Supreme Court looking at St. Louis red-light camera program -

Supreme Court looking at St. Louis red-light camera program

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By Brendan Marks By Brendan Marks

(KMOV) – The Missouri Supreme Court is taking on the controversial red-light camera issue when it comes to the city of St. Louis.

The high court is looking at the cases of two different drivers who say they were ticketed by the cameras for cars they were not driving at the time.

According to St. Louis officials, the review of Tupper vs. City of St. Louis will look to answer the question of how the cameras are enforced. They say it will help finally clear up contradictory rulings around the state.

“Conflicting Missouri Court of Appeals rulings have led to confusion on the proper enforcement of red light cameras.  We are pleased the Supreme Court is willing to clarify the situation,” said Deputy City Counselor Michael Garvin.

This comes months after St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Steve Ohmer reinstated the city’s red-light program, days after ruling the city could no longer ask alleged violators to pay their tickets and collection letters could no longer be sent for red-light camera tickets.

Critics have argued the cameras are doing more harm than good. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson says they’re helping do more than just enforce traffic.

“There are red-light cam programs that operate all over the country. Our program will continue to operate. What this will do is tell us how to operate, what evidence do you need to move forward with a case,” said Dotson.

The city says it earns about $22,000 a day from the cameras, a third of which goes to American Traffic Solutions. In 2013, the city says $6 million were collected in fines.

The cameras have been a source of controversy for several municipalities in the St. Louis area, with appeals and reverses in St. Louis, Ellisville, Creve Coeur and St. Peters, among others.

According to the Missouri Municipal League, more than 30 cities in the state have ordinances tied to red-light cameras.

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