Category Archives: Red Light Cameras
The wheels of justice continue to turn slowly in the Redflex bribery scandal in Chicago.
John Bills, the former Chicago, Illinois deputy transportation commissioner who took bribes from the Australian company is now receiving “mental health counseling” as he awaits sentencing.
On Monday April 25th, Bills, 55, returned from Naples, Florida where he attended a wedding over the previous weekend.
Redflex is trying to convince a judge to dismiss its former executive vice president, Aaron M. Rosenberg, from a lawsuit he filed on behalf of the city of Chicago to recover up to $383 million from the ticketing firm because it lied in official documents. Rosenberg’s attorneys and the city insist that his insider perspective is essential to making the case against Redflex.
After their lawsuit challenging the City of Chicago’s legal authority to operate its lucrative red light camera program was dismissed on April 1st, plaintiff’s have filed a motion to reinstate the case Friday morning.
In their motion, the plaintiffs are claiming Circuit Court Judge Rita Novak took what they say is an unprecedented step of dismissing the case it its entireKata Mot Reconsideration May 6ty, with prejudice, the first time it was considered. They also believe, as a result of her ruling, Judge Novak created three new rules of law that challenge legal precedence on how local laws must be in concert with the state constitution and that the city could shorten the duration of yellow lights in Chicago to fractions of a second and the red ligth tickets would still be valid.
Lead attorney for the case, Patrick Keating of Roberts McGivney Zagotta LLC, had strong words challenging the court’s ruling a few weeks ago.
John Bills, the former Chicago, Illinois transportation official convicted of taking bribes from Redflex Traffic Systems, continues to insist that the government’s case against him remains fatally weak. In documents filed with the federal court, Bills attorney Nishay K. Sanan asked Judge Virginia Kendall to reject the feds’ attempt to confiscate the $680,107 in illicit funds that Bills had accepted in return for expanding the Windy City’s red light camera program.
“The government relies on the testimony of Martin O’Malley and Aaron Rosenberg,” Sanan wrote. “This testimony was not believed at trial, and should not be bought into now.”
On the heels of a ruling allowing one red-light camera lawsuit against the City of Chicago to move forward toward class action status, another Cook County Circuit Court judge put the brakes on another suit on Friday.
Attorneys for the case were hoping to get a green light from the court to move the case to class action status, which they hoped would help them recover more than $600 million in fines, fees and interest paid by vehicle owners.
In her ruling, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Rita Novak threw out the lawsuit.
The suit, Kata v. City of Chicago, has been lingering in Cook County Circuit Court since it was filed four years ago this month. The case was postponed twice while another lawsuit with similar claims, Keating v. City of Chicago, was moving through the appellate court and ultimately the Illinois Supreme Court. But the state supreme court deadlocked on that suit after two justices recused themselves, thus ending that lawsuit.
Kata v. City of Chicago argued that when the city initiated its red-light camera program back in 2003, Illinois law specifically prohibited this type of automated traffic enforcement. But the judge said none of the plaintiff’s tickets were older than 2006, the year the Illinois General Assembly approved a law allowing municipalities located in just eight counties to utilize red-light camera enforcement.
Illinois State Representative Ken Dunkin (5th) is in the political fight of his life this election year.
Members of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras have held dozens of protests over the years but until now, have never faced a counter-protest before.
Polls show, almost universally, save for the uninformed or anti-data/anti-safety crowd, red light and speed camera are loathed by Chicagoans.
But at this past Saturday’s protest against the cameras at 63rd & Pulaski along with
Jason Gonzales, a political challenger to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’a seat, faced a large contingent of counter protesters.
The anti-Gonzales demonstrators were full-throated in their support of the cameras and Madigan, who has been blocking a vote on a bill in Springfield to ban automated traffic cameras statewide.
Perhaps not coincidentally, John Bills, a foot soldier for Madigan, was recently convicted on 20 counts of bribery when he ran the city’s red light camera program starting from its inception in 2003.
Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras, two Illinois State Representatives and a candidate vying to replace Speaker of the House, Michael Madigan (IL-22) called for an immediate court injunction to halt Chicago’s red light and speed camera program Friday night.
The grass roots group is an activist organization opposed to the city’s automated traffic camera enforcement programs.
Illinois State Representative Ken Dunkin (IL-5) and La Shawn Ford (IL-8), along with Jason Gonzalez, a candidate opposing Speaker Madigan in the primary, asked for the injunction after the recent ruling of Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy, who in a recent ruling found drivers were denied due process by how the City of Chicago’s managed official notices it issues to drivers ticketed for red light or speed camera violations.
Despite a ruling last week in which a judge said the city’s automated ticketing programs violate “fundamental principles of justice,” officials said there are no plans to return the hundreds of millions in fines and late fees collected from hundreds of thousands of drivers.
That’s because the ruling by Cook County Circuit Judge Kathleen Kennedy did not officially void any tickets nor stop the city from issuing new ones, said Bill McCaffrey, spokesman for the city’s Law Department.
And there will be no change to how the city adjudicates camera violations going forward, he said.
“The judge in this case did not rule on any claims of this case and did not void any tickets,” McCaffrey said in a written statement. “The city has procedures in place that guarantee that individuals who believe their tickets were improperly issued can contest them through the administrative process, where they receive a hearing and impartial review of the evidence.”
And as far as refunds, it could take several years to determine if the lawsuit has merit, and if so, for a judgment to be awarded. In fact, the suit filed on behalf of three ticketed drivers is not yet a class-action lawsuit.
CBS 2′s Mike Parker delves into the recent court ruling allowing a class action lawsuit against the city’s red light and speed camera programs to move forward.
The lawsuit alleges the city ignored Chicago municipal law by refusing to mail a second notice for each speed or RLC violation which also gave vehicle owners an additional 14 days to contest or pay the ticket. The suit also alleges the city doubled the fines of unpaid cam tickets at 21 days when city code calls for this to occur at 25 days.
The judge in the case, in dismissing the city’s motion to dismiss the case, said in the decision there seems to be a violation of the due process rights of motorists.
A judgment in this case could force the city to payback affected drivers the millions of dollars in fines they paid toward these tickets.
The case now moves toward class certification.
Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras and Illinois State Representative Ken Dunkin demanded a floor vote on his bill for a statewide ban on red light and speed cameras at a press conference on the South Side on Sunday.
Their demand comes in the wake of a recent guilty verdict given to John Bills, the former manager of the city’s red light cameras for accepting nearly $2 million in cash and gifts for helping Redflex Traffic Systems obtain and hold onto the lucrative contract to operate Chicago’s red light camera system. The company raked in over $150 million over the 11 years they held the contract for the nation’s largest RLC program.
Dunkin introduced the bill (HB 141) in Springfield nearly 13 months ago, where it’s sat in the rules committee since.