I’ll explain that a little better in the next few paragraphs.
Addressing the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure is Elizabeth Hegedus-Berthold, a research analyst for the County Supervisors Association of Arizona. She reported to the committee that since the Photo Traffic Enforcement program started in Arizona five months ago, more than one hundred and three thousand citations have become the responsibllity of Maricopa County’s Justice Courts. That’s not the whole state, just Maricopa County. See pictures here.
Whenever the recipient of one of these civil complaints requests a hearing, challenges the complaint, or simply ignores it, it falls on the local Justice Court to accomodate the hearing request or to try and have the recipient served by a process server. With more than 600 tickets per day flowing into the system, the Justice Courts just can’t keep up. Making this burdern even more difficult to bear is the fact that all of the revenue from the Photo Enforcement program goes to the State, Redflex, and the Clean Elections Fund. In short, the Justice Courts do all the work but don’t get to keep any of the money.
The analyst went on to say that if the last five months are an indicater of what Photo Enforcement’s burden will be on the existing Justice Court system in Maricopa County, an additional Thirty-Five new Justice Courts will have to be established to accomodate the volume. She then went on to say that building a new Justice Court would cost somewhere around eighteen million ($18,000,000) dollars, not including judges and staff. Hearing this testimony, it’s no wonder that some courts are attaching their own fees for processing Photo Enforcement fines, another topic of heated debate.
This perspective simply underscores the point that the State-wide Photo Enforcement Program was poorly thought out. Our former governor Janet Nopalitano was more than happy to screw not just Arizona citizens, but lower courts as well just to make a buck.