Richardson Suspends Red-Light Camera Program Pending Court Ruling

The city of Richardson is immediately suspending its red-light camera program until further notice, following a court ruling that determined a driver was not liable for the fine for a red-light ticket.

In a press release Tuesday the city said the red-light program will be suspended until a court provides clarification or a ruling on the legality of the program.

Earlier this month a Dallas County judge ordered the city of Richardson to dismiss a red-light camera ticket given to Irving attorney Russell Bowman and to pay him $27,500 in legal fees after he filed a lawsuit saying such tickets are unconstitutional.

Bowman filed the lawsuit in August 2015 after he received a ticket for running a red light at Central Expressway and Belt Line Road in his Hyundai. He argued in his lawsuit that the city tried to "illegally extort" $75 from him for issuing him a red-light camera ticket.

"It just struck me as so unfair and so against our system that our country was founded on," Bowman said.

Bowman said he didn't receive the initial notice that he ran the red light on Nov. 12, 2012, and wasn't aware of it until two years later when he got a letter saying he would be unable to re-register his car.

He said a part of the Texas Transportation Code is unconstitutional because the state legislature has decided running red lights is a criminal offense. Violations of red light cameras are issued as a civil penalty.

In criminal cases, Bowman said people have rights such as confronting their accusers in court. In the case of red-light cameras, people have no such rights, he said.

Also in criminal cases, people have a right to trial by a jury or an impartial judge. But in red light cases, he said a hearing officer acts as both judge and jury.

Bowman also is involved in a class action lawsuit in Tarrant County over red-light cameras. That case is pending.

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