8/3/2006Tennessee: Innocent Man Pays Dearly for Bogus Red Light Camera Ticket
An innocent man pays three times the amount of a red light camera ticket to prove his own innocence.
Knoxville, Tennessee City Court Judge John Rosson on Wednesday acquitted an innocent man accused of running a red light by the city's new automated ticket system. Robbie Parton, 40, lost $160 in wages to fight the $50 citation he received on June 8 and became the first motorist to challenge a ticket successfully.
"We're innocent, but I've lost a day of pay for today when they were at fault," Parton told the Knoxville News.
Others are discouraged by the high cost of fighting a ticket. Those who exercise their constitutional rights face a doubling of the cost of a ticket to $117.50 if they are unable to prove their own innocence in court. Parton took the risk with a simple defense -- his car is gold, but the ticket shows a red car. Judge Rosson noted after a cursory glance at the photo that the license plate on Parton's car ends in "M" but the photograph shows a car with a license plate ending in "K."
Despite the obvious error, Knoxville Police Department officials maintain that a police officer personally verifies every single citation submitted by Australian camera vendor Redflex. The camera system has mailed out 11,785 tickets worth $589,250 in revenue as of August 1.