State Supreme Court dismisses case against Chicago's red-light cameras

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | Friday, November 21, 2014

In a bizarre legal twist, two Illinois Supreme Court justices have removed themselves from a case involving a constitutional challenge against Chicago’s red-light cameras. As a result, the seven-member court ruled it was split and did not have a required four-judge majority to rule in the case.

Chicago initiated its red-light-camera program in 2003, three years before lawmakers enacted legislation to enable the cameras as a law-enforcement tool. Since 2003, the city has made more than $500 million from red-light tickets according to The Chicago Tribune.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in 2011 claimed the contract between Chicago and Redflex Traffic Systems was illegal and that the camera program was unconstitutional.

An appeals court ruled along the way to dismiss the challenge, and on Thursday, Nov. 20, the Illinois Supreme Court rendered the following opinion:

“In this case, two justices of this court have recused themselves and the remaining members of the court are divided so that it is not possible to secure the constitutionally required concurrence of four judges for a decision,” the court stated in a brief, one paragraph statement.

“Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed. The effect of this dismissal is the same as an affirmance by an equally divided court of the decision under review but is of no precedential value.”

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