Appeals court supports ATS role in issuing red-light camera violations

in Uncategorized by

A decision by a divided three-judge state appeals court on Wednesday defended the role of a contractor helping the City of Hollywood observe motorist violations with Red-Light Cameras.

In a 2-1 ruling, The Fourth District Court of Appeal overturned a Broward County court decision to dismiss the red-light camera case against motorist Eric Arem.

Arem’s lawsuit focused on American Traffic Solutions, Inc., which contracts with Hollywood to provide both Red-Light Cameras and the computerized system for processing violations.

Although Hollywood traffic-enforcement officers are the ones to decide which motorists will be cited, the company mails out notices of violations and, if needed, issue uniform traffic citations.

Arem challenged his alleged red-light camera violation, and the claim was supported by a county judge — ruling that state law did not allow for contractors to impart uniform traffic citations to the court clerk and found that traffic-enforcement officer must furnish the information.

However, the appeals court disagreed on Wednesday.

The majority opinion by Judge Burton Conner and joined by Judge Carole Taylor said:

“Upon reviewing the procedures employed by the city under its contract with ATS, we are satisfied that it is a traffic enforcement officer who makes the decision to issue the citation.”

“The manner in which the original citation reaches the registered owner and the manner in which the digital version of the charging document reaches the county court does not deprive the county court of jurisdiction to entertain the enforcement proceeding.”

In his dissent, Judge Mark Klingensmith wrote that the city does not have the legal power to delegate those duties to a private organization.

“The primary issue presented here is whether the city of Hollywood can outsource to a third-party for-profit vendor its statutorily mandated obligation to issue uniform traffic citations for red light camera violations, or to outsource its duty to provide them to the court to invoke jurisdiction,” Klingensmith added.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.