Minnesota: Appeals Court Rules Against Cameras
Full text of the Minnesota Court of Appeals decision striking down the Minneapolis red light camera program as illegal.
Judge Harriet LansingThe Minnesota state Court of Appeals delivered a devastating blow to the state's only red light camera program on Friday. A unanimous three-judge panel upheld a Hennepin County District Court decision that had shut down the Minneapolis photocop program as a violation of state law in March.
Daniel Kuhlman challenged a citation he had received in August 2005 from a camera at the intersection of West Broadway Avenue and Lyndale Avenue North. Kuhlman argued that the city ordinance establishing the program was unconstitutional because it denied due process to vehicle owners. The city automatically presumed their guilt in a citation that carried points and increased annual insurance premiums, whether or not they had actually been driving. The lower court judge agreed and ordered a halt to automated ticketing in Minneapolis.
In a strongly worded decision, appeals court Judge Harriet Lansing focused on whether the city ordinance conflicted with state law. Minnesota's legislature has never authorized photo enforcement, and state law requires uniformity of traffic provisions throughout the state both in terms of what motorist actions are considered illegal and the procedures used to enforce the law.
"An owner-liability ordinance would prevent uniform traffic regulation and would therefore conflict with the Minnesota Highway Traffic Regulation Act," the court wrote. "Minnesota law does not permit individual cities to unilaterally regulate traffic in a way that would create a checkerboard of liability across the state."
Minneapolis must now decide whether to appeal the decision to the state supreme court.