Court Sides With Hollywood Motorist In Red-Light Camera Case

HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – On Wednesday, an appeals court said the city of Hollywood violated state law by relying on a private company to issue traffic citations to red-light runners.

This is a flip-flop from the 4th District Court of Appeal’s first decision back in April. It comes after the Florida Supreme Court ruled in two other red-light camera cases in June that dealt with whether cities followed state traffic laws.

Motorist Eric Arem filed the Hollywood case after he received a notice that a camera caught him failing to comply with a red-light signal. When Arem didn’t respond to the notice, he received a traffic citation generated by American Traffic Solutions, Inc., a company that had a contract with Hollywood to provide cameras and other related services.

A county judge found that Hollywood had improperly delegated responsibilities to the private company and dismissed the citation.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court agreed Wednesday, describing a process in which the company screened potential red-light violations and then sent images to the city, where a “traffic infraction enforcement officer” clicked a digital button to accept enforcement. A company computer then sent out notices of violation and, if motorists did not respond, generated citations sent to the motorists.

The nine-page ruling, written by Judge Mark Klingensmith and joined by judges Carole Taylor and Burton Conner, said, in part, that state law does not authorize a private vendor to issue citations.

“Such outsourcing to a third-party for-profit vendor of a city’s statutorily mandated obligation to issue uniform traffic citations for red light camera violations is contrary to the plain wording of the Florida Statutes,” the ruling said.

“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”

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