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6/13/2007
Red Light Cameras on Trial in South Dakota, New Mexico
Class action lawsuits against photo enforcement systems in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Albuquerque, New Mexico moved forward this week.

CourtroomClass action lawsuits against photo enforcement systems in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Albuquerque, New Mexico moved forward this week. Motorist I.L. Wiedermann and his attorney, Aaron Eiesland, argued yesterday before Circuit Judge Kathleen Caldwell that Sioux Falls must refund $1.7 million worth of red light camera tickets it has issued since May 2004. The city and its red light camera vendor countered that anyone who paid $86 is not entitled to his money back.

Wiedermann's attorney cited the recent Minnesota Supreme Court decision striking down red light cameras as illegal (read opinion) as well as a Minnehaha Circuit Court ruling that found it unconstitutional for a city to provide no appeal from its rulings on the facts of a case. There is no appeal allowed from a city hearing officer decision in a red light camera case.

Albuquerque likewise may be forced to refund the $9.3 million worth of tickets it has issued if it loses the class action lawsuit that District Court Judge Valerie Huling recently certified. Plaintiffs argued that the city's camera program created an unfair, city-controlled process to appeal citations using a "nuisance" ordinance to bypass traditional due process protections.

"They've essentially set up a parallel court that has no legal standing," plaintiffs' attorney Rick Sandoval explained to the Albuquerque Tribune newspaper.

Australian red light camera vendor Redflex (ASX:RDF) is in charge of both ticketing programs.

Source: City seeks limits on red-light lawsuit (Sioux Falls Argus Leader (SD), 6/13/2007)

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