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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Missouri Appellate Court Hears Red-Light Camera Case

Posted By on Wed, Oct 5, 2011 at 4:16 PM

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Appellate judges for the Missouri Court of Appeals - Eastern District heard arguments this morning in a lawsuit challenging Creve Coeur's red-light camera ordinance.

The Creve Coeur municipal court and St. Louis County Circuit Court have both ruled against plaintiff Mary Nottebrok, of St. Louis County, in previous trials. Her attorney, Bevis Schock, hopes that this time a panel of three appellate judges will deliver the ruling that he and his client seek.

Schock argued today that the Creve Coeur law violates a person's right to due process, as it automatically assumes that the owner of the car was the person driving the vehicle at the time of the infraction. Schock ran a scenario by the judges: Under Creve Coeur's law, if a son ran a red-light while borrowing his father's car and the son went to court and admitted running the light, it wouldn't matter. The citation would still be issued in the father's name.

Moreover, Schock argued that the Creve Coeur ordinance is composed as an end-run around the state law. As written, motorists aren't cited for running a red light. Instead, they're cited for being present in the intersection when the light is red. Writing the law that way keeps it from being a moving violation under state law.

City attorney Carl Lumley represented Creve Coeur and argued that the city had the right to draft its ordinances as it sees fit, especially when those laws deal with public safety.

The appellate justices won't likely render a decision for a couple months.  

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