County JP Rules Photo Tickets Unconstitutional

Today’s Arizona Republic reported that a county Justice of the Peace has ruled that the speeding tickets issued by cameras are unconstitutional. This agrees with our take on things, but with a slightly different twist.  The JP says that the constitution’s equal rights  clause is violated because the penalty for a ticket issued by a human is higher than that for one issued by a camera. The JP argues that you cannot treat the same crime differently based on how the citation was issued.

While we agree on this point, we’d like to see the JP consider the groups of people who are treated differently by enforcement based on their status. In particular, I’m referring to cars registered to corporations.  Since cars issued to corporations cannot be served, they get a free pass while people driving their own cars are subject to being served with a citation.

Why or how anyone finds this disparity fair or just escapes me! How can you use a system that systematically discriminates against classes of people? In this case, drivers with cars registered to corporations!?

So now the JP is waiting for a government agency to pick up the case and move through the court system for an official decision. Will this happen? I don’t know. They won’t be too pleased that no revenue is coming in for those cameras, but on the other hand, they don’t want any court decisions to render the systems worthless. It will be interesting to see what happens. My bet is that they ignore the court order and the case never gets decided.



  1. Photo Radar Truth
    Posted February 5, 2009 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    Can the fact that the radar cameras, supposedly an agent of the law enforcement and performing duties of law enforcement, are ticketing at 11+ mph over the limit now make that speed the reasonable and prudent speed? If a vehicle passes a camera, say 100 times, at 10mph over the limit and never gets a ticket once, then 1 time gets a ticket from an officer while traveling at that same speed, is the officer’s ticketing considered “unequal treatment” and thus also unconstitutional under the judge’s ruling?

    The acceptable speed limit must now be 10 mph over the posted limit. Otherwise, why wouldn’t the cameras be ticketing for any speed over the “legal” limit? One mph over the limit is ticketable.

    Why the discrepancy and unequal treatment one instance over another?

  2. Photo Radar Truth
    Posted February 5, 2009 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    Listen to the Sheriff who tried to shut down the cameras in his county in AZ.

  3. photoradarscam
    Posted February 5, 2009 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the links. Yes, you can make a legal case that the “de facto” speed limit is now 11mph over the posted limit. If you get a ticket for anything less, I do believe that it would be a legally valid argument to say that the de facto speed limit is what is enforceable, not the posted limit.

  4. Cherie Cloudt
    Posted March 27, 2009 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    I got a photo for going 41 in a 30 on Scottsdale Road a couple months ago….my neighbor said it was unconstitutional and I bought the book about photo radar from the Scottsdale judge and lawyer stating we had a right to face our accuser. I got a $175 ticket in the mail, which I ignored only to have a process server bring another ticket to my house, which I also ignored. Last week, I received another ticket, which was $50 higher and another letter from the Az. Dept of Motor Vehicles stating that my license had been suspended….I didn’t want to pay the $252 but was forced to. I know folks that have thousands of dollars in speeding and parking tickets and they are driving around still….in less than 4 months I went from ticket to suspension. Go figure!

    • photoradarscam
      Posted March 27, 2009 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      You cannot ignore tickets that are properly served. Be aware, there is a thing called ‘alternate service’ that allows them to leave the documents at your property. Process servers have been known to lie about serving documents. If you can prove that this was the case, you can have everything removed and erased. You’ll need to go to court and ask to review the evidence of service.

  5. Chris
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    You might need to look into the way the system is operated. In the town I live in, the cameras do take pictures and videos of the incidents. Then, that documentation is sent to the local police department, who has an officer make the determination if the incident warrants a citation or not. So, just because only the ones going 11+ over receives a citation does not mean that the camera is only identifying those going 11+ over the limit. It is similar to a police officer choosing to only cite those going 15+ over the speed limit. It does not change the legal speed limit, and there are not many judges (and I’ve talked to at least 20 or so on that matter in particular) that would say it does.

    Also, the citations issued are civil not criminal, which is why they are a lower fine than criminal tickets.

    I agree that they can cause more accidents, esp with the bright flashing photo light during nighttime hours. I am waiting to see the results if someone gets into an accident because the flash momentarily blinded them.

    As for Cherie’s post…the suspension of your license depends on the city and county that you received your ticket. There are some cities that will suspend your license when you receive one no insurance ticket, while others only suspend your license on subsequent violations.

    The link in the post points to the newspaper article detailing the case so you can get more information. Whether you get a photo ticket or a regular ticket and your speed is less than 20mph over, the citation is civil either way. The JP’s viewpoint is that the penalties must be the same for the same offense regardless of how you are cited. –admin

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