San Diego judge dismisses camera tickets

| 9/6/2001

A San Diego Superior Court judge has tossed out hundreds of traffic tickets from cameras designed to nab red-light runners after determining that the photographs are untrustworthy because of the city's lack of oversight. The decision places the city's red light program and its millions of dollars in jeopardy.

Judge Ronald Styn upheld his preliminary findings of Aug. 15, when he said the city violated state law by giving too much control over its photo-enhancement program to the private company that operated the cameras, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The judge also cited the city's fee arrangement with Lockheed Martin, which received $70 for every $271 citation. Styn said the arrangement amounts to an unauthorized contingency agreement that undermines the company's neutrality.

Deputy City Attorney Steven Hansen told the newspaper it was likely that his office would file an appeal. Styn's decision isn't binding on other pending cases in the city.