(CN) – A lawsuit challenging a city’s red-light cameras is not a federal case because the camera-issued tickets carry only a $100 fine, and not criminal penalties, a federal judge in St. Louis ruled. Red-light camera ordinances have been upheld in most parts of the country.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Mummert III ruled that the three plaintiffs failed to prove that the city of Arnold violated federal laws.
Lead plaintiff Timothy Kilper claims the ticketing process was illegal, was an unconstitutional violation of driver’s civil rights and were part of an extortion conspiracy between Arnold and the red-light camera contractor. He claimed the cameras violate due process, forcing drivers to prove their innocence instead of forcing prosecutors to prove their guilt.
But Mummert said tickets are a civil, not a criminal, matter because they carry only a $100 fine rather than criminal penalties. Mummert ruled that without criminal sanctions, the plaintiffs’ claims were moot.
Arnold, 20 miles south of St. Louis, became the first city in Missouri to use the cameras, citing public safety.