I-Team 10: Red light camera lawsuit

Posted at: 09/24/2013 6:21 PM
Updated at: 09/24/2013 6:28 PM

Red light cameras, most drivers don't like them. But now, a local man, Lawrence Krieger, is taking his battle all the way to state supreme court. He's suing the City of Rochester for its use of red light cameras. Krieger claims he's not just doing it because of his ticket. He says he's doing it for everyone who lives, works and drives in the city. Krieger says it's a city money grab, but city officials say he needs to hit the brakes.

The red light cameras have been controversial since the first one went operational almost three years ago. Now, there are more than 30 locations and tens of thousands of people have been caught on camera and ticketed. This is the first time someone has challenged the red light camera program in court.

Lawrence Krieger argues the cameras are an intrusion and unconstitutional. Krieger got a ticket in December for allegedly running a red light at the intersection of Chestnut and Court Streets downtown, pulling into the intersection before making a right on red.

If you receive a red light ticket, you get a $50 fine in the mail and a photo of your car at the time of the infraction. But Krieger says his rights were denied because he had no due process to fight the ticket.

His attorney argues it isn't fair that the owner of the car is ticketed without proof of who was driving.

I-Team's Brett Davidsen said, “Is it fair to give somebody a ticket who you don't know necessarily was driving that vehicle?”

Adam Clark, city attorney, said, "Well, it's the same situation as with a parking ticket is what our position is. In a parking ticket, the ticket goes to the owner and in New York State, the owner is held liable for accident damage and this liability is the same thing." 

Lawrence Krieger said, "With a parking ticket, there's nobody there. There's a parked car. With a red light violation, it's possible to know who the driver is because they just ran the light. But in the city's law they don't care who the driver is."

I-Team 10 asked Krieger's attorney about the implications of the judge's decision if he rules in their favor and finds the red light cameras to be unconstitutional. He says it wouldn't impact anyone who has already paid the fine, but could affect those with tickets pending in the city. The judge is expected to issue a written decision in early November.