More Camera Problems

Via the indispensable website TheNewspaper.com :

Washington, DC's photo enforcement cameras have fallen into a state of disrepair with twenty-three of the city's fifty red light cameras completely inoperable. In a March 11 memo to council members, ATS, the new company hired to operate the cameras for the city, admits that at least two of the ten fixed speed cameras have fallen out of calibration over the past eight months. The company refuses to disclose their location for fear the tickets would be overturned by a court.

[...]

A city audit of DC's parking meter contract with ACS came to similar conclusions. ACS had allowed parking meters to fall into a state of disrepair with only 232 meters out of 1906 that were checked found to be in proper working order.

Ah, but they're still issuing tickets.

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  • Dave||

    The company refuses to disclose their location for fear the tickets would be overturned by a court.
    Seems like the simple solution would be to simply throw out all of their tickets.




    Yeah, I know....

  • ||

    Yes, it would be a shame to have convictions for a crime overturned due to lack of evidence. Thank goodness we have the good people at ATS looking out for us.

  • Guy Montag||

    Yes, it would be a shame to have convictions for a crime overturned due to lack of evidence. Thank goodness we have the good people at ATS looking out for us.

    Whatever stupid things this company did, the DC 'government' was still in charge.

  • ||

    I'm hoping the (newly) armed citizens of D C know where the cameras are. If you're going to own a gun, you should regularly practice with it.

  • ||

    I have had a couple DC tickets overturned for this reason. The good news is, you don't have to go to court to contest them - all handled by mail.

  • Guy Montag||

    I'm hoping the (newly) armed citizens of D C know where the cameras are. If you're going to own a gun, you should regularly practice with it.

    Pistols could pose an overpenetration problem at the least and unintended lethal impact problems at the worst.

    I suggest they use the shotguns that are already legal there. 3 Dram eq., #6 or #7 shot should work just fine from a 12 GA.

    Added bonus, IIRC, legal shotgun barrel length in DC is even shorter than the federal legal length! I am still puzzled at how that works. Could be that they are not a State thing, I am not sure.

  • ||

    Guy Montag,

    If you can find a way to shoot a camera with a disassembled, unloaded shotgun (as required by DC law), let me know.

  • Guy Montag||

    If you can find a way to shoot a camera with a disassembled, unloaded shotgun (as required by DC law), let me know.

    Well, if we borrow some Leftist mind tricks it is simple.

    unloaded == not intoxicated

    disassembled == no sling

    Kindasorta the same way that employment == slavery and all of that.

  • ||

    The company refuses to disclose their location for fear the tickets would be overturned by a court.

    I would think there would be kind of a legal responsibility to disclose. You know, right to confront, fair trial, all that.

    The alternative would be that all camera tickets would be subject to reasonanble doubt and thrown out.

  • Guy Montag||

    I would think there would be kind of a legal responsibility to disclose. You know, right to confront, fair trial, all that.

    Hunt around usenet for some of the parking ticket horror stories of the 1990s and before, you will see that this is nothing new.

  • ||

    Slingshots with ball bearings work great!

  • ||

    I think we've already established that the cameras don't have to work for tickets to be issued.

  • Dave W.||

    I thought the photographs taken showed the red light and the position of the vehicle.

    It seems like if calibration goes too far out of whack then they would not get good photographic evidence (eg, light still yellow, car not yet entered intersection, front plate out of frame).

    Disclaimer: I do not like traffic cameras, and think they may even be unconstitutional on the basis that they do not support any legit gov't interest.

  • Rhywun||

    they do not support any legit gov't interest

    It's not in the government's interest to prevent people from running red lights? Huh. Yes, the cameras are being abused for revenue-generation purposes and that's bad; but all cynicism aside I don't believe that was the intent. For the fact is that traditional methods punish a tiny fraction of violators, and the punishment is apparently not harsh enough to act as any sort of deterrent. I would rather see no cameras but with much stricter penalties for running a red light.

  • LarryA||

    Pistols could pose an overpenetration problem at the least and unintended lethal impact problems at the worst.

    Shotshells.

  • Dave W.||

    It's not in the government's interest to prevent people from running red lights? Huh.

    I would argue that the government's legitimate interests are safety (eg, lack of accidents, lack of collisions, lack of serious collisions) and traffic flow (as fast as possible consistent with safety.

    I would argue that the government doesn't have a legit interest in preventing the running of red lights, as such.

    Now normally, absent the cameras, fewer run red lights leads to fewer accidents. However, in the case of red lights with cameras, that does not seem to be the case (especially when they shorten yellows and stuff).

    Therefore, I would argue that traffic cameras are not rationally related to a legit government interest (or however a constitutional lawyer would phrase that sentiment). Maybe before the data on accidents was in they would have appeared to rationally support the fewer accidnts objective interest, but not now that the data is actually in.

  • Guy Montag||

    Shotshells

    Ah, forgot about those. Great idea!

    Okay, problem solved.

  • ||

    If they're still using them to (a) collect revenue, while using (b) pain of imprisonment (if you fail to pay your fine), knowing that (c) the devices don't work, and (d) sent such money-collection notices out by mail, demanding payment upon pain of imprisonment, then that, my friends, is racketeering.

    The predicate acts are mail fraud and extortion. The pattern would be established by the mailing of numerous tickets, threatening prosecution if not paid, whilst knowing (since they know but aren't disclosing which) certain cameras are faulty, they are using what they know to be unverifiable criminal charges -- in effect, abusing the legal process -- for pecuniary gain.

    Somebody needs to depose everybody at ATS and see who needs to go to prison, and who needs to dig deep to pay the civil penalties.

  • ||

    If they're still using them to (a) collect revenue, while using (b) pain of imprisonment (if you fail to pay your fine), knowing that (c) the devices don't work, and (d) sent such money-collection notices out by mail, demanding payment upon pain of imprisonment, then that, my friends, is racketeering.

    Sorry, Mr. Worm, but the gubbimint has conveniently excluded itself from racketeering laws.

    Anyone who has spent time in D.C. knows that it is a nice little slice of the Developing World tucked into the Mid-Atlantic region. This camera racket is simply another example.

  • ||

    Sounds like another opportunity for President Bush to use his pardoning power.

  • ||

    Sorry, Mr. Worm, but the gubbimint has conveniently excluded itself from racketeering laws.

    But not ATS, the private contractor who gets a cut of every ticket.

  • Guy Montag||

    Parking meters:

    Not to be out-done, Arlington County, VA has installed parking meters all around an office complex near S. Courthouse Rd. The worker there used to park on the street for convenience, since the underutilized parking garage in the center of the complex was a few extra steps away from one of the buildings.

    Now, rows of parking meters sit like pickets guarding empty asphalt as the workers are utilizing the free parking spaces in the garage.

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