A Missouri appeals court panel issued a ruling Tuesday that raises questions about the constitutionality of Kansas City’s red-light camera law.
The Western District Missouri Court of Appeals on Tuesday reversed a decision by Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Dale Youngs who had dismissed a lawsuit brought against Kansas City and American Traffic Solutions, which operates the red-light cameras for the city, The Kansas City Star reported.
The case was filed by two people who received notices of red-light camera violations. Their class action lawsuit challenging those notices was dismissed, but the appellate panel sent the case back to the Jackson County Circuit Court for review. A key issue was that Kansas City’s ordinance allows a driver to run a traffic light without points being assessed to a license. State law requires that moving violations be assessed points.
“We hold that the ordinance is invalid on the ground that it conflicts with state law,” the appeals court opinion said, “and is therefore void and unenforceable.”
Kansas City’s City Council had been preparing to vote Tuesday on changes to the city law in order to comply with an earlier red light camera ruling in a different case from the Eastern District Missouri Court of Appeals. The council had hoped those changes would allow Kansas City’s red-light camera program to resume.
The City Council has now postponed any rewrite of its law and says no more camera tickets will be issued until further notice.
Councilman John Sharp said Tuesday’s ruling, however, doesn’t mean open season on running red lights. Sharp, chairman of the council’s public safety committee, said police told him they will beef up patrol enforcement at the 17 red-light camera intersections.
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