MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Florida Supreme Court has ruled all red light cameras installed by cities before 2010 were illegal and cities, like Aventura, may now have to return all those fines back to drivers.
We’re talking about millions in fines that were issued between 2008 and 2010. If you received a red light camera ticket during that time period, you may be entitled to getting your money back. Many people who sued and settled though, will likely be furious by today’s ruling.
Watch David Sutta’s report, click here.
The Florida Supreme Court ruling centers on the issue of fairness. Back in 2008 when cities began issuing red light camera tickets, Richard Masone was hit with two of them for nearly $400.
“We all know it’s revenue. They say it’s not. Where is the money going?” Masone said back in 2010. He felt it was entrapment and filed a lawsuit. Attorney Brett Luskin told CBS4, “I am advising my client not to pay their violations.”
Luskin actually won his case against Aventura. Essentially the ruling was that the rules of the road must be the same no matter where you are in Florida—Aventura couldn’t be the exception.
“They set up their own set of rules. Their own set fines which were exhorbent when compared to state statute and also their own city hall, rather than county court,” Luskin said.
The court victory was short lived though, the case bounced back-and-forth in appeal courts with conflicting rulings on the cameras legality. The Florida Supreme Court finally settled the argument; they were not.
The ruling comes five years later and perhaps too late.
Luskin explained,”Unfortunately what happened here is most of the cities settled the class action lawsuits that were filed against them. And most of the people that were caught up in the class action lawsuits. They already got their refund.”
It was a joke a refund though in most cases. Aventura returned $6.38 in one class action lawsuit, a drop in the bucket.
“We would have people who were getting home after work and opening their mailboxes and they would have $2500-$3000 traffic tickets sitting there. It was completely unfair.” Luskin said.
So while Masone wins his case today, most people won’t be rejoicing. Meanwhile Luskin says he continues to fight the cameras.
“We won’t feel that we have been completely successful until we feel that we have the cameras completely taken down all together. That’s a fight for another day,” said Luskin.
So does this mean all red light cameras are illegal? No. In 2010 legislators passed a law making them legal in Florida. This ruling only applies to those who received a ticket before 2010.