Brevard residents come to court to challenge red light camera tickets
By Stuart Campbell, Web Producer -
Several Brevard County residents were in court on Friday, prepared to fight red light cameras citations issued by the City of Cocoa Beach.
Holding a stack of violations, Officer Eric Koller was ready to defend the citations on behalf of the city, when one of the violators submitted a court ruling declaring that the city's contract with it's red light vendor is unlawful.
So, instead of defending the tickets, Officer Koller asked the traffic hearing officer to continue all of the violators hearings to another time. One of the red light ticket recipients was James Russo, a former public defender who gave the copy of the ruling to the hearing officer.
"I came here with the idea that perhaps the judge would hear the motion to dismiss, based upon Judge Murphy's court order," said Russo.
That court order was made back in May by Judge John Murphy. He found the Cocoa Beach's red light camera contract unlawful, because of a provision for a "flexible payment plan" with the camera vendor, American Traffic Solutions. Judge Murphy ruled the provision amounted to an illegal quota system that guarantees Cocoa Beach enough revenue to cover the vendor's monthly fee while also incentivizing the vendor to issue violations.
"Red light cameras are money makers for the people who are going around imposing them on various cities," Russo said.
Russo had his red light camera violation continued. Others, who had taken off of work to attend the hearing, pleaded no contest.