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Illinois Appellate Court Says Cameras Can Ticket Year Round
Speed cameras in Illinois will operate nearly year round under appellate court ruling.

Beating city hall is not easy, especially in Chicago. Last month, the state Court of Appeals blasted the attempt of motorist Kenneth Maschek to invalidate the $100 speed camera ticket he received in a school zone during the summer break. In writing for the three-judge panel, Justice Robert E. Gordon made clear the court's acceptance of the automated ticketing regime.

"The automated speed enforcement law governs the conduct of the city but not the driver," Justice Gordon wrote. "The automated speed enforcement law dictates when the city can and cannot operate automated speed enforcement cameras. However, drivers must still conform to the law, whether or not an automated speed enforcement camera is running."

Maschek argued that state law prohibited the city from mailing citations in the summer because automated ticketing is limited to "school days" from 7am to 7pm. Maschek says that the public would reasonably expect school days to mean days within the ordinary school year. In the Chicago public school system, summer break began on June 17. Maschek's car was photographed at 5:30pm outside Lane Tech High School on June 26, 2014.

Lane Tech is a college prep "magnet" school that caters to the best students with the city's largest advance placement program, with half of the study body participating. A small percentage of the students, less than four percent, are classified as special needs, though the school does its best to integrate them in the student body.

"Another area of diversity is the inclusion of special needs students," Lane Tech explained in a filing with the US Department of Education. "Most are integrated into the regular educational program and those more severely disabled are embraced by students who serve as 'Best Buddies' to assist in their care by taking them for walks."

About forty special needs students, out of the student body of 4200, participated in an extended summer program on June 26. The appellate court reasoned that it counts as a school day for the purpose of the automated ticketing law if a single student shows up.

"Although plaintiff raises arguments about the 'school year' and the "school calendar," the operative phrase in the automated speed enforcement law is 'school day,' and a school day for a special needs child is defined as a day that he or she is in attendance at school for instructional purposes,'" Justice Gordon concluded.

The court argued that it does not matter that the legislature's attempt to limit the days speed cameras are in use is watered down.

"A driver does not have to be on notice about when he is most likely to be caught," Justice Gordon wrote. "Encouraging drivers to slow down furthers the safety of children, whether or not the drivers are caught. This 'slow down' is specifically what the sponsor of the automated speed enforcement bill claimed as a safety benefit, which benefits society as a whole."

A copy of the ruling is available in a 100k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Maschek v. Chicago (Court of Appeals, State of Illinois, 12/11/2015)

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