Breaking news in our Red Light Camera Ticket Appeal: The Ninth Judicial Circuit for Orange County, Florida, issued an order on February 16, 2016, and determined that the City of Orlando’s Red Light Camera program is an improper delegation of the City’s police powers.
Effectively, the opinion renders all of the City of Orlando’s red light camera tickets illegal and probably makes red light cameras illegal in all of Orange County.
The full opinion from the Circuit Court can be found here: Hastings v. City of Orlando.
The jist is this: The Ninth Judicial Circuit found that it was bound to follow the precedent set by the Fourth District Court of Appeal in City of Hollywood v. Arem. In Arem, the Fourth District decided that the City of Hollywood’s use of a private vendor, American Traffic Solutions (ATS), to make the initial judgment regarding red light violations before submitting them to the City was an improper delegation of the City’s police powers.
The Ninth Circuit determined that our case is “almost identical” to Arem. The City of Orlando uses the same vendor, ATS, to administer its Red Light program. The Ninth Circuit held that the ATS-Orlando Red Light Program,
constitutes an unlawful delegation of police power because the City authorized ATS employees to essentially determine when a violation of [the statutes] occurred.
In layman’s terms, the court held that the red light program is not valid because the City isn’t the one deciding who gets a ticket. Instead, the private vendor, ATS, steps into the shoes of the local police force and decides who gets a ticket.
It is not yet known whether the City will appeal the decision to the Fifth District, but the City maintains that they will continue to implement the program and seek fines for violations, which is a blatant disregard for the law laid down by the Ninth Circuit.
What this means for the average person living in Orlando or Orange County, Florida, who is issued a red light ticket, is that he or she will still have to go to court and fight it. It will not be dismissed automatically. But anyone who fights it in court and asks the judge to dismiss based on the Ninth Circuit opinion – even if that person did actually run the red light – should get the fines and ticket thrown out.
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UPDATE: Check out some of the news coverage, below:
Also check out Wesh 2’s story: WESH 2 Camera Story