Thursday, February 13, 2014

Is There Any Remote Chance? Can St. Louis City Be Concerned With Safety?

February 13, 2014 -- St. Louis MO
Ruminations Of A Red-Light Camera Judge

Every single citizen in the St. Louis metro area -- and perhaps the country -- must ask him/herself:  "Is there any remote chance that the City of St. Louis is more concerned about actual public safety than revenue?"

I was a red-light camera judge (really, I was for two full years) and I can tell you first hand that the purpose of these cameras is NOT public safety.  I was in the belly of the beast.  This is a way for governmental representatives to fill coffers without publicly raising taxes on the record.  However, don't take my word for it; just look at the actions of these Missouri cities over the past several months and tell me what else you can possibly come up with:

1 -- St. Louis City keeps its red-light cameras on for months and months even though Missouri's Eastern & Western District Court of Appeals have said the red-light tickets are illegal and NOW (in the face of a court injunction forcing STL to stop) city fathers and counselors insist that they must immediately appeal an injunction that has finally stopped their illegal program -- WHY, so that the city can be SAVED from red-light camera runners?;

2 -- St. Peters quickly (within hours) amends its ordinance to start handing out points to alleged red-light camera runners in hopes that this somehow more closely conforms with the Eastern District's ruling -- WHY, so that the citizens can be SAVED from red-light camera runners?;

3 -- The City of Arnold proudly tells the media that it will continue to issue tickets and collect money from people on a void ordinance unless those accused come to court (where their ticket will then necessarily be dismissed) -- WHY, so voters can be SAVED from red-light camera runners?;

4 -- The City of Hazelwood and others WILL NOT dismiss their old red-light camera tickets right now and are putting off court dates until June of 2014. I must say that again -- June of 2014!!!!  This is in hopes that our Missouri Supreme Court overrules two Missouri Appellate courts that are in complete unison declaring red-light camera ticket ordinances void. Or, and perhaps more hopeful, that the Missouri legislature will pass new laws that make ticketing a CAR for running a red-light camera legal.  Note I said "CAR" and not necessarily the "person" driving; rather, they would ticket the unsuspecting owner. WHY, so the citizens of Hazelwood can be SAVED from red-light camera runners?

I confidently assert that any person over the age of 25 can look at the four sample facts above and with his/her life experience deduce what is actually going on here. We cannot blame our representatives for wanting to fill government coffers, but they must be forthright and quit fibbing about their concern for safety and treating their constituents like idiots.

AND, to be sure, we CANNOT allow ourselves to be idiots.

Interestingly, the Missouri Appellate courts have NOW ruled that the cities must turn over their e-mails, memos, letters and other documents so as to possibly catch a glimpse as to what has really been pushing cities' red-light-camera deliberations throughout the state.

Mike Carter
Former Red-Light Camera Judge


  1. Mr. Carter:
    Is there a correlation between Red Light Cameras, Police Car Cameras, and Police Officer Cameras?

    1. Depends on what you mean by the question. St. Louis County Police Chief Tom Fitch got rid of Police Car Cameras -- i think because the footage often helps defendants in court AND when people sue for beatings, abuse of power and the like (just a knee jerk assessment). Police officer cameras I don't know a lot about, but I predict that police officers either get very specific about when they turn them on OR the city gets rid of them after a while. OR, finally perhaps the city develops a policy to destroy the videos every week or so to prevent defense attorneys from legally demanding them. JUST THOUGHTS


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