Red Light Camera Case In Court
It's a lawsuit that could potentially affect more than 18,000 people in the Sioux Falls area. At issue: whether red light cameras violate the constitution.
The city sent I.L. Wiedermann a ticket in his name. But he claims an employee was driving a vehicle he owns and supposedly ran the red light.
Tuesday, the class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of everyone who's received a red-light camera ticket in Sioux Falls went to court.
The central arguments in court were whether this can can be a class-action lawsuit, and whether Redflex, the company that provides the city of Sioux Falls with the cameras and equipment, can also be sued.
Drivers in Sioux Falls have paid about $1.5 million to the city thanks to something you might call a "robo-cop."
Lou Raguse: Do you feel like you're fighting for more than yourself here?
I.L. Wiederman: Yes I do.
Wiedermann doesn't believe the city's red light camera system is fair, and he's fighting the fight not worth many people's time.
"Doctors don't want a blip on their credit report. Nurses don't want a blip on their credit report," Wiedermann says. "So when you're given the choice to either do this or do that..."
"Well it doesn't make much sense to pay $125 an hour to an attorney to beat an $86 ticket," says Wiedermann's lawyer Aaron Eiesland.
Wiedermann and his lawyer believe their lawsuit should involve everyone who's paid money because of what they call an unconstitutional system. Instead of the driver being presumed innocent until proven guilty, the owner of the photographed vehicle is presumed guilty.
The city's lawyer argues that since everyone else voluntarily paid their tickets, they gave up their right to fight it.
Wiedermann's lawyer disagrees, and says the company providing the red light camera equipment is just as at fault. He stops just short of calling it a conspiracy between Redflex and the city to set up laws to catch people.
"Redflex is ending up with the money in the end," Eiesland says. "They've got their hands all over this."
Redflex's lawyer argues the company doesn't belong in the lawsuit.
"We're providing a tool for the city to use to help protect the public and save lives," says Redflex lawyer Richard Casey. "That's what we're doing."
But Wiedermann's team says this case is actually about money, and it has strength in numbers.
"Steal a dollar from a million people, and it won't be noticed. But steal a million dollars from somebody, and you'll notice it," Wiedermann says.
Judge Kathleen Caldwell will decide in the next two weeks, whether Redflex will stay involved in the lawsuit, and whether it will remain a class-action lawsuit.
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