Red Light Camera Challenge Heads To Texas Supreme Court

Lawyer asks Texas Supreme Court to overturn ruling giving free pass to cities ignoring motorist protections in state red light camera law.

image: camera lens

Law enforcement by camera.

The nine justices of the Texas Supreme Court have the opportunity to decide whether the cities that use red light camera have to follow the law or not. Attorney Russell J. Bowman is asking the high court to overturn last month’s Court of Appeals decision that gave a free pass to the city of Richardson for its failure to conduct a formal engineering study before handing Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia the right to issue $75 traffic tickets at intersections.

A three-judge appellate panel decided that Dallas County District Court Judge Dale B. Tillery was wrong to rule in Bowman’s favor two years ago (view trial court opinion) because Bowman never appeared before a city-run administrative hearing regarding his ticket. Bowman never actually received the ticket that Redflex dropped in the mail. The first time the attorney had heard about the alleged violation was when he attempted to renew the registration on his 2010 Hyundai Sonata.

“The legislature granted exclusive jurisdiction to the administrative hearing officer to make an initial determination of liability, and Bowman was required to exhaust his administrative remedies on his compliance claims,” Justice Craig Stoddart wrote for the appellate panel. “The alleged failure of the city to conduct a traffic engineering study and present it to a citizens advisory committee does not exempt Bowman from exhausting his administrative remedies.”

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