4/21/2007Iowa: Court Approves Class Action Suit Against Speed Cameras
Davenport, Iowa may be forced to refund 20,000 photo tickets after a judge approves a class action lawsuit.
A Scott County, Iowa District Court on Friday certified a class action lawsuit seeking refunds for the nearly 20,000 speed camera tickets issued in the city of Davenport. Judge Gary D. McKenrick had ruled earlier this year that the camera program was illegal under state law (view ruling). A hearing set for June 18 could determine the amount of possible refunds.
Davenport shut down its ticketing program in January, losing $590,000 in expected profit for the year. The city had also issued 10,000 red light camera citations since August 2004.
The Supreme Court of Iowa agreed earlier this year to take up the issue of the legality of traffic cameras. It has yet to issue a ruling, but a unanimous decision by Minnesota's highest earlier this month gives little hope to camera supporters. The Minnesota justices struck down cameras as illegal, approving legal arguments essentially identical to those submitted by the ACLU of Iowa in the Iowa Supreme Court case (view Minnesota Supreme Court ruling).
"This is about government control more than citizen privacy," said Ben Stone, Executive Director of the ACLU of Iowa. "We hope this case can provide a vehicle to help put the brakes on the idea that it's okay for computerized machines to control our lives."