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Red Light Camera Challenge

Believed to be an unprecedented challenge to Orlando’s red light camera law, initial briefs have been filed in the Ninth Circuit Court for Orange County, Florida, that seek to bar the use of red light cameras for all of Central Florida.

It turns out that Orlando’s red light cameras are run and maintained by a private company, “American Traffic Solutions” (aka “ATS”). ATS makes nearly half the profits collected through the use of the red light cameras, and the number of rear-end collisions and total crashes have gone up by 35% and 12%, respectively, since the cameras were implemented.*

According to the legislation that created and authorized the use of red light cameras, the “Mark Wandall Act,” municipalities are required to provide the streaming video and photographic evidence that is being used against the owner of the vehicle accused of running a red light.

In one of the cases that is the subject of appeal, the photographic evidence shows that the light was simultaneously red and yellow at or about the exact moment the violation allegedly occurred:

The time reference, “4:23,” was added by Appellant for presentation purposes. Crucial metadata was not provided by the City as required by law.

Based on this evidence, Appellant Joseph Carroll requested that the City provide the critical metadata (that is, time stamp codes and other embedded data) that would show whether or not he actually committed a violation.

However, the City of Orlando refused to provide the metadata required by law, and ATS and the City appear to be systematically hiding such data. Furthermore, Carroll presented undisputed testimony that he was unable to stop due to the aggressive driver directly behind him, out of fear of a rear-end collision.

At the hearing on his violation, hearing officer William Vose, a retired high-ranking sheriff’s officer, rejected Carroll’s arguments and suggested he take it up with the court of appeals, which is exactly what Carroll did.

The full arguments in Carroll’s case can be viewed here: Initial Brief Carroll

In addition, a similar appeal was filed by Carroll’s attorney (this author) arguing that the use of a private vendor, ATS, is an improper delegation of the state’s police power, as ATS is given unfettered authority to pre-screen and specially select which videos are submitted to law enforcement for violations. The full arguments in that case can be viewed here: Initial Brief Hastings

While there have been  many different challenges to various red light camera laws across the country, this appears to be the first challenge anywhere based upon “metadata,” and the first challenge in Central Florida based upon improper delegation of police power.

*UPDATE: Local Channel 9 aired a story about our appeal*

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