Missouri Supreme Court to Weigh In Today on Red-Light Cameras

Jan 27, 2010 at 8:30 am
Five years after they first began popping up in intersections across Missouri, red-light cameras are finally having their day before the state's highest court.

Today the Missouri Supreme Court will hear the case of Adolph Belt Jr. a retired Missouri Highway Patrol trooper, who's fighting the red-light ticket he received in Springfield in 2008.

Belt is challenging the way the camera system works in Springfield -- as well as municipalities such as St. Louis -- in which tickets from the cameras are treated as an administrative action and not a criminal act.

"This case is not about Trooper Belt trying to get out of a $100 ticket," Jason Umbarger, Belt's attorney, told the Springfield News-Leader yesterday. "But rather an attempt to challenge a "radical new form of prosecution through administrative action."

"What we have here is a case where motorists in the city of Springfield are being charged with a crime and fined without the traditional presumptions of innocence or the other protections that criminal defendants have," continued Umbarger. "This is a criminal case, it's a criminal action, everything about it is criminal in nature, except the city's willingness to honor defendants' rights."

Last year St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Robert Dierker challenged the red-light ticket he received from a camera in the city. Dierker won his challenge in December and the case file was sealed immediately from pubic view.