Legal discovery could haunt Buffalo school radars at program end

A New York-based lawyer representing a driver was surprised and alarmed by what she describes as a “kangaroo court system” with the program’s cameras.

BUFFALO, NY – Wednesday, September 1 marked the official end of the highly controversial school zone radar program in the city of Buffalo. He was dismissed by the city council as he challenged Mayor Byron Brown on this issue.

2 On Your Side has an update on the program and another legal blow against the city on this very painful subject.

First, a city spokesperson pointed out that the cameras had not been active for weeks and added that although only a few were removed, the rest will be removed before schools in the city start. town next week.

In the meantime, the tracing of crosswalks near schools is underway along with new digital speed warning signs that will likely replace cameras, but there are no tickets with these.

So let’s get back to speed cameras, for which some people have been fined $ 50 for an offense over 15 mph. By the way, the zones have now increased to 20.

A New York-based lawyer representing a driver who got two tickets in March was frustrated when the city failed to provide basic information about the program. She filed an access to information request and was surprised and alarmed by what she describes as a “kangaroo court system” with these cameras installed by a Swedish supplier.

Lawyer Karina Tefft said the Hearing Officer agreed with her reasoning and dismissed her client’s tickets when she pointed out that she found out that the city’s system worked automatically and did not had no operator to check and verify the accuracy of the cameras and actual logs to record this verification test.

Tefft says this goes against the basic legal principle of due process and national vehicle and traffic law. For example, a police officer may be questioned in court when he writes a ticket or uses a radar gun or other equipment to measure a vehicle’s speed.

Tefft says: “This is so important because it means that essential protective measures were not used at any time to ensure that speed zone radars were accurate. And the city can’t prove the speed camera records were accurate, they can’t provide a foundation in evidence to argue that the drivers who got those tickets were even speeding. “

Tefft argues that all tickets should be thrown away and the city should reimburse anyone affected by any of them. Some estimates put it at nearly $ 2 million.

A city spokesperson said, as usual, that they were not commenting on the ongoing litigation against the city.

This dispute is a class action lawsuit in which information from Tefft obtained through the Freedom of Information Act will be used in the filing. It remains to be seen what the judge will decide. There is another class action lawsuit that could also consider it.

And Karina Tefft says it’s possible the Buffalo experiment could be used to tackle similar speed zone radar systems across the country, which could haunt City Hall for some time.

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