VICTORVILLE • A local attorney has sent notice (click here to read the notice) that he intends to file a class action lawsuit against the city of Victorville and Redflex Traffic Systems unless changes are made with the way red-light cameras are handled here.
Robert Conaway, a criminal defense attorney from Barstow, is demanding that the two parties stop issuing tickets and that Redflex let Victorville out of its red-light camera contract. Otherwise, Conaway said he will sue unless the city begins paying San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies to watch the live video feed and issue tickets as they occur, then appear in court to testify regarding the violations.
The request stems from the primary concern cited by Conaway, local tea party members and others who’ve risen up to oppose the cameras: that they violate civil rights because the accused don’t have the opportunity to confront their accuser. And, since employees with Redflex — a private company headquartered in Phoenix — are the ones first viewing the alleged violations, opponents claim testimony from local deputies should be inadmissible as evidence.
Conaway filed the suit on behalf of Victorville resident Michael Curran “and others.” Curran, 62, is accused of running the red light at Bear Valley and Hesperia roads on Sept. 26. He has no previous violations in San Bernardino County, according to court records.
The city and Redflex have 30 days to respond to the notice. Conaway declined to answer further questions until he receives their responses.
“We are confident that any action at this point is without merit,” Tom Herrmann, Redflex spokesman, said Tuesday by phone from the company’s Phoenix headquarters.
Herrmann declined to discuss specifics of the claim without having seen the suit, which Conaway sent Friday.
“We are unaware of any courts in California that have deemed use of red-light cameras unconstitutional at this time,” Victorville City Attorney Andre de Bortnoswky said via email Tuesday. “Nevertheless, we will review and research the theories raised and respond accordingly.”
Victorville isn’t particularly pleased with how the red-light cameras have worked out either, with city officials citing the “excessive” $490 fine and a questionable correlation to increased safety at most monitored intersections.
In March, a split City Council approved a partnership between the city attorney’s office and local attorney Brandon Wood to explore strategies for terminating Victorville’s contract with Redflex before it expires in 2014. They’d hoped to have an answer within 60 days, but nine months have passed without any indication Victorville can terminate its contract for 10 red-light cameras without facing litigation from Redflex.