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Missouri Supreme Court calls “foul!” on Springfield’s red-light traffic camera

This is a $100 case. But sometimes, it’s not the money–it’s the principle.

Those are the surprising words of the Missouri Supreme Court.

The City of Springfield’s camera caught Adolph Belt’s car moving through a red light. Three months later, the City sent Belt a ticket for running a red light, and notified him that he could pay a $100 fine or request a court date. If he chose to appear in court, he faced a penalty of at least $100.

Belt requested a court date and received written confirmation that he would have a “contested hearing” to be held under the provisions of Chapter 536 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, also known as the Administrative Procedures Act.

Belt appeared at the hearing and contested the camera’s finding. A 30-veteran of the Missouri Highway Patrol with five years experience as a Kansas City traffic officer, Belt sensed that the yellow caution light cycle was too quick. He measured it with a stopwatch and presented his findings at the hearing to Todd Thornhill, a municipal judge who was acting as an “administrative hearing officer.” Thornhill didn’t accept the validity Read the rest of this entry

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