The Piercing Truth

This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes

Feb 1, 2007

Red Light Cameras: How to Beat'em

A number of posts ago we promised to let you know what to do if you find yourself starring in one of Mayor Marty's red light movies. We've had our Legal Eye working on the problem and had him create a couple of documents that we suggest you use to help defend yourself. Remember, ask for a hearing! (A little disclaimer here... The Eye is not an attorney and we don't want anyone out there thinking that we are practicing law, so if you're not sure and have questions please contact your attorney.)

The basic idea here is for you to require the city to produce all of the information pertaining to the operation of the camera system (The first letter). You have a right to this information as part of your defense and the city has an obligation to produce the information for your review. This letter goes to the Chief of Police, the Director of Traffic Engineering, the Director of Public Safety, and the City Clerk. It is in essence a public records inspection request. You also have the right to discovery of evidence pertaining directly to your case (The second letter). This second letter goes to the City Attorney and the City of Albuquerque City Boards and Commissions. Remember, when sending these letters, send them via registered mail with a return receipt. It's more of a hassle and costs a little more but, the city will not be able to claim that they didn't receive your requests.

There are some other things to remember with regard to your hearing. First, the city must hold a hearing within 90 days. Second, when you arrive at your hearing (be early) make sure you check in and give notice that you will only wait for 30 minutes after the scheduled hearing time. At that time you will begin charging the city $150 per hour, plus attorney's fees (if you have one) which you will bill to the city. Our Eyes on the Inside tell us that people are waiting 3 and 4 hours for their hearings, which in our opinion is intolerable.

Our guess is that the city will be unwilling to supply all of the requested documents. There's a lot of information that would be revealed that would hurt the camera program should it become public. For example, how the monitored intersections are chosen. The Eye maintains that they are most concerned with revenue and have chosen intersections based on the area's overall income rather than its history of traffic accidents.

We've posted these two documents here so that you have some idea of what you can do to defend yourself.

1. Initial Letter
2. Informal Discovery

----- UPDATE -----

We got a couple of questions regarding the red light cameras and thought it would be good to include the answers to these questions right here. Some of this we've discussed in previous posts but here goes.

The way APD and the administration get around the requirement that a law enforcement official witness a misdemeanor is simple... being caught by one of Marty's toll cameras is a civil offense. You won't be charged any points against your license and you won't serve any jail time. You'll be charged or more accurately taxed for your offense.

Another question was, when does the 90 day period begin for setting your court hearing? Our Eyes tell us that the clock starts ticking at the time of the "offense."

Thanks for your comments and if you want to contact The Eye, email us at


donnathedead said...

Well well well.
Listen carefully.
That noise you hear?
Trees being cut down for the amount of paperwork the city is going to have to produce for all the people that take your advice.
I think you should post flyers with your website so everyone has access to this info. (I've been handing out cards like crazy.)
I'd love to see their faces when you tell them that you are going to start charging for your time in court, I LOVE that.

Anonymous said...

Just a question. Does the city have to hold a hearing within 90 days of the initial ticket or within 90 days of when you go to the office to request a hearing? This is a matter of some significance when deciding whether or not to proceed in this direction.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little confused. It is my understanding according to state law that a certified uniform police officer must observe the violation before a citation can be issued. I know that there are a few exceptions but this isn't one of them. I guess Ray Schultz and Smarty Marty make up the rules to suit their money making ways.

Anonymous said...

I will be putting the "90 day" rule to the test shortly. Will let you know the outcome!

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried this yet? If so, what was the outcome?

Brad said...

What about being cited for the plate covers? How can you defend against that? 66-3-18A

A little confused said...

Do I bring the request for discovery to the hearing? Do you send it in and wait for another hearing to be scheduled?

Anonymous said...

This site will tell you why it so important to fight the red light camera scam:

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who got a red light ticket and his hearing was set more than 90 days after the offence. When he raised that issue they told him that the 90 day limit is 90 days after his response.

Not sure which is which, but I definitely think automated law enforcement is just a bad idea.

Anonymous said...

My friend recieved a ticket from the little white van project a few months ago. Threw the thing right into the garbage, hasnt heard boo from anyone since. His reasoning, is that since it was sent via U.S. mail (snail mail), and not registered mail or any signature required, prove that he recieved the violation. I agree. Any subpoenas or anything "legal" needs a signature of the person recieving the paperwork. otherwise, "im sorry marty the martian, i never recieved anything like that in the mail"

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever questioned the calibration of these cameras/speed monitors. Any time an officer issues a citation for speeding and the matter goes to a hearing, the officer is required to provide stamped and dated documentation showing that the speed gun he or she used during the traffic stop was calibrated. Does the city provide the same calibration records for these hearings? Just because a camera or speed monitoring device says you were speeding doesn't make so. Have them show you documentation that these devices were calibrated. Make sure the records are date/time stamped and notorized.

nr north valley said...

Attended my hearing at 2pm today. I asked for documentation available for the maintainence and calibration of the equipment to properly represent myself. This information belongs privately to the Redflex company. Our city officers periodically have Redflex open up the boxes and then take 3 readings manually with a radar gun to determine if the equipment is working properly. The officer present says the hardest part aobut that is zapping the car exactly as it travels over the electrical device. (which is implanted 6 feet before the intersection)Discovery requests do not faze the hearing officers. They will still rule on the case and give you the appellate rights speech.
The officer who runs the computer at the hearing is a youthful, yet, retired officer, not a currently acting officer. He reviews these violations from home and doesn't leave home while working unless he is attending on of these hearings. The contract between the Redflex company and the city of Albuquerque is a matter of public record along with the log of citations issued. I was told I could make an appointment to go down to the city attorney's office and look through them myself. Yet, there was no chance of postponing what was taking place today so that I could feel as if I was able to properly represent myself. Occasionally, the devices do go haywire. At that time the device automatically shuts down and someone goes out to bring it back up. So.....everything that you would like to "discover" must be brought in hand with you to hearing. Montgomery and Carlisle, where I received my infraction, is the most ticketed intersection of them all. Let me just close with this. Devices are triggered by 10 miles above the speed limit. I felt that because my video plainly showed that I had goosed it a little because the light turned yellow and I had to make that decision that all of us have had to make at one point, might make a difference. After all, I am a mature driver with an excellent driving record. My vehicle totally cleared the intersection but I was ticketed for 45 in a 35.
Circumstances such as mine do not matter.(I wonder if the vehicle that went through the intersection slightly after me to my right got either a red light ticket or a speeding ticket) Pay attention! Flow of traffic was the common theme, nothing matters.

nr north valley said...

There was one violation issued that was dismissed. Two men in suits, one representing the other. The voices were so soft that you could not make them out. Within one minute all you heard was case dismissed and out they went.

Anonymous said...

"Second, when you arrive at your hearing (be early) make sure you check in and give notice that you will only wait for 30 minutes after the scheduled hearing time. At that time you will begin charging the city $150 per hour, plus attorney's fees (if you have one) which you will bill to the city. Our Eyes on the Inside tell us that people are waiting 3 and 4 hours for their hearings, which in our opinion is intolerable."

Tough chance of this happening. If you've been to court lately you'll know that the long wait is to be expected and that if you're not there at the time you're called up, it won't reflect well on your case.

Anonymous said... is a good resource to challenge these - the person who runs it helped a woman out in CA who successfully proved the yellow signal was timed too short. also worth checking out - they have a list of all the GPS devices that help you avoid these.

Anonymous said...

How exactly can I bill the city? What are the steps? Will they actually pay?


Anonymous said...

"red light camera paintball" is fun

Anonymous said...

I received a red light ticket in July 2011. Got a hearing in August and I requested a discovery at that hearing. The response to a discovery was mailed to me August 17th from the legal department. I did not hear from them until now for a hearing in Feb. 2012. Should I have gotten a hearing date sooner than 6 months? Please can someone who knows the law help me with this???