Tag Archives: Chicago red light cameras
ABC 7 was on hand in Ottawa, IL to cover the oral arguments for Keating V. Chicago in front of the Illinois Supreme Court last Wednesday.
WGN News also did a piece on the hearing but, use video of speed cameras not red light cameras in their reporting.
The day before the hearing, NBC 5 sat down with Patrick Keating, the class action lawsuit’s lead attorney, to lay out his case.
County State’s Attorney Stops East St. Louis “Speed Camera” Program
Speed camera enforcement is only legal in one city in Illinois–and that’s Chicago.
But that didn’t stop East St. Louis.
The city hired a private company to help them start issuing $240 camera tickets to drivers allegedly speeding in construction zones.
But now, after many complaints the St. Clair State’s Attorney stepped in and told the East St. Louis Police Department to discontinue the practice according to KDSK TV.
The Police Chief claims they are legal, but was forced to non-suit a bunch of these tickets recently because the State’s Attorney says these tickets are not being adjudicated by a judge but by an administrative law officer.
H/T: Stephen Donaldson
Palos Hills To Install New Red Light Camera
OTTAWA — A class-action lawsuit that aims to end the city’s red-light camera program — and possibly lead to refunds to drivers for every ticket issued since it started in 2003 — was argued before the Illinois Supreme Court Wednesday, but justices gave no indication which way they might rule.
Attorney Mike Reagan told the court that the city did not have the legal authority to start using cameras in 2003 because the Illinois General Assembly had not passed a law specifically allowing this type of traffic enforcement.
Reagan also argued that the city, by using the cameras, actually violated Illinois laws requiring uniform traffic rules statewide, which applies to such things as the color of stop signs, traffic lights and other rules of the road.
“The city lacked the power to enact this ordinance,” Reagan said. The city law “destroys uniformity and uniform enforcement of traffic laws.”
State lawmakers did not OK automated red-light cameras until 2006, but then restricted their use to just eight of 102 counties, including Cook, the collar counties and counties near St. Louis.
Keating is the lead attorney on a class action lawsuit challenging the validity of Chicago’s behemoth of a red light camera enforcement program–a case which the Illinois Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday.
The lawsuit has been working its way up the legal food chain the past few years will get its proverbial day in court at the historical Ottawa Courthouse starting at 11 AM.
Depending on how they rule, the Supreme Court could open up Chicago to the possibility of having to refund tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars in red light camera fines collected over the years.
Chicago has bragging rights to having the nation’s and perhaps the world’s largest red light camera enforcement program. At its peak it had 384 cameras at 191 intersections and has generated over half a billion in revenue for the city over the past 11 years since it’s inception in 2003.
But Keating’s suit contends there are major legal flaws with Chicago’s red light camera enforcement–legal issues at odds with the Illinois constitution.
ABC 7 did an expose of the driving habits of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s motorcade racking up 17 red light camera violations or speed camera warnings over the past few years. Then this week, the U.S. Attorney indicted the former Chicago Department of Transportation manager who oversaw the city’s red light camera program for bribery.
Now this Saturday, Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras and Cook County Campaign for Liberty will be holding an anti-camera enforcement protest in Lincoln Park at the busy intersection of Fullerton & Ashland.
This particular Northside intersection is one of a handful citywide which boasts both red light camera and speed camera enforcement nearby.
A former Chicago Department of Transportation manager who oversaw the city’s red light camera program was arrested this morning and indicted for accepting bribes to help Redflex Traffic Systems secure $124 million in contracts.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, John Bills allegedly accepted “cash and personal benefits totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars” from Redflex which included a $177,000 condominium located in Arizona.
Bills, 52, of Chicago, was charged with one count of federal program bribery in a criminal complaint that was filed Tuesday and unsealed today. Bills was scheduled to appear at 3 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez in Federal Court.
Bribery convictions carry a maximum 10 year sentence.
Bills retired from his position as managing deputy commissioner for CDOT in 2011 and managed the city’s red light camera program since it’s inception in 2003. Bills also served as a member of the committee which evaluated city contracted which included the red light camera contract awarded to Redflex.
Lights, camera, protest!
Members of the Citizens To Abolish Red Light Cameras, were just minding their own business holding signs and protesting the red light cameras at the intersection of 95th & Ashland Avenue Saturday when a camera crew from WGN TV showed up to film the festivities.
Even as Redflex Traffic Systems’ scandal-plagued 11-year tenure operating the nation’s largest red-light camera system was ending, it was a particularly lucrative year for the company.
The last Redlfex cameras — at the intersection of Grand, Kostner and North — were turned off in February, but in the year before that, the company raked in $24 million, city records show, the second most profitable year in the company’s Chicago history.
The money flowed in even after February 2013, the date the company was banned from bidding on new work with the city. Xerox Local Solutions now runs the city’s red-light camera system.
“Redflex is out of the picture and [everything is] under the control of Xerox,” Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman Pete Scales said Friday. “Their contract is over and we have no financial relationship with Redflex now.”
Redflex was unceremoniously banned from bidding to maintain control of the cameras after the Tribune revealed an alleged bribery scandal that found the CDOT Deputy Commissioner overseeing the program accepted tickets to sporting events, luxury hotel accommodations, meals and other gifts from company executives. Federal authorities are now investigating the allegations.
Two anti-camera enforcement groups will be targeting 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett at a protest this Saturday, April 19th.
Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras and Cook County Campaign for Liberty will be near Union Park on the city’s near West Side from 11 AM to 2 PM with signs, fliers and manpower to remind drivers of Burnett’s part in passing Chicago’s speed camera ordinance in 2012.
“Now is the time to take action and inform the VOTERS of Chicago about what their elected officials are doing when they are not watching,” group officials say via e-mail. “It’s time to Ban The Cams!”
Burnett was a yes vote for installing speed cameras near parks and schools.
Because two local activist groups are planning on spending the next year protesting and working to unseat any alderman who voted for the newly minted camera enforcement system.
Cook County Campaign for Liberty and Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras are teaming up to conduct weekly protests at speed camera and red light camera sites in wards where aldermen support this type of enforcement.
“We intend to hit as many of these aldermen as possible this summer,” explained Cook County Coordinator for Campaign for Liberty. “We want to identify local leaders in every part of the city and take action on these candidates and flip 12 aldermen to no votes so we can get 26 no votes on the city council (to repeal the speed camera program).”