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Jim Guidry Commentaries
Harris County
Red Light Camera Lawsuit
News Release
Friday, September 23, 2011

FEDERAL CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST HOUSTON AND MAYOR PARKER
TO NULLIFY THOUSANDS OF RED LIGHT CAMERA TICKETS ISSUED AFTER THE RLC ELECTION

A class action lawsuit has been filed in a Houston federal court to stop the enforcement and collection of thousands of Red Light Camera tickets issued after 181,000 Houston citizens voted to amend the City Charter in 2010 outlawing Red Light Cameras and after the City itself certified the election results.

“If a citizen pays their red light camera ticket they likely cannot get their money back even when this class action lawsuit is won.” said civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen. “If Judge Hughes ruling throwing out the City-certified People’s Vote stands then the People of Houston--conservative and liberal, black and white, Republican and Democrat--will have lost an important right to directly effect the way they are governed.”

After traffic data showed that Houston’s Red Light Cameras were dangerous and increasing accidents a majority of safety conscious Houston citizens voted out the Red Light Cameras in the November 2010, election. After the election the Mayor and the City certified the election results and the cameras were turned off.

On July 9, 2011, Mayor Parker unilaterally turned the cameras back on without City Council input and on July 24, 2011, the City began issuing Red Light Camera tickets at 70 RLC locations until August 24, 2011, issuing thousands of Red Light Camera tickets in violation of the People’s Vote.

“The City and Mayor need to respect the People’s Vote and if they do not someone has to stand up for the People.” said John Strangmeier, the plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Not only were the Red Light Cameras shown to increase accidents the total number of red light citations increased in the last year of operation echoing critic’s contentions that the Red Light Cameras did not decrease red light running. Many RLC intersections had their yellow light times so short that the citations were ten times that of the RLC intersections with TxDOT standard yellow light times.




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