Did Scottsdale Officer Debbie Wood Commit Perjury?

A motorist recently received a photo red light ticket in the mail for allegedly running a red light by 0.2 seconds at the Scottsdale Rd. and Shea Blvd. intersection in Scottsdale. Interestingly, none of the photos taken clearly show the driver. This didn’t stop Scottsdale Police Officer Debra (Debbie) Wood from signing the citation and declaring “I hereby certify that I have reasonable grounds to believe, and do believe, based on my examination of digital images and data associated with this violation, that the person named herein committed the civil traffic violation listed above.” According to ARS 28-1561.B, a false certification is perjury.

We have to wonder how Debra Wood was able to identify the driver of the vehicle in question with most facial features hidden by the vehicles sun visor and rear view mirror. In fact, it’s not even possible to identify the gender of the driver with any certainty. We know that Arizona courts have ruled on at least 3 occasions that a gender match alone is not sufficient to establish reasonable grounds of belief required to issue a ticket. So how exactly did Officer Wood identify the driver?

It appears to us that Officer Wood did indeed commit perjury, as the images simply do not provide enough information (reasonable grounds) required to identify the driver and thus to issue a ticket legally.



  1. K. Eric Harper
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    If it helps anyone in Sugarland, TX: I was falsely accused of running a red light on 13 October 2010. The Notice of Violation had my address correct, but the name, license plate, make and model of the car were all in error. Also, I was in NC on 13 October, not TX :). I immediately called the Photo Enforcement Program Customer Service line in Tempe, AZ and after a long wait on hold I contested this implied “threat of violence”. It took escalating to a supervisor (Kyle) before the citation magically disappeared. He said that the process was, if they could not get a current address from the license plate, they would match the name to a national database of driver’s licenses. In my case they mis-keyed one letter in my name (Eric vs. Erin) and that is how the mistake was made. My concern is that the citation has the full force of the law behind it (Jimmy L. Surratt, Badge 8114) and there was very little information on the citation giving guidance on what to do if the accusation was in error. Kyle said there were not many errors so it was not necessary to have this guidance, and yet on the Sugarland, TX Police Department web site there is a FAQ (www.sugarlandtx.gov/police/SafeLight/RedLightCameraFAQ.asp) with some better guidance. Contact me via private email (keharper at wt.net) if you would like further information.

  2. Les
    Posted April 28, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    That whole photo radar crap is just another reason I am glad that I moved from Az.

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