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Miami Judge Puts Red Light on Traffic Cameras

By Trimmel Gomes/Associated Press


Tallahassee, FL – A judge has voided the city of Aventura's use of cameras to catch motorists who run red lights. The decision Monday by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jerald Bagley could have an impact on similar lawsuits pending against Florida cities.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by a motorist who argued that only the state Legislature can pass laws regarding traffic violations. For about five years, there has been an effort to bring red light cameras to Florida. Cities were close last year when the late Senator Jim King of Jacksonville, a long time opponent of a red light camera bill, reluctantly supported the measure.

"This particular bill, if passed, would create somewhere around $100-million dollars. That's $100-million that could go toward education or care to the elderly or all those other things that we're cutting, and because of that, and only because of that, I'm going to be voting for this stupid bill."

The bill didn't become law, but cities have gotten around the lack of state authorization by citing red light runners with a code violation rather than a traffic ticket. Bret Lusskind, a Miami traffic ticket attorney, says cities cannot assume that power.

Cities are again pushing legislators to authorize red light cameras around the state.