Friday, April 19, 2013

Fell/Masonic speed trap update

Earlier posts on this speed-trap intersection here and here. The camera was installed at Fell and Masonic in December, 2011:
 
Mr. Anderson,

I thought you might like an update on my situation.

I had my day in court on Tuesday. A plain clothes "officer" showed up to read a pre-prepared statement/packet that was supplied to him by the company that runs the red light camera essentially to say it was me in the picture and that the camera was working properly at the time. He was dressed very poorly I might add while I was in fairly nice clothes as one should be for such an appearance.

Although I was of course rather nervous, I stated my case with pictures from before and then after the intersection was redesigned as well as the Channel 7 news story, and also reiterated that others had been found not guilty for this intersection and therefore the precedent is set that the same should apply to my case. The judge did not agree saying that the previous cases did not matter which I find very bizarre. How could a previous case which has virtually identical circumstances not be relevant? But once he said this, I knew that I had lost.

One caveat: He was a "temporary" judge that I had to sign some paper to accept for my "trial." He also stated for another person's case who was claiming that it was not him in the picture that he was required to give the name of the person in the picture which I know is not true as I did the research on this myself. So I call into question this "temporary" judge's competence, too.

The "deal" they gave me was to take the point off of my record, but I still had to pay the full fine ($480). Still absolutely outrageous given how truly hidden and unmarked this light was at this intersection at the time, but I didn't see any other options other than an appeal which I just don't have the time for (which I'm sure the City is counting on since they of course just want the money).

BTW, the fine will pretty much wipe out what little I might otherwise be able to save for this month. I guess I and my family didn't really need to eat this month anyway...Seriously, I wonder how a person with little to no savings could afford this...kind of ironic that such a person would probably have to go on food stamps/welfare or some other government assistance program which is of course paid for by the taxpayer in the end (i.e. you and me), which would then, in turn, add to the ever-burgeoning state deficit.

And I did some more research afterwards to find out that a recent court ruling has indicated that "testimony" such as that by the aforementioned plain-clothed "officer" is now considered hearsay and no longer admissible!
Here is the link to the decision. I wish I had this evidence in my hands when I presented, but I did not. It seems to me that this decision should invalidate ALL red light camera tickets for the entire state!

I keep thinking that I should appeal, but I don't know if can at this point since I accepted the decision and have paid the fine (via credit card). And then there is the time factor of course...I just can't take any more time off of work for this matter.

So there it is...feel free to post my experience in the hopes it will help others to avoid this situation.

I for one have resolved to do absolutely no business in the City of San Francisco except when unavoidably necessary. I will patronize no restaurant, no market, no museum, no hardware store, etc., etc., until these cameras are gone. The loss of revenue to the City's coffers will ultimately outweigh this fine and I encourage all others to boycott this City similarly.

I have also taken it upon myself to cover my face with either my hand or a surgical mask I keep handy in my car now whenever I pass through any intersection with a camera present (just in case). It may sound silly, but I figure they cannot convict you if they cannot see your face in the picture (until such time as they change that law which I know that they are working on right
now).

Hopefully the day is coming when all cities abandon these pernicious cameras once and for all!

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1 Comments:

At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I for one have resolved to do absolutely no business in the City of San Francisco except when unavoidably necessary. I will patronize no restaurant, no market, no museum, no hardware store, etc., etc., until these cameras are gone. The loss of revenue to the City's coffers will ultimately outweigh this fine and I encourage all others to boycott this City similarly."

Supposedly you are not eating this month due to a single $480 ticket. I don't think the City will miss your largesse...

 

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