(Alleged) Red Light Runners Get Day In Court

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The final numbers haven’t been tabulated, but court staff are bracing for a flood of residents contesting tickets for running red lights.

The city has placed six cameras around town to catch red-light scofflaws in the act, and the time to pay up or stand in front of a judge is coming. Read the last story on the lights here.

Theresa Ewing, Bremerton Municipal Court Administrator, said Thursday the court has yet to add up how many people are contesting their tickets, which arrive in the mail, but the first court calendar for the hearings has been set for June 10.

“We have a lot of people who are unhappy,” she said.

Contested hearings will take place at 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. and mitigation hearings will began at 4 p.m., Ewing said.

Each calendar will have time for 10 defendants and each person will have the chance to view the video of themselves running, or not running, a red light, as the case may be.

“That’s what the judge will see,” she said.

If an hour and a half doesn’t seem like a lot of time, it isn’t. Will there be more calendars?
“Oh yes!” Ewing said. Although the final tally isn’t known yet, officials say there will be lots of contested citations.

Municipal Court Judge James Docter will conduct the hearings, unless they become so numerous a court commissioner has to be sworn in.

“It just depends on the volume,” she said.

Commissioners are sort of stand-in judges, unelected, but vested with the authority to conduct a court’s business. Currently the court does not have any commissioners, Ewing said.

The primary complaint court staff has been hearing is people who didn’t know they had to come to a complete stop at a red light.

Also, staff has heard people say it wasn’t them behind the wheel.

“We have had quite a few of those,” she said.

Because the Legislature prohibits the Redflex cameras from photographing actual people, it might seem like a good defense.

However, the Revised Code of Washington (in other words, the law) says that owners are responsible for their cars, Ewing said. There are a few defenses, but they include providing proof that the car was reported stolen or that a new owner of a car hadn’t registered it yet.

Stay tuned as details become available. And if you’re preparing for your day in court, and want to share your story, drop us a line.

By coincide, my hometown of Renton just announced the start of it’s red light camera program.

2 thoughts on “(Alleged) Red Light Runners Get Day In Court

  1. I hope the fines on the guilty are sufficient to cover the costs of those who contest their tickets.

    Anybody who does not remember that you are required to come to a complete stop is likely to have his/her memory jogged nicely by a fat ticket. It happened to me over 20 years ago and I still remember…

  2. I’m all for the cameras and have zero sympathy for those that are ticketed. Many of those opposed to the cameras have continually indicated that there will be an increase in rear-end collisions as a result of the installations. Has anyone been tracking this? I would really like to know if the predictions have come true.

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