California Court: Illegal Contracts Don’t Void Red-Light Tickets

California law prohibits compensation to the ticketing companies based on the citations or revenue generated
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A California appellate court has ruled that a red-light citation generated from a traffic camera is still a valid ticket, even if the company that issued the ticket might have an illegal arrangement with the local government.

In the case, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court in Los Angeles County on Monday upheld a ticket issued in 2007. The defense had argued, among other things, that the prosecution failed to prove that the contract between the jurisdiction (the city of Lancaster) and the company that issued the ticket (Redflex) complied with California law, which prohibits compensation to the company based on the citations or revenue generated.

A different California appeals court, in Orange County, had previously overturned a ticket in a different case because it determined that the contract violated California law, but the Los Angeles court said such a question was irrelevant,

“We find that the elements of the infraction of which defendant was convicted do not require the prosecution to present evidence to establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, compliance [with the law],” the three-judge panel wrote.

The differing court opinions could mean that the issue is resolved in the California Supreme Court, should the defendant continue pursuing it.

The case began when a Honda ran a red-arrow light 0.18 seconds after it came on. The defendant had also made broad discovery requests, seeking higher-resolution photos of the incident and information such as the maintenance records of the camera.