County Attorney will not prosecute Photo-Radar offenders

More Phoenix Local News 09:48 PM Mountain Standard Time on Monday, February 23, 2009

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County Attorney takes stand against photo radar
VIDEO: Thomas takes a stand
UNCUT: County Atty.
VOTE: Do you agree?

PHOENIX – The Department of Public Safety calls photo radar a success because it is making the roads safer, but it is controversial and now the county attorney says in some cases, it is unconstitutional.
While this is not a license to speed, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas says he will not prosecute photo radar tickets.
He says, “To prosecute people based just on photo radar is not possible.”
Thomas says DPS has referred a handful of cases of people accused of criminal speeding or reckless driving. These are all charges the county will not pursue. He explains, “I don't know how you can prosecute reckless driving without a witness.” Thomas also says that would violate the state and U.S. constitutions. “In photo radar case, there is no witness and defense is not permitted to confront accuser.”
The county attorney says the state photo radar statute is intended for civil traffic fines only and does not result in a driver’s license being suspended or revoked. That is the reason why Thomas will dismiss all those criminal photo radar cases.
Critics of the cameras have mixed feelings about that. A spokesperson tells 3TV, “I'm happy another politician sees this is unconstitutional,” but he adds, “They are letting off the wrong people…need to let off the everyday people, not the criminals.”
Thomas' advice was to “Have DPS troopers on roads with speed guns who can ID them.”
Until then critics believe all drivers caught on camera, either accused of civil or criminal violations, may have a new defense.
The spokesperson explains, “This is obviously unconstitutional. Maricopa County now sees it…hope everyone else sees it. Fight your tickets!”
DPS tells 3TV they have no response to this issue right now but will be meeting with the attorney general to discuss this issue.