Flagler County Judge Sides With Constitution Over Big Money

This post deals with the Red Light Camera statute, s. 316.0083, Fla. Stat., better known as the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Program Act. Mark Wandall was a victim of a red light runner. His tragic story has since been manipulated by our legislators and local representatives into a cash grab whereby safety is no longer the goal. In fact, safety has been completely overlooked and abandoned, evidenced by the discovery that yellow light times have been trimmed to dangerous levels in order to boost the profits from red light cameras. But I digress...

One of the peculiarities of the statute is the decision to cite the first named owner on the registration of a vehicle when there are multiple owners. Since the driver of the car is never viewed by the cameras (a strange requirement of the law) it just puts blame on the owner of the vehicle. If there is more than one owner the first named gets cited. There is no explanation for why the statute does this except the argument by the state that it is for efficiency, economy, and to avoid conflicting claims (note: nothing about the factual driver of the vehicle). This crack in the law was recently challenged by Attorney Davis Shekhter in Flagler County.

Judge Melissa Moore Stens heard the argument and agreed with Mr. Shekhter. There was no rational basis for the disparate treatment of the similarly situated persons. It therefore violated the Due Process Clause of the Florida and United States Constitutions and the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. This is despite the huge amount of money being funneled into legislators' coffers by the Red Light Camera companies and the political pressure from local government to get these tickets pushed through the courts so the revenue stream continues.

State v. Krainik, 20 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 991 (7th Judicial Circuit, Flagler County Court, August 14, 2013)

See also, State v. Gonzalez, 19 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 666b (17th Judicial Circuit, Broward County Court, May 2, 2012)

- is an Orlando attorney practicing criminal defense. He represents clients seeking criminal record expungements throughout the state of Florida and all traffic infractions/charges in Central Florida.

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