While revisiting former issues in Arnold from 2005 on the site ArnoldTalk.com, I came across an interesting topic regarding then-Attorney General Jay Nixon's view on Red Light Cameras. There was an article on stltoday.com (which has since been scrubbed) stating Nixon's opinions on prosecuting someone for a red light camera violation. Below is the article, which was posted on ArnoldTalk.com:
Questions are raised on use of "red-light" traffic photos
By Shane Graber
Of the Post-Dispatch
Tuesday, Aug. 09 2005
Some Missouri cities soon might use traffic cameras to ticket unlawful drivers. But the state attorney general doesn't think the photographs will hold up in court.
The city of Arnold recently decided to install traffic cameras that will
photograph license plates of vehicles running red lights. Creve Coeur is
considering a similar program.
But Attorney General Jay Nixon says the photographs won't provide enough proof to ticket motorists.
"I think it's pretty clear these pictures can't be the sole or only evidence to cite drivers for violating state traffic laws," Nixon said in a telephone
interview. "I have deep concern whether taking someone's picture rolling
through a stop light is adequate evidence in and of itself to uphold a state
Red-light cameras are set up at the corners of an intersection on poles. The cameras point toward the intersection. If a car enters the intersection against a red light, it sets off a trigger, which then tells a computer to snap two pictures. The first one shows the car entering the intersection. The next one shows the car in the middle of it.
American Traffic Solutions will provide Arnold with the service. Jane Dueker, a lawyer who represents the company, said local police would have the authority to use the cameras because they would be enforcing local ordinances, not state laws. Pictures are used as evidence in courts all the time, she said.
Big Brother factor
Arnold Police Chief Robert Shocke said the violation won't go on the person's driving record.
Several cities, including New York, Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles,
already use red-light cameras. Some studies, though, show that legal or not, the cameras don't make intersections safer.
In a study by North Carolina A&T State University in 2004, funded by the Urban Transit Institute, research showed that while accidents at intersections decreased over a five year period, intersections where red-light cameras were installed did not experience the same decrease.
Dr. Mark Burkey, co-author of the study, said he had found no benefits to the cameras.
State Rep. Connie L. Johnson, D-St. Louis, tried to pass a bill last
session that would have made the cameras legal statewide, but it died in
committee "because all the controversy of Big Brother," she said.
"But nobody has a right to privacy on a public street," she said. "It's as
simple as that."
The Big Brother concern is a common one, said Tom Miller, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Transportation. His department has traffic cameras at about 100 of its 1,000 intersections in the area.
Although they're used for traffic flow and not enforcement, he gets calls all the time from motorists who think they're being watched.
Gateway Guide, a joint venture between the Missouri and Illinois transportation departments, also uses dozens of cameras throughout the region. These, too, are unable to be used by law enforcement, Miller said.
Nixon said the state, city, or anyone else can snap as many photos as they want of people on the road. But those photos alone won't prove a legal case.
"A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a picture in and of itself is not a conviction," he said.
What you do not see is Mr. Nixon coming straight out and saying that this is an illegal practice. There is a reason for that. This is not an Illegal practice. Our ordinance is sound and we believe it will hold up in accordance with the laws.
I also fail to see where the taxpayers would lose out due to lawsuits. Who is going to be sued and over what. If you beat a ticket in court you cannot sue for damage to your character. If and I do mean if Mr. Nixon is not just coming out of his shell to grouse and then return to his hole for six more weeks of winter I will be surprised. However in the unlikely event that this happens it is he that must provide that we are wrong. As legislators we have the presumption of being correct when we enact ordinance. That is a high hurdle to jump even for the states top Attorney.
Wow. That's pretty strong words by Mr. Crisler. I'm sure he thought that equating the now-Govenor to a groundhog, and proclaiming Arnold's City Council as omnipotent would not get noticed on ArnoldTalk.com. I'm sure Mr. Crisler didn't believe that 5 years later he would be the catalyst for the biggest example of quid pro quo in Arnold's 38-year history.
Job 4:8 states "“As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.", also known as "You Reap what you Sow". Crisler, and others in Arnold have been sowing the seeds of corruption and stabbing Arnold in the back for many years now. Very soon, these same elected officials may be reaping the resuls of thier actions at the ballot box.