10/31/2006Chicago Denies Due Process with Red Light Camera Tickets
The Department of Revenue in Chicago, Illinois denies motorists a fair hearing on red light camera charges.
Those innocent of the crime of red light running have almost no defense when contesting tickets before a "hearing officer" employed by the city of Chicago, Illinois. This system generated $18.9 million in revenue between January 1 and August 31. Out of the 210,964 citations issued, worth $90 each, only 0.5 percent of those cited have been found not guilty.
Chicago Police Officer Clyde Hudson is one of almost 10,000 who have fought a Chicago photo ticket this year. He argued that he ran a red light to avoid a rear-end collision, but Hudson was surprised to find that the Department of Revenue was not interested in his circumstances. He was found guilty because Department of Revenue-trained hearing officers are instructed to find a motorist not guilty only if he can prove his own innocence by showing his car was stolen or leased to someone else when the offense occurred.
"This is just a way for the city to make money," Hudson told the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper.