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Judge Craig Indicts Palm Coast’s “Bad Faith” Red-Light Cameras and Exposes City’s Legal Flaws as He Contests Violation

| March 20, 2014

Flagler County Circuit Judge Dennis Craig making his case before the red-light camera hearing officer Thursday morning at Palm Coast's city offices. (c FlaglerLive)

Flagler County Circuit Judge Dennis Craig making his case before the red-light camera hearing officer Thursday morning at Palm Coast’s city offices. (c FlaglerLive)

Flagler County Circuit Court Judge Dennis Craig last Sept. 12 got cited for a red-light camera violation at Palm Coast Parkway and Florida Park Drive. On Thursday, he challenged the city’s enforcement of its red-light camera system and got his citation dismissed. He was in court at the time of the violation. But that was almost beside the point.

Click On:

Craig, in a remarkable and rare legal argument before Palm Coast’s attorney, the hearing officer and the city’s code enforcement officer—the trio that usually blunts most efforts to challenge the city’s detested red-light camera network—showed that Palm Coast’s protocol is based on “bad faith,” that it is at odds with his reading of state law, and that it turns even innocent vehicle owners into unwilling informants. Craig also ridiculed the Palm Coast City government’s repeated allegation that red light cameras are in place for safety, saying there was “no correlation” between that allegation and fining car owners who were not at the wheel of their vehicle.

“So I’m glad to see that Palm Coast’s position is that not only are you guilty until you prove yourself innocent, but that’s not even good enough,” Craig said. “You have to be guilty until you prove yourself innocent, and then, you have to inform on somebody else. And that would be regardless as to whether or not someone has personal knowledge as to who was driving the vehicle. Including the owner.”

In the end, after Craig demolished the city’s punishing method in a performance that saw a city unquestionably outmatched, Jennifer Barrington-Nix, the hearing officer, had no choice. She dismissed his ticket.

But she did not do so based on Craig’s contentions, as that would have immediately invalidated thousands of tickets issued by the city. Rather, she invented a reason neither Craig nor the code enforcement officer had even placed on the table: that the vehicle had “slowed down quite a bit prior to taking that turn.” That, of course, was demonstrably false, according to the city’s own evidence: the vehicle made the turn at 16 miles per hour, as recorded by the camera’s radar, and Craig himself conceded that the vehicle violated the red light.

For any other vehicle owner, that would have been incontestable evidence to enforce a $158 ticket. Yet Barrington-Nix declared, by fiat, that the vehicle had made a “prudent” turn and “dismissed the violation on that basis.”

It was an astounding way for the city to get out of the untenable position the judge had placed it in—and no less of an arbitrary way to do so. It was also another example of the city’s arbitrary enforcement of red-light cameras.

When Craig asked Barrington-Nix whether the ticket was being dismissed while still assuming that he was the driver, she skirted the question. There would be no hearing or comment on who the driver was. And while the citation was dismissed, the contradictory and “bad faith” system Craig described very much remains in place.

It was the first time that a judge has contested a red-light violation, and the first time that Palm Coast’s enforcement system gave an individual so much latitude to contest the citation. It is not about to happen again. But Craig’s arguments are not likely to be soon forgotten, either, as Palm Coast and American Traffic Solutions, the Arizona-based company that runs the camera system in town, continue to face increasingly damaging criticism over the system.

Joe Festa, a code enforcement officer for Palm Coast, first presented the case once the video system got going. (The video system was initially malfunctioning.) The alleged violation took place at Palm Coast Parkway and Florida Park Drive.

“I’m the joint owner,” Craig said of the car when asked about the license plate. “I’ll stipulate that that’s the car that I own jointly,” he added, immediately using the courtroom language he is most comfortable with. “I’ll stipulate that the vehicle violated the red-light stop,” he also said.

“I would actually like to ask Mr. Festa some questions,” Craig said as soon as the review of the video was over, and himself virtually taking command of the proceedings: “Have you been placed under oath already?” the judge asked the code enforcement officer.

“Yes, sir,” Festa replied.

“OK. All right, Mr. Festa,” Craig asked, “Who was driving that vehicle?”

“I’ve no idea,” Festa said. Cameras usually don’t. Nor do the operators behind them, whether it’s ATS–which takes about $1 million a year in revenue from the cameras from local drivers—or Palm Coast’s code enforcement division, which administers the system. (Palm Coast’s revenue is a guaranteed $400,000 a year from the cameras, assuming all 47 cameras are running. That number is diminishing temporarily as the city widens Palm Coast Parkway.)

Craig: “What investigation was done by Palm Coast to determine who was driving that vehicle?”

Festa: “None.”

“Palm Coast’s position is that not only are you guilty until you prove yourself innocent, but that’s not even good enough. You have to inform on somebody else.”-Judge Craig

Craig: “OK. And, would you agree, I have a copy of the citation, or I guess the notice of violation,” the judge continued, ensuring that all sides had a copy, “first can you tell me, whose signature is that, under ‘police department’?”

Festa: “That is mine.”

Craig: “Now, do you allege in this notice of violation that Dennis Patrick Craig did unlawfully operate or drive that particular vehicle and did then and there commit the following offense, failure to comply with a steady red signal?”

Festa: “No.”

Craig: “OK. Well tell me if it says, ‘did unlawfully,’ is that box blackened? It says did operate and drive.” The judge showed Festa the box and repeated what he’d just said.

Festa, hesitating, said, “It is blackened out, but I did not do that.”

Craig: “OK, but you signed off on it.”

Festa: “Correct.”

Craig: “Was that under oath?”

Festa: “When I signed off on it?”

Craig: “Right. Are you swearing to that?”

Festa skirted the question. “What I, what I put my signature on,” he said, “was the vehicle going through the light, with the, from the registration, it has nothing to do with who was driving the vehicle because we have no idea who was driving the vehicle.”

That exposed one of the fundamental flaws of a system ATS and Palm Coast have been exploiting with little resistance from drivers caught in the same snare of assumptions as Craig was. But most drivers don’t battle the snare. They submit and pay the $158 fine.

“OK,” Craig continued, “so you admit who was driving the vehicle, but your form effectively accuses—me in this particular circumstance, of operating or driving the vehicle. Is that correct?”

Festa—or, in essence, the city’s assumption—was boxed in. Festa tried to wriggle out. Craig wouldn’t let him. “I’d really have to look into that,” Festa said, “because I had nothing to do with filling out this form.”

Craig: “Well, there’s nothing to look into, it’s right in front of you. Why don’t you take a closer look.”

Festa: “I do, but I don’t fill out the form, I just review the vehicles.”

Craig: “So you just sign things you don’t, you don’t fill out, or know what it says? Are you saying you don’t know what it says, what you’re signing?”

Festa: “It says ‘did unlawfully operate slash drive,’ and that box is already darkened out.”

Craig: “So, aren’t you alleging in this form that I was the operator of that vehicle?”

Festa continued to to circle around the judge’s central question: “No I’m not, I’m alleging that that vehicle went through the light. I don’t know who was operating the vehicle.”

“OK, but that’s not what that form says,” Craig tried again, repeating what the form categorically states, contrary to what Festa was maintaining to the judge’s face, as he normally would to any complainant’s face. But complainants aren’t usually sitting judges whose line of inquiry, out of deference, will not be stopped by the hearing officer, or derailed by the code enforcement officer.

“I really have to look into that,” Festa said again.

Craig wasn’t done. He was about to push his line of inquiry to the heart of the system’s flaw, exposing it as a formalized, routine dishonesty—under oath.

“Is this the form that you’ve been using for Palm Coast?” Craig asked.

Festa: “I believe so, yes.”

Craig: “OK. And how many hundreds of thousands of these citations have gone out in which you’re blackening the box that says, these people are the operator or drivers when in fact you don’t have a clue?”

Festa: “I have no idea.”

Again, no hearing officer or code enforcement official for Palm Coast would have tolerated such a line of inquiry from an ordinary resident: such hearings are usually heavily stacked against complainants. But no mere hearing officer was going to do any less than defer to a circuit judge’s approach, up to a point. Craig likely knew that going in, and as if on behalf of those who would have more readily been silenced, he took full advantage of his circumstance.

“OK, is it in the hundreds? Or is it in the thousands?” Craig asked, referring to the number of tickets issued in circumstances similar to his.

Only then did Robin McKinney, the attorney representing Palm Coast, intervene, saying—remarkably–that the question was not relevant to that particular hearing.

Craig did not concede, raising his citation and saying that was the accusation that had brought him to the hearing today. “I can cross-examine on it,” he said.

“We just object to anything that doesn’t pertain to this individual’s case,” McKinney said.

Craig paused, waiting for the hearing officer’s stance. She remained silent. “It goes to the good faith or bad faith of Palm Coast in issuing these tickets in the first place,” the judge said, “and I would submit that sending out a notice claiming that someone was the driver knowing that they don’t know who the driver was, is bad faith.”

The attorney said the city follows the process set out in law, a process that does, in fact, require that notice of a violation be sent to the driver of the vehicle, with a provision that the owner may sign an affidavit saying that he or she was not driving at the time of the violation. The law declares the owner guilty until proven innocent, in other words—another fundamental breach of basic rights. McKinney blamed the legislature for that distinction, “not Palm Coast.” But Palm Coast chose to install the 47 cameras, and to draft with ATS the sort of citation Craig had in hand.

Craig conceded that the city was sending out notices to actual drivers of cars owned by someone else at the time of the violation. But the attorney had skirted Craig’s point—that the process Palm Coast has in place entails a “bad faith” dishonesty, and that state law does not actually compel Palm Cost to draft the falsely presumptive wording in its citations.

“First of all the statute sets forth a presumption, a rebuttable presumption. But that rebuttable presumption is not a presumption that the owner is the driver,” he said, distributing a copy of the law and parsing it for the lawyer, the hearing officer and the code enforcement officer. With highlighted text. “There is nowhere in this statute that indicates that the presumption is that the owner is the driver,” Craig said.

The presumption is defined in the law, but it stops at the vehicle’s involvement. “Nowhere does it say that there is a presumption that the owner is the driver,” Craig said. “Granted, the statute allows you to send a notice to the owner of the vehicle for that violation. It doesn’t allow you to accuse the driver of being the driver or the operator. Second, it also does not allow that at a hearing that the accused has to inform anyone who actually was the driver.”

By then, Craig had unraveled as essentially improper two of the premises on which Palm Coast bases its enforcement of red-light camera citations: the assumption that the owner of a car is the driver, and the manner in which Palm Coast interprets a vehicle owner’s responsibility, when the owner is not at the wheel of a cited vehicle.

“So I chose in this case not to be an informer, and to come to a hearing,” Craig said. “Now that I know Palm Coast has no evidence as to who the driver was of that vehicle, I’m going to ask you to dismiss the case, without further testimony.”

McKinney said the law is precise in placing the responsibility of the payment of the citation on the owner, absent the owner filing an affidavit showing that a different driver was at the wheel. “And Palm Coast does notify the owners of the affidavit process,” McKinney said. She disputed Craig’s version of the law regarding the affidavit requirement.

Not so, Craig said, citing the two sections of law under which his vehicle was cited. “And under those sections, the only person that can be liable for those violations is the driver,” he said. That’s when he sarcastically referred to the city’s position as declaring all alleged violators guilty until proven innocent, and requiring them to turn informant to clear themselves.

When Craig spoke of his being in court at the time of the violation, he said he had no knowledge as to who was driving the car, “just like Palm Coast has no knowledge as to who was driving.”

The city attorney said that by law, the first vehicle owner’s responsibility is to submit an affidavit to “transfer” the violation to another driver, if the owner wants out of paying.

Again, Craig turned on the wryness: “I’m glad to see that it’s Palm Coast’s position that they don’t care who the driver was. They just want somebody to pay the fine, and quite frankly that goes to the good faith and the bad faith of Palm Coast as well. Now, knowing at this point that the only evidence is that I’m not the driver, they’re still seeking to fine me.”

“We’re mandated to follow this process,” the lawyer said, again.

“Well, quite frankly,” Craig concluded, “if the real purpose as I’ve heard published by Palm Coast officials is that they’re worried about safety, and that’s why they want to enforce these red-light tickets, I would submit that there’s absolutely no correlation between driving safely and trying to ticket non-drivers for a violation. I’m glad to see that’s what Palm Coast’s position is and so frankly set forth that that was the case.”

51 Responses for “Judge Craig Indicts Palm Coast’s “Bad Faith” Red-Light Cameras and Exposes City’s Legal Flaws as He Contests Violation”

  1. General Elector says:

    Please print and sign the petition to End Palm Coasts Red Light Cameras!

    1. Follow the link below & Print it
    Please print extra copies for your friends who are registered Palm Coast voters.
    If you get 5 or more signed. We will pick them up.
    2. Fill it out
    3. Mail it to us at:
    General Elector
    226A St. Joe Plaza Drive
    PMB 107
    Palm Coast, FL 32164

    Join us in the effort to remove them at the link below:

  2. Johnny Taxpayer says:

    “McKinney blamed the legislature for that distinction, “not Palm Coast.” McKinney is flat out wrong. Palm Coast had the “owner guilty until proved innocent” approach long before the legislature changed the law allowing for the red light cameras in 2010. The legislature merely adopted the language Palm Coast (and other cities) had already established.

    Kudo’s to the Judge for taking the time to expose this farce. There can be no more questions about the kangaroo’ness of this “court”.

  3. Since 1987 says:

    Bravo to Craig! And Bravo to FL. Great story. (see FL, I’m no totally a police-minded mentality).

  4. Steve Wolfe says:

    Beautiful! How fortuitous that Craig was himself sited and chose to participate in the Kangaroo Court, then use the opportunity to blast Palm Coast’s motive for using the cameras. This should be the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully this goes viral and that Craig will continue to offer some assistance on the matter. There are a lot of people looking for a way to battle those cameras. Finally it is made clear through the bumbling responses by the city’s attorney that the cameras are not there to address safety, but indeed revenue.

    Hope Palm Coast residents will vote for candidates who oppose the cameras also, candidates who are interested in protecting our constitutional rights above the interests of profit schemes by governments in partnership with cronies. Red light cameras actually seem to operate like a pyramid scheme. Our elected reps should know better than that. They take an oath to uphold the Constitution. How many of them actually take the time to read it?

  5. Genie says:

    Thank you, Judge Craig, for making my day! This needs to be challenged in the courts. Government is out of control.

  6. Rich says:

    A hero in my eyes!

  7. PC Dad says:

    WOW! Based on this, Judge Craig has got my vote for re-election as long as he runs for office!

  8. Ace Dead Eye Johnson says:

    Looking forward to my refund check, judge Craig out lined the illegality and flawes of the cities due process for red light camera violations and favoritism towards people with legal prowess (fine the rank and file)……..hope the city can afford to pay back the tax paying citizens for there illegal practices and take the cameras down…..


    Sad that it took a judge being ticketed to finally get this on the front burner, but good job, Judge Craig.

    And what I get from the city’s ruling is that it’s no longer necessary to stop before turning right on red. Slowing down a little bit appears to be enough.

    Downshift, here I come!

  10. w.ryan says:

    Great story!!! We are fortunate to have the Judge put this argument to a whole new level. How can anyone support red light cameras on our streets after this. You have to face your accuser in court and not the camera or the video reviewer. He’s not the witnessing agent of the State, County, or City.
    For safety? What a scam!

  11. Interestedpatron says:

    Didn’t the person who ruled just set a precedent that rolling stops are now legal? The reporter needs to follow up with the arbitrator and the judge. I agree red-light cameras are bad. But the arbitrator, in an attempt to wiggle out of trouble, set precedent that will certainly be used – and should be used.

  12. Brian says:

    Way to go Judge Craig!! Love it!!

  13. Joe says:

    Kudos Judge Craig, that was awesome!!!! Sadly, if this was your regular run of the mill citizen, the deputy in the back of the picture would probably be escorting you out, and you might find yourself paying a disorderly fine as well, when will the people in this city wake up and vote these self serving politicians out and get some new blood with new ideas. So far all we are getting is a new City Hall and 47 red light cameras that the majority of the citizens don’t want. Get Out And VOTE !!!!

  14. Rob says:

    Good or great leaders can admit when he or she is wrong.

    Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said that the late Apple founder Steve Jobs was able to do it. “It takes courage to change. It takes courage to say, ‘I was wrong.’”

    Now on the other hand, crappy leaders dig in their heels when they’re wrong. They assert authority rather than admit a mistake. Owning up to one’s mistakes or miscues is a greater sign of strength than the ability to stand one’s ground.

    Make an honest assessment of the types of leaders that have been elected in Palm Coast.
    With all that has been written here on Flaglerlive regarding the red light cameras has any of these elected officials in Palm Coast made any attempt to justify their positions?

  15. Seminole Pride says:

    Bravo Judge Craig. The same thing happened to me . Somebody else was driving my truck. I hired a Attorney and he argued the same grounds. It was dismissed, but I still have a bad faith how the city picks on the innocent., or those that can not afford an Attorney.

  16. confidential says:

    Thank You Judge Dennis Craig!!
    We knew you were an honest law professional when we voted you for the 7th circuit! A dedicated family man as well that only being so, can identify with the unjustice endured by the city residents and taxpayers in many instances. Maybe us all that in all these years had to pay a red light fine should come up with a class action suit against these cameras and city if our cases are not also dismissed and fines refunded.
    One thing was to have these cameras for safety in the few mayor intersections but a total different thing is to have them in every other corner of the major city roads for revenue and profit! The many shady deals that plague our city need to be brought to light!

    • question says:

      So if Palm Coast is truly that worried about safety why dont they pay the sheriffs office to sit on these corners and support the people that live here instead of just taking? If people see a heavy police presence on a regular basis they arent going to run red lights! Its funny the percentages of cameras that are in this town compared to state wide, we are so big and bad we have more than freakin Orlando! Speaks for itself i guess… Not safety, MONEY HUNGRY!!

    • Mary Ann Darby says:

      What about people with wheelchair lifts/carriers and bike racks that hide their license plates – do they get a fine/citation. If they get away without payings for the violations why should other individuals have to pay.

  17. Jack Howell says:

    Judge Craig put the City of Palm Coast in its place. The Judge is a very fair and just professional and he apparently “schooled” our wonderful code enforcement folks just how screwed up they really are. Furthermore, the City Attorney’s office does not have a clue either. One item that caught my eye was that Mr. Festa signed his name on the citation under the area for a Police Department signature. Is Mr. Festa a certified law enforcement police officer? Does the Florida Department of Law Enforcement recognize him as such? I think not! Judge Craig is also correct in his ridicule of the Palm Coast City government’s repeated allegation that red light cameras are in place for safety, saying there was “no correlation” between that allegation and fining car owners who were not at the wheel of their vehicle. I am a graduate of Northwestern University’ Traffic Institute and a court certified expert witness on traffic accident investigation and reconstruction. I also taught accident investigation, for several years, at the Jacksonville Sheriffs Academy. I concur 100% with the judge. These traffic hearings are nothing more than the proverbial Kangaroo Court. There is no real justice and Judge Craig is correct that you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent if allowed! It appears that Mrs. Barrington-Nix, Mr. Festa and Ms. McKinney are on a power trip but Judge Craig put them in checkmate! Unfortunately, none of the “John Q Public” would be allowed to dare challenge this omnipotent body as we are guilty.
    It is only a matter of time before ATS will be forced to close shop in the State of Florida. I see all fines paid to the City of Palm Coast will be rightfully returned to those caught up in the Kangaroo Court. Of course I have to chuckle every time one of our elected councilmen open their mouths about the cameras and safety issue. I wonder what formal training did they receive to have this knowledge? Maybe the brilliant City Manager and know it all Mayor conducted the training! (LOL)

    • Steve Wolfe says:

      Refunded with INTEREST, and perhaps the judge could negotiate a sanction against Palm Coast in the form of an additional penalty, payable in CASH, to all who were ticketed in this digital pyramid scheme.

  18. Above the Law says:

    So, the local Judge is above the Law? Really. He got lucky!

    I still like the safety the camera’s bring. Ive seen less T-bone accidents at signilized intersections.

    ATS and other red light camera folks spend millions in Tallahassee, I really don’t see a local judge having much impact on this topic.

    It’s simple stop for the red, the amber timing is sufficient. I’m here in town since the first camera went live, no tickets here, and I’m under 40.

  19. steve says:

    Time to file charges on the people signing off these citations, for false accusation and fraud

  20. Dennis McDonald says:

    The City had 10 RLC till 2012 when the City Council added 37 more. At the City hearing and presentation given by Nestor Abeu. I pointed out to Nestor that at least two of the current sites had a increase in accidents and asked if he was aware of why this was happening, as the rate of accidents was supposed to decrease with the RLC system. Nestor’s response was simply ” I don’t know “. The City Council and Mayor Netts did NOT inquire further on this point. The deal was already done.
    Shortly after former Councilman now County Commissioner Frank Meeker put the motion on the floor to ADD 37 more RLC. I believe Bill Lewis seconded and the rest is history.
    Meeker is now busy at the County level buying a $1.23 Million junk yard/old hospital and building cottages to rent in OUR County Parks with OUR tax dollars. Lewis is busy making Voting more difficult in PC. They are both busy guys that we can do without !

    Opinions from the New Palm Coast.
    Dennis McDonald

  21. real people says:

    Judge Craig you got my vote and my respect for ever

  22. Charles "Bub" Robson says:

    Thanks Judge, I have 30 plus years as an LEO in Flagler and Volusia Counties. Thanks for sticking up for the Citizens of Flagler County that have been harassed by Palm Coast money machine for many years. As those of us who have worked many years in the Criminal/Traffic courts those Red Light cameras are UNCONSTITIONAL, THEY DO NOT ALLOW A DEFENDANT TO CONFRONT THEIR ACCUSER. THANKS AGAIN JUDGE.

  23. PC Resident says:

    Landon and his council is responsible for this red light camera blight in Palm Coast. Just the tip of the iceberg reflecting this city’s incompetent follies we all must suffer through. When the red light cameras go, Landon can follow. There must be a leader out there somewhere who is more in touch with how to turn this city around. Its about time Palm Coasters demanded better.

  24. Mary Cannady says:

    I would love to contest a ticket my husband received in the mail last year. Since we both drive his car we don’t know who was driving and neither one of us remembers running the light.

  25. Ben Dover says:

    I wish he would join the fight to put an end to these thieving things , the lights are rigged , and 47 should be deemed a gross abuse of the camera`s in a city this size, putting one at the entrance to the ER should be criminal , people are obviously panicked either by trying to get an injured child or elderly parent to the ER or thieve been notified that someone they care for has a health emergency , to have one of these flash and add more stress to an already stressful situation is nothing but cold hearted greed.

  26. Annoyed says:

    Any city official who contends that those cameras are in place for safety has no integrity. They were an alternative to raising taxes. And raising taxes cost people reelection so this was there solution. Safety has nothing to do with it. American Traffic Solutions did a study to show which lights were run the most. Not which intersections have the most accidents cause by people running red lights. And their claims that the cameras reduce accidents is based on flawed, self serving studies. Just because accidents are down does not mean it has anything to do with the presence of cameras. This city commission should concede defeat before all of this money they fraudulent took from vehicle owners has to be repaid in a settlement.

  27. Enough says:

    Please write/email your Florida State Representative and let them know that you are in favor of Senate Bill 144 (SB144) to remove Red Light Cameras state wide.

    Web Link to write/email your State Representative:

    Web Links for Senate Bill 144 (SB144):

  28. KMedley says:

    Simply brilliant!

  29. TicketClinicjunky says:

    And…Not to mention what they have done is shortened the length of time a yellow light stays yellow to fatten up their pockets. I get a few of these a month. Not because i’m a horrible driver but because they make it so easy and they do not care who they ticket, as long as that fine get’s paid. I have resorted to the ticket clinic to bail me out of these frivolous tickets. This is a scam, there is no correlation between red light cameras and safety. If anything, it would cause more destruction as I have had to lock up my breaks many times because these jerks have configured these traffic lights to go from Green to yellow to red in less than 10 seconds. IT’s a racket, Not all of us have deep pockets. This county is in a horrible economic state, thanks for kicking a man while he’s down palm coast!!

  30. JtFlagler says:

    It’s amazing how when the city attorney, code enforcement officer and the hearing officer are found to be completely wrong they are indignant and try to weasel their way out. They were challenged by a judge no less and still had to bring forth ridiculous argument. This shows what a farce these hearings are and what little chance anyone has in presenting their case to have it dismissed. The agenda is simple–the city has a money machine and is using it regardless of whether it’s right or wrong.

  31. markingthedays says:

    I will still be making complete stops at red lights.

    • tulip says:

      I ALWAYS stop at red lights and a lot of times the yellow when it’s been on for a couple of seconds.

      If Palm Coast eventually takes down the cameras all the morons and selfish drivers will be running the lights “because they can” and feel that taking down the cameras is like saying “now it’s okay to disobey the lights.

      People say that the cities and, state do it for the revenue it creates and they are being unjustly fined.The city revenue goes to road maintenance, repairs and safety issues.

      Well, the state puts a very high tax on cigarettes which is a bad thing–those who want to smoke–pay up those unjustly taxes or quit smoking,

      Running lights and disobeying the law is a bad thing—so they should pay up also and stop being a jerk. on the road.

      • Dick says:

        The point is not about stopping or not stopping at red lights. The point is the city accusing someone of violating the law without sufficient evidence. If we had a real cop at that intersection, then this would never have happened. Do you know the number of people who shut up and pay up *even when they have not really violated the law*? Are you really so naive as to believe that every traffic camera citation is legitimate?? It is a typical case of private interest tying with corrupt government agencies to fleece law abiding citizens. There are already recorded cases of cities manipulating yellow light times to increase chances of running red lights (actually making roads unsafe). Try to understand the real problem.

      • Anonymous says:

        The money does NOT go to streets but rather into the general fund.

      • tom jacks says:

        The revenues go into the general fund NOT for safety. Herr Landon can then use it as a slush fund for whatever he wants.

      • Sandra P says:

        I have lived in Palm Coast for 8 years and I have heard of NO quantifiable difference in the number of accidents or injuries due to ‘red-light running’…this is merely a ‘TAX’ on the people of palm coast. The Sheriffs Dept wants nothing to do with it, nor does the DMV—other than when drivers fail to pay—This is just GREEDY City Managers…

  32. barbie says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with this judge–one thing I disagree with, though, is one of your conclusions:

    “It was the first time that a judge has contested a red-light violation, and the first time that Palm Coast’s enforcement system gave an individual so much latitude to contest the citation. It is not about to happen again.”

    Why wouldn’t it happen again? Why couldn’t any other citizen use the same justification the judge did, at least to the extent that the circumstances are similar? The city attorney can’t decide who he does and does not take testimony from. Whether the ticket recipient is a judge or not shouldn’t matter in that regard.

    Barrington-Nix’s justification for dismissal here is nothing short of astonishing. You just know she didn’t come up with that on her own, she did that at the advice of counsel. So we have a city attorney who essentially told her to dismiss this ticket because of a fact that wasn’t even relevant to the case? How does THAT work?

    I freely admit there is in fact something concrete in the law that says the city can actually do these things that they are doing, and do them lawfully. And do so in such a way that the next person who lent their car to someone who proceeded to get a ticket for this couldn’t possibly contest that ruling or cite it as case precedent. Heck, seems to me like the city left an opening the size of a Mack truck for the next challenger to drive through, and get all this nonsense stopped for good. But I might be missing something. Help me out!

  33. Rick" says:

    “A fired executive of Chicago’s beleaguered red light camera company alleges in a lawsuit that Redflex Traffic Systems doled out bribes and gifts at “dozens of municipalities” in 13 other states…..”

    “Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today he will axe the city’s embattled red-light camera vendor when its contract expires in July, citing new investigative findings that the company gave thousands of dollars in free trips to the former city official who oversaw the decade-long program.”

    Both of these statements, from two different articles, straight from the Chicago Tribune reporter. What do you suppose the Palm Coast’s cronies received?

  34. Mike Hull says:

    So it pays once again not to be johnQpublic when trying to get treated fairly in PC. I only wish i was there to see Joe sweat.

  35. reality hits hard says:

    how many drunks,unlicensed or high drivers are getting away with it because they aren’t worried about an actual officer stopping em? this camera method has led to people drunk behind the wheel figuring if they stop fully-they wont be caught… about leaving the roadways to the deputies patrolling em?

  36. confidential says:

    Coming August and November we have to get rid of incumbents city, county and state!

  37. ryan says:

    I have noticed another problem with the red light cameras as well as the red lights. I have tied when they turn from yellow to red, and the timing varies. I have had to literally slam the brakes to stop to avoid a red light ticket when I was not excessively speeding, but simply going 5 over if that. I don’t have a digital speedometer so I could not say whether it was 2 or 4 over, but anyone should be able to stop in time if that was the case. It almost seems to me that the timer is rigged in order to make money for the city. Also, in terms of the revenue, we need to know how much goes to the city and how much goes to the traffic cam company. Remember, the devil is in the details. The specifics matter.

  38. Mike says:

    Palm Coast had its butt handed to them, the Judge peeled back the onion and showed its all about the money. Code Enforcement needs an attitude adjustment in this city, they think they are god’s, above the law. They need to remember they are nothing more or less than city employees who need to respect residents. Every person should just not pay the fine in protest of what just occurred, tell city council unless you can prove I was behind the wheel sorry no payment. Innocent until proven gulty, worked for OJ, Casey Anthony and Zimmerman.

  39. Man With A Plan says:

    Paid Ticket Clinic $80 they beat my citation and Palm Coast got squat.

    Innocent until you pay the man. Thats how the law works in America.

    Anyone with a brain who knows they can’t beat the system can still starve it to death.

  40. Just an observation says:

    I applaud Judge Craig. The point he is making is the presumption of guilt. If Palm coast really cared about safety then they would ticket the driver , not the car. Palm coast has a financial interest in finding the owner guilty and if you want to fight your summons you run the very real risk of being fined more.

  41. singlemombeingevicted says:

    I received one of these and the light was yellow all the way through and turned red at the very back end. The yellow light was about 2 seconds long. I am having to take the money from my rent to pay this ticket and I am already behind on it. I would fight it but am scared because of the verbage they use on the ticket that it will result in more money lost. I am not even sure if I was driving my car that night because the ticket arrived like two weeks later and the financial impact is devastating. The city is taking food out of my children’s mouths. I work full time and still am in the food bank line once a month and it is bad enough If I fight it I miss a day of work and don’t get paid.

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