Bad Boys, Bad Boys…Whatcha Gonna Do?!

Written by Scott

Topics: Archives, Uncategorized

Ok, so my tweets/Facebook updates this morning seem to make people a bit curious as to what I was doing. This morning I was in court…Puyallup Municipal Court to be exact…to contest a traffic-camera infraction, to be even more exact.

There are plenty of political discussions that could have been argued, but I tried, somewhat, to stay away from those…especially since the pro tem judge seemed pretty fair and respectfully business-like. Besides, there is plenty of political pressure Puyallup and other local areas are feeling between class-action lawsuits and a groundswell of grassroots opposition to these types of traffic cameras and their misuse.

But I digress. The fact is, and I really mean it, that I was not the driver. (And it’s true!).

Here are the basics of the six arguments that I, well, argued (these are direct from my rough notes):

1. Preponderance of the evidence: RCW 46.63.170(1)(f).
Two registered owners listed, one citation. Because drivers are not photographed, cannot meet preponderance of evidence standard of >50%.

2. Issuing of the citation under RCW 46.63.030 (1)(e).
RCW states that the infraction must be issued by officer. In Puyallup’s system–and as stated on notice of infraction, an officer merely reviews–it is clear from both return and payment addresses that the infraction is issued by a 3rd party.

3. Cost of Citation/RCW 46.63.170(2).
Ask what average cost of a parking ticket in Puyallup is…RCW states traffic camera infractions “shall not exceed the amount of a fine issued for other parking infractions within the jurisdiction”.

4. Overcoming presumption of the law/Declaration of Non-Liability.
RCW 46.63.075 states assumption of liability of owner may be overcome in statement.
Declaration was rejected because I did not name driver, yet RCW does not require I do so, and as a basic legal tenet, that is the burden of the prosecution.

5. Overcoming presumption of the law/Sworn Oath to the Court.
Because of rejection of Declaration of Non-Liability, I will request to make a sworn statement to the Court that I was not the driver, per RCW 46.63.075.

6. Proof that I was not the driver.
On the evening of 9/21/2009, I was at home working, waiting to do some work on a client’s server. Email received at 7:20pm and replied to at 7:43pm to that end.

I should have asked her to pass judgment on each individually, but she beat me to the punch after the first one, and had me present all of them in serial. In the end, it didn’t really matter, I suppose, because the infraction was dismissed.

She did make an interesting comment, however: Judge Shelton (the judge normally presiding) has made determinations in the past that the Declaration of Non-Liability does, in his view, does require that the driver be named…and as pro tem judge, she has a responsibility to uphold those determinations. Was almost as if she agreed with me, perhaps. Regardless, it appears that finding out how it is Judge Shelton came to this determination in spite of the RCW could be important for those of us wanting to end this program. That, and the continuing political pressure…

9 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. My coworker was JUST talking yesterday about a ticket he got from one of these cameras…from a RIGHT on RED!!! I'm sendng him your post. 🙂

  2. Ginger says:

    Congratulations on your victory :-)My husband got one of those but in California they actually photograph the driver and car from when the light turns yellow on….he was in the wrong and paid the ticket.

  3. need the RCWs to contest my case. (email please) also would like any case law to back up a dismissal. can't print them off your page. thanks and good work!

  4. Scott says:

    Michael–would need your email address to be able to send the info!

  5. tjoyce says:

    So glad you contested this. I personally believe we should get rid of these cameras.

  6. Ken triplett says:

    I had a 1988 jaguar I sold in 6/15/2011 and in 5/24/2013 I got a red light ticket the new owner never transferred the title, I have sent in all the proper paper work and they are still saying that I have to pay the ticket, what can I do to bet this for I am disabled and have no money to pay it.

    • scott_kuhn says:

      If you ave proof you sold the car–which you should–simply contest it and take in the proof.

  7. Dave says:

    Working on a defense now due to Red light camera ticket in Fife. Southbound Pacific Hwy at 54th. There is no clear signage as required by the RCW. Your post helps with additional arguments. Thank you very much.