Red light camera ruling brings supreme court showdown closer

- A court in south Florida has asked the state's highest court to weigh in on red light cameras, which could mean a years-long fight is getting closer to having a resolution.

"It needs to be taken care of, that's for sure," said Sandy Murphy, a Tampa resident who just received a red light camera ticket. "When I got the letter I couldn't believe it."

After a maze of challenges across the state, handfuls of cities have disbanded their programs, while others have held firm, insisting they keep roads safer.

"The idea of the uniform traffic citation is to have a uniform application throughout the state, so we would like to have one ultimate ruling," said Jeffrey Reynolds, an attorney for the Ticket Clinic.

In ruling against a driver who was mad about the way his citation was issued, judges for the 3rd district appeals court also asked the state's highest court to finally settle three questions concerning the way citations are given.

Reynold's firm lost the case in Aventura, but won the earlier one in Hollywood, effectively ending Broward's program.

"The power is left completely in the vendor, they are the ones who initially screen, and they determine what is ultimately given to the law enforcement," Reynolds said.

But judges said Wednesday the programs are OK because officers make the final decision after reviewing evidence, just as if they'd personally given a ticket.

The state court doesn't have to take the case, but if not, Reynolds says the state could be left with a patchwork of laws county by county.

"That is kind of hard because a part of me says to be against it because it feels like you are beating cheated," said Edwin Munzon, a Tampa driver. "Other times, if somebody fears a camera, hopefully it'll keep them in line from running red lights."

There is a third ruling coming from Pinellas County that could force the state supreme court to take up the issue.

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