When you get a red-light camera citation, the city gives you the opportunity to appeal the citation in an "admin hearing". This hearing is your first encounter with the red-light camera industry. The hearing is a kangaroo court. It is a mockery of law and unfortunately a precursor to the disrespect of law and engineering practice that surfaces when you choose to challenge your appeal. My next several posts, starting with this one, tell true stories about what happens at these hearings.
The first story is my story. This happened in 2009. The location is a conference room in a government building in downtown Cary, North Carolina. My admin hearing "panelists", who the Town of Cary chose to hear my defense, were not attorneys but rather three parks and recreation workers and a garbageman. They were employees of the Town of Cary. The panelists did not dispense judgment at the hearing. Judgment came a month later in the US mail.
When I opened the letter, the person who signed the verdict labelling me guilty, was not a judge either. He was a retired policeman who came into the office once every month to sign verdicts. This person also ran Cary's red-light camera program. He was also my accuser--the person who signed my citation. It also turned out that he was paid by Redflex, the red-light camera company who profits from every guilty verdict.
And that was my introduction to red-light cameras. I challenged the fact that the yellow light duration was shorter than that was required by the NCDOT standards. The NCDOT admitted this error behind by back (as later revealed in discovery), but lied to me during the time I received the ticket saying "we change standards all the time". It goes downhill from there. Conspiracy to conceal engineering errors runs deep.
My next post tells the admin-hearing story of an engineer who just appealed a citation in Wilmington, North Carolina.