Red light cameras shut down over issue of legality

The increasing prevalence of red light cameras and the legal questions that come with them, have caused one city in South Dakota to completely flip the switch on its cameras.

In 2006, I.L. Wiedermann received a ticket in the mail for passing through a red light in Sioux Falls. Instead of saying “Oh crap” and just paying the fine like most people, Wiedermann filed a lawsuit against Redflex, the company that operates the cameras.

That lawsuit led to a different issue entirely, which came to a head last month. In state court, Judge Kathleen Caldwell said that the entire process set up by Sioux Falls was illegal.

Caldwell said that the city was issuing civil tickets to motorists caught passing a red light, which is a criminal offense. Moreover, she said that the appeals process did not provide defendants with an assumption of innocence.

“In light of that ruling, it was decided to suspend the system for now,” said Sioux Falls Police Chief Doug Barthel.

In the mean time, the contract between the city and Redflex has been suspended.