If you have ever received a ticket for running a red light that you swear you didn’t see, courtesy of one of those new-fangled red light cameras, you are not alone. The same thing happened to former Missouri State Highway Patrolman Adolph Belt, and in the words of Missouri’s high court: “he did not take the matter lightly.” Belt, a “traffic expert,” went back to the intersection, timed the yellow caution light and found that it was too quick and that the stoplight and the cameras needed to be synchronized. So he fought the citation all the way up to the Missouri Supreme Court — and won.
But as is often the case with these types of stories, his victory had little to do with the merits of the case. Instead, the Missouri Supreme Court determined that the city of Springfield was wrong to deny him a de novo trial of his initial hearing because violation of a red light ordinance is a moving violation. This is not the first time state judges have taken issue with red-light camera enforcement. According to The Newspaper, similar rulings have been handed down by the Iowa Supreme Court and the Ohio Supreme Court. Read the entire decision, Springfield v. Belt, No. SC90324 (Missouri March, 2, 2010), here.