Court ruling on red light cameras could mean refunds for residents

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Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014 5:05 pm

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that red light cameras installed before the state authorized them are illegal. It’s a move that could result in the return millions of dollars in fines to state residents.

"If they weren't supposed to be up there the people should not have gotten the tickets,” says Bradenton resident Gary Oslin, one of the many Suncoast residents who agree with the Supreme Court’s ruling.

"I think its good,” says Oslin. “I'm surprised the Supreme Court voted in favor of the people."

According to the ruling, some red light camera ordinances violated a state law that requires uniform traffic enforcement. Attorney John Torraco says that means cameras installed prior to 2010 were operating illegally.

"Because the local government did not have the power to pass an ordinance pertaining to red light cameras, they said they were eventually not authorized to do it," Torraco says.

Not only were the cameras not authorized for use, the tickets issued and the resulting fines paid are now being questioned.

"All the fines that were collected prior to 2010 -- the big news is all that money will eventually need to be returned to the persons who actually paid those fines," Torraco says.

It’s news that has many Bradenton residents celebrating, since the city is among those that installed the red light cameras before the 2010 state red light law went in to effect.

"I got two,” says Bradenton resident Linda Billa. “The second ticket was it was yellow as I went under and I still got a ticket. That’s over $300 dollars. I'd be happy if I got mine back."

"It kinda looks like Christmas over there a lot of time,” says Bradenton resident Ralph Favors. “You got the bright light so it’s gotten a lot of people, but I have gotten a couple of them. I don't like them; they send you the ticket in the mail.”

Still, Tarocco says the refunds are not a done deal.

"Its going to probably result in the citizens who got a ticket filing a lawsuit unless the cities actually decides to just refund the money," he says. 

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