Bay area cities react to red light camera ruling - WFLA News Channel 8

Bay area cities react to red light camera ruling

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LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

The Florida State Supreme Court believes some Florida cities jumped the gun when it came to red light camera tickets.

A ruling this week means Orlando might have to pay some people back. 8 On Your Side discovered Lakeland, Brooksville, Bradenton, Temple Terrace might have to as well.

The ruling stipulates that city's that instituted the use of the controversial cameras will have to return fines to drivers who were caught by the cameras before 2010.

Lakeland put up the cameras in 2009 and during that year issued about 20,000 tickets.

But in a class action lawsuit filed in 2012, the city agreed to return a portion of the fines to about a 1,000 drivers who were part of the settlement.

Because of the settlement, Lakeland police spokesman Gary Gross added that Thursday's decision will have very impact on the city.

Gross went on to say, "A majority of these people have paid, there are some that never paid the tickets so a lot of this has already been settled."

Roughly a third never paid the $158 fine and now they're not obligated to pay.

Gross says the ruling has no effect on tickets issued after 2010, and the city will continue to keep the cameras up around Lakeland.

"This is not a comment on whether or not red-light camera tickets are constitutional," Kevin Hayslett, a Clearwater attorney, also told WFLA. "This is a comment on whether or not municipalities followed the rules."

The problem is some cities put up red light cameras before the state okayed them for use on July 1, 2010. Temple Terrace had 3 up, for instance, in late 2008.

"Oh my God! I hate them I hate them! I hate them," said Alex Moran, who believes he might've gotten one back in that time frame. "It's not just been one. I'm always driving and believe me I've paid more than 4."

Hayslett says part of the issue now is if and how to pay people back since each municipality takes a portion of red light camera tickets. The rest goes to the camera company and others.

"So the question is - do they get all of it? Do they get half of it? Is it just for the folks that contested it or is it for everybody," Hayslett explained. "You've got Port Richey that has $1.2 million in play. You've got Temple Terrace that's got $1.4 million in play. They don't necessarily have a secret fund with an extra $1.4 million to pay back to people."

He feels like, ultimately a judge will decide the outcome but that might not come for another couple years. So people who think they might get money back will likely have to wait.

"Now it's up to the courts to determine who pays what and how much," Hayslett noted.

Those municipal legal teams are analyzing what the ruling means and what their next step should be. City spokespeople, like Michael Dunn in Temple Terrace, declined to comment until their attorneys review the ruling.

Josh Thomas & Josh Green contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


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