2/22/2008Texas: Ex-Police Officer Becomes Hearing Officer
A Lufkin, Texas police officer is chosen to be the independent judge in red light camera hearings.
Under state law, Texas motorists have a right to defend themselves from red light camera citations before an independent hearing officer. On Tuesday, the Lufkin City Council appointed former Lufkin Police Lieutenant Greg Denman to be its independent judge of motorists accused by the Lufkin police ticketing program.
"You can fight (a citation) by getting an affidavit and swearing that you were not driving that you had loaned the car to someone else -- and you will have to name the person and give an address of the person who borrowed the car and they will be sent a summons," Lufkin Police Lieutenant David Young explained in August. "Greg will be the hearing officer if someone contests one of these they will go before him."
The hearings operate under a "preponderance of evidence" standard where the owner of a vehicle is automatically presumed guilty of the offense. Under a state law adopted last year, however, a motorist found guilty in a hearing may ask for a brand new trial in a court of law where the burden of proof is raised to "beyond a reasonable doubt" (view law). Traffipax, a German company, operates the cameras, mails citations and collects the fines for the city of Lufkin.