed by a Houston police officer instead, reports the Houston Chronicle. That means he will face a criminal misdemeanor with a maximum $200 fine instead of the civil citation and $75 fine that’s issued to violators caught on tape. Harris County bondsman Michael Kubosh carefully ran the red light at one of 10 locations around the city where cameras began snapping photos of violators at the beginning of this month. He and his brother Paul Kubosh, a traffic lawyer who will represent him, have been fighting red-light cameras for years, saying they are not an effective way to enhance public safety. “They are afraid of the challenge we’re going to give them in court,” Michael Kubosh said. He now plans to run a red light at another time – just more discreetly.
Once Michael Kubosh, who is running for District 7 state senator, has standing as a red-light runner caught by a camera, he plans to challenge the ordinance as contrary to state law. The city cannot make running a red light a civil offense, his brother says, when under state law it’s a criminal offense. Said Paul Kubosh said, “but the state constitution says you can’t pass any (city) laws in conflict with state laws.” City Attorney Arturo Michel said he does not expect Kubosh’s argument to hold up in court. “We clearly have the authority under the state statute to regulate it in a different manner,” he said.