Civil Liberties

Traffic Cameras Deny Due Process, Says New Mexico Court

"Hearings" violate fundamental rules of evidence


A New Mexico district court judge last month found the hearings offered to recipients of red light camera and speed camera tickets in the city of Las Cruces violated due process. Dona Ana County Presiding Judge Manuel I. Arrieta issued a 31-page ruling after having the issue under his consideration for nearly two-and-a-half years. Las Cruces has already filed an appeal.

A hearing officer found Cristobal Rodriguez guilty of speeding based solely on information provided by Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia, even though the New Mexico State University educational management professor was not behind the wheel at the time of the offense. Rodriguez does not know who was driving, but the Las Cruces ordinance finds the owner guilty unless someone else steps up and pays the ticket. Rodriguez argued that this violated his due process rights because the evidence used against him at the hearing was hearsay.