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Another Missouri Court of Appeals Holds Red Light Cameras Used Illegally
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The Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District has now held that red light cameras have been used illegally in the state. Earlier, the appeals court for the Eastern District had also come to the same conclusion.

In their unanimous 49-page decision, the three-judge panel of the appeals court struck down the automated ticketing ordinance in Kansas City for violating state law.

  
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Writing for the three-judge panel, Judge Gary D. Witt observed, “A municipal ordinance that conflicts with the state statute is void … As a matter of law this (ordinance) unequivocally conflicts with the state statute and is therefore void.”

Earlier this month, a similar ordinance in Ellisville was struck down by the Eastern District court.

However, the Western District court found that Kansas City had actively colluded with its vendor American Traffic Solutions in a “civil conspiracy” to generate illegal revenue.

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The city argued that anyone who paid a fine did so voluntarily, not choosing to contest the matter and take it to trial. But the court did not buy the argument that a person who paid a fine lost the standing to challenge the constitutionality of that fine, because he had agreed to pay it.

The court found that ATS had a role in influencing and benefiting from the prosecution machinery while financially gaining from findings of guilt.



Especially, the court noted the $4 charge ATS imposes when anyone tries to pay the fine online or over the phone.

Judge Witt wrote, “There is no statutory authorization for an assessment of a fee or court cost for the $4 convenience fee.” “The rule in criminal as in civil cases is that recovery and allowance of costs rests entirely on statutory authority and that no right or liability for costs exists in the absence of statutory authorization.”

As to the question of whether the constitutional rights of motorists had been violated, the appeals court has asked the trial court to consider the issue.



 

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