I am writing about the San Francisco Red Light Camera Program, however the following applies to a: Berkeley red light camera ticket; Emeryville red light camera ticket; Hayward red light camera ticket; Newark red light camera ticket; Fremont red light camera ticket; San Mateo red light camera ticket; San Rafael red light camera ticket; and most any other city using the Red Light Camera Program.
I have now concluded several recent San Francisco red light camera cases with successful results. This discussion however is not about the results but instead about the evidence found in these types of cases. What I found was much of the same that I encountered years ago when we challenged nearly 300 San Francisco Red Light Camera cases.
What I am referring to is the Court's continued acceptance of evidence that is created, not by police but instead, by the private vendor. The issue is: Should the San Francisco Court accept any type of evidence that comes from someone who has a pecuniary interest in the outcome of the cases. What do I mean by this? I mean the following:
- Every month the private vendor, who produces ALL of the evidence in a San Francisco Red light case, receives a monthly payment from the City of San Francisco for running the system.
- If the San Francisco red light camera program would suddenly stop giving red light camera tickets, how long do you think the contract would last?
- Even if it is not happening (and I emphasize that there is no actual proof or allegation that this is happening), there is a clear risk and incentive that something MIGHT be done to keep the contract alive. It is this risk that makes this type of evidence suspect and unreliable. The question is not if this is happening, but rather CAN IT HAPPEN!
- I have never heard of evidence being considered reliable when such a blatant conflict of interest exist. Keep in mind that in the case of a San Francisco Red light Camera we are not talking about one piece of evidence, but instead ALL of the evidence used to convict our citizens.