Plano Sued Over Red Light Cameras

A new push is underway to pull the plug on red light cameras in Texas for good after a lawsuit was filed in Plano claiming that state and local laws allowing the cameras are unconstitutional.

Plano currently has 25 cameras installed at 17 intersections across the city.

The lawsuit claims the due process rights of Plano drivers who contest tickets are being violated because it says the judge, who drivers contest tickets to, doesn't have the proper jurisdiction to hear the case.

The lawsuit filed this month against the City and the Police Chief says all of the red light cameras are illegal and that all red light camera tickets should be voided.

Russell Bowman, the Irving-based attorney who filed the case, said he currently has about eight red light camera cases pending, including his own.

Bowman received a red light camera ticket four years ago and is still appealing it.

“When I asked for the information like the engineering study and they wouldn’t give it to me so it didn’t leave me with any choice but to pay it or file suit and I had a real problem for paying for something like that that I don’t owe,” Bowman said.

Since then, Bowman has filed more than a half-dozen lawsuits on behalf of other drivers wanting to fight their tickets, too.

His most recent clients are two Plano drivers now named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the City.

“I'll put it to you this way, Mr. Stewart [his colleague] and I wouldn't be spending our time on these if we weren't dead on solid that we're right and we should prevail,” Bowman said. “Since they don't have any jurisdiction, they don't have authority to do anything so it’s kind of a mirage."

A Plano police spokesperson couldn't comment specifically on the case but said the cameras have helped reduce accidents at the 17 intersections with them by 29.3 percent.

The spokesperson also pointed out 100 percent of money made from the cameras goes into the city's traffic safety initiative, paying for things like back-up generators that keep traffic lights on when the power goes out.

“They’re for the greater good,” one driver told NBC 5 about the cameras.

Bowman said he isn't buying it and hopes his case paves the way for red light cameras to go dark statewide.

The City of Plano spokesperson tells NBC 5 there are no plans to remove or add any more cameras.

But, the spokesperson said they're closely watching red light camera litigation across the state.

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