12/3/2010Germany: Judge Faces Discipline For Questioning Speed Camera Legitimacy
Judge in Germany removed from hearing traffic cases after he questions motivations behind speed cameras.
A veteran district court judge in Herford, Germany was ordered this week not to hear traffic cases after he dared question whether speed camera citations are being issued merely as a means of generating revenue. Judge Helmut Knoner faces two criminal charges for acquitting forty-two motorists last month after noting that the automated ticketing machines lacked a solid legal foundations and appeared to be installed by authorities with questionable motives.
"Many cities and municipalities are feeling the pressure of empty coffers and earn good money with photo radar," Knoner stated.
The move outraged prosecutors who dubbed Knoner "Judge Accelerator" and pushed to ensure the 62-year-old magistrate would not sit on any traffic cases while his acquittals are brought before an appellate court for review.
"From our perspective Knoner is no longer able to objectively approach the issue," spokesman Reinhard Baumgart told Westfalischer Anzeiger, "This attitude shows that he is biased."
Prosecutors pointed to his November 11 appearance on the RTL television show "Stern TV" where the judge spoke candidly about his views on automated ticketing machines being a scam. This was sufficient to raise doubts regarding Knoner's impartiality. Knoner will fight charges of obstruction of justice and rejects the accusation that he is biased.
"I just have a different view of things," Knoner told the Westfalen-Blatt newspaper.
Knoner continues to hear cases as a judge in areas unrelated to speeding.