Mesa Courts a $hill for Goldman Sachs’ ATS

Danny writes:

Today I went to court to fight a camera ticket I received for speeding in the city of Mesa, Az. It was the first time I ever fought a speeding ticket, and the first camera ticket I had received. And everything I ever thought I knew about fighting a traffic ticket turned out to be dead wrong.

I was sent 3 photos, that display a time frame along with placement of my vehicle on the road, and a website had video showing roughly 15 seconds of my truck moving along the road. Open shut case. What was my defense?

My defense was that I was served 3 months after the date of the alleged infraction and I had no recollection of the alleged infraction. How would it be possible for me to recall a specific date and time 3 months prior and know the specific speed I was traveling at that moment? There was not, so I had no choice but to plead not guilty. My other defense being technical in terms and questioning the reliability of the cameras, bringing 10 separate articles about speed camera glitches, false tickets being sent, etc.

I noted the name of the officer on the ticket who reviewed and signed off on the violation. I wrote up a list of questions to ask him. As I got to court, there was one other young man waiting with me who also received a camera speeding ticket. However in his case, he was on a motorcycle, wearing a helmet, and his face was completely unidentifiable in the photo.

A man approached me, identified himself as Joseph (same name as the traffic cop who issued the ticket so I assumed it was him) and asked me to come into a separate room so he could display the evidence against me, at which point he played the video and showed me the photos.

As I sat before the Judge, Joseph asked the Judge to quickly dismiss the case of the man on the motorcycle since he face was not visible, and the judge agreed. I thought this was fantastic since once of my questions was about their review process, and why people would receive tickets if the driver was not identifiable.

Joseph, representing the state, then began my playing the video, describing the technology used (distance VS time) and displaying the photos. The judge then asked if I had questions for Joseph. Yes of course! My first question, who is your employer? The response was not what I was expecting; American Traffic Solutions. I asked if he was a police officer for the city of Mesa? He said No. I presented my ticket that listed his name as the issuing officer. He said that was not him. I was a bit shocked at that moment, asking where was the officer? “Probably at the police station” answered the man. I thought the issuing officer had to be present and I had the right to face my accuser. I was told, by the corporate man representing the state, not by the judge, that in traffic cases such as these, hearsay is admissible.

I then ran through my list of questions: I asked what the police officers review process was to reject or approve a ticket. He explained how thorough the police officer would be. If that was true I said, why would someone wearing a motorcycle helmet whose face was completely obscured, receive a ticket? I received a look that was not too friendly.

I asked what percentage of tickets are rejected and on what basis? He didn’t know.
I asked how often the camera is calibrated. Once a month he said. And what was the date of that cameras last calibration before my ticket? He did not know.
Do you have the certificate of calibration for that ticket? He did not.
Has the officer actually measured the distance shown in the photo or does he just assume that the camera is infallible? The policeman is a trained expert he said.

I went through an entire list of technical questions, for which he had no information, summing it up by confirming that ATS provides the cameras, is responsible to self regulate, audit and verify the integrity of their systems, reviews their own tickets, and presents the case to the court as the state… which he answered yes. And you don’t see any conflict of interest? That question was for both he and the judge.

As expected, I lost. I did not expect to win. I just felt I was not going to simply plead guilty and pay the fine. What I took away was most illuminating in the fact that in the city of Mesa at least, the issuing officer does not need be present and no calibration records for that camera need be provided (both of which are the 2 most talked about myths when it comes to fighting a ticket) and that this private corporation who contracts with the city is allowed to represent the state in court, both of which make out financially from the arrangement.

20 Responses to Mesa Courts a $hill for Goldman Sachs’ ATS

  1. photoradarscam says:

    Phoenix expanding Photo Radar Van Program:
    Currently, there are two photo speed enforcement vans that are deployed throughout the City. Under the existing contract with Redflex, the vendor for red light cameras and photo enforcement vans, the City Council has only authorized use of photo enforcement vans in school zones. In August 2010, the Traffic Bureau began a citywide speed enforcement program focused on school zones using available motor officers along with two photo enforcement vans. During a four-week sustained enforcement program, 480 speeding violations were captured by the two photo vans and more than 200 speeding citations were issued by motor officers. For calendar year 2010, more than 7,340 citations were issued in school zones.

    There are at least 600 schools within the city limits eligible for deployment of photo enforcement vas. To address the high volume of violators and provide sustained enforcement at schools there is a need to deploy six additional photo enforcement vans.

    After the recent addition of two new precincts, the city now maintains eight precincts. Assigning a photo enforcement van to each precinct will significantly reduce the vans’ drive time resulting in increased deployments and sustained traffic safety efforts in school zones. Each photo van would park at their assigned precinct and deploy at schools within their respective zones.

    Responsibility for this photo safety program is shared by the Police and Street Transportation Departments and the Municipal Court. The Phoenix Police Department’s Traffic Bureau is the approving authority for any citations being issued. The addition of these van sis within the purview of the existing contract the City has with Redflex; therefore no contract amendment is necessary.

    There are no additional costs associated with adding six additional photo enforcement vans. The photo enforcement program operates on a per-paid citation fee schedule; therefore Redflex only receives payment for paid citations. No additional staff is required.

  2. photoradarscam says:

    The person in this case should request a copy of the audio for this ticket so that it can be published here and sent to lawmakers.

  3. Henry says:

    ATS, the company running the cameras in Mesa, has just been exposed as hidden behind a lot of the pro-camera comments posted online. The expose caused the suspension, three weeks ago, of an ATS VP, who was posing as a resident of the various towns where he posted his comments. Source: Go to the website of the Everett (WA) Daily Herald (heraldnet dot com) and put Kroske into the search box.

    But don’t stop there.

    VP Kroske was just one of ATS’ spokesmen. There’s at least one other, and he is potentially much more dangerous. He is Mark Rosenker, former chair of the NTSB. Having retired from the NTSB he now is Senior Advisor to an ATS-supported pro-camera group, the National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR). Because of his NTSB credential, Rosenker has been granted numerous pro-camera “guest columns” in newspapers around the country in which he mentioned his current position with the NCSR but never disclosed that the NCSR is supported by ATS. A little more history about Rosenker. Early in his career he did electronic monitoring for CRP, the campaign to re-elect Pres. Nixon. CRP (now known colloquially as CReeP), did the Watergate break-in, after which many of the conspirators were sent to prison, and Nixon resigned.

    ATS is also behind many of the “citizen supported” pro-camera websites you’ll find in towns where the company is entrenched. The best article about the concocted sites is at bancams dot com. To find the article, put “stupid” in their search box.

    Someone might ask, “So who is behind ATS?” Here, we have to follow the money. In Sept. 2008 Warren Buffett, owner of Geico, invested $5 billion in Goldman-Sachs which, later that month, invested $50 million in ATS. There’s no direct audit trail connecting Buffett/Geico to ATS, but we have to consider that Goldman was in dire straits back then, and wouldn’t have been able to make the investment in ATS had it not received the $5 billion from Buffett.

  4. You could have subpoenaed the certification records. And the cop, come to that.

    You might have asked the court if Joseph was representing the state. Is he a licensed attorney in that state? If not, is representing a client in court the unlicensed practice of law?

    You could have cited your 6th Amendment right from the federal Constitution to confront your accuser and question him.

    All these matters would be raiseable on appeal, though you probably won’t want to go to the expense.

    Another avenue–an attorney in Florida is beating hundreds of camera tickets largely by making the state follow every step of the law. So they are definitely beatable.

    • photoradarscam says:

      A lot of good advice but it’s a civil trial, not criminal so a lot of the usual rules and standards don’t apply. Photo tickets couldn’t stand up in a regular criminal trial.

    • Ed says:

      Exactly, not only is it a civil trial, but the usual rules of civil procedure don’t apply. They have a special set of rules for civil traffic cases where they rip all of your usual civil due process away.

      You have no right to discovery (absent extraordinary circumstances). So subpoenas, which are not discovery, likely wouldn’t be honored.

      “You might have asked the court if Joseph was representing the state. Is he a licensed attorney in that state? If not, is representing a client in court the unlicensed practice of law?”

      This is reasonable, the state is suing, who is representing? He’s not even an employee of teh state, how can he represent?

      “You could have cited your 6th Amendment right from the federal Constitution to confront your accuser and question him.”

      This is irrelevant, as this is a civil action, not a criminal action, where those types of due process are relevant.

      “Another avenue–an attorney in Florida is beating hundreds of camera tickets largely by making the state follow every step of the law. So they are definitely beatable.”

      Yes, but in this Republinazi stronghold, AZ has circumvented these rules. Just keep voting Nazi Party and we’ll keep these rules as they are.

  5. Ed says:

    Let me start by saying I despise the photocams, I also despise how some have used this once great site to fight cams, now it’s morphed into a Tea Party campaign source.

    Defense 1) They have 120 days to serve, they could actually ask for an extension if they wished, they never do as far as I know. Not a viable defense.

    Defense 2) Newspaper articles and the such are not only hearsay (they can’t be cross-examined). Not to mention the cameras, if tracking speeds are correct, independently display all the data necessary. Not a viable defense.

    Motorcycle guy: They automate the tickets and see if people are dumb enough to pay them. When the guys objects and shows up, they have to toss it. I’m surprised the court didn;t wait to see if the motorcycle guy admitted it was him driving. So all that makes sense within the realm of this nonsensical photoscam system.

    % of tickets rejected = irrelevant.

    Calibration of camera = you can detect speed/time/distance; RT=D, so the radar aspect of the cam is impeachable based upon that. You should be able to see taht in advance, which I think you can, so you have the ability to impeach that, the radar aspect bocomes irrelevant at that point; RT=D is far more reliable.

    Conflict of interest = rhetorical and useless. That refers to the moral aspect of it and ignores the evidentiary aspect; ridiculous.

    Officer present or not = The reason a cop is present in a conventional ticket is because he is the only carrier of evidence via recorded evidence as with photoscams. Look at it like this, if a person is murdered and all the state has is a tape made by an annonymous party, security camera, etc then that is admissable just as the photoscam ticket is. If your neighbor kid had the habit of speeding up and down the road, you taped it and called the cops to report and give them the video. Before trial you die, the tape is w/o the person who recorded it and it would come in. So some of these arguments are silly and not in accord with legal procedure regardless of ATS or not.

    The problems I have with the photoscam system, other than the obvious, is that they don’t allow discovery and that any schmuck, including officer schmuck can act as attorney in their civil cases. They do this as it’s more cost effective, even tho it violates the state constitution in regard to civil due process.

    So these are matters of legislation rather than the photoscam system. Why don’t these Nazi Armband-wearing Republicans move to allow discovery in civil traffic cases? Why is it that when a civil traffic case appeal moves thru the Superior Court (appellate court in this case) and onto the Court of Appeals that it transfers as a criminal case? Because the lovely conservatives of this state legislature have enacted the civil traffic ticket machine.

    • photoradarscam says:

      “Newspaper articles and the such are not only hearsay (they can’t be cross-examined…”

      The testimony by the officer is hearsay as well.

  6. Sure says:

    Ya, think, Ed?

  7. Sure says:

    Obama’s TSA Makes Elderly Lady Feel Like a Fugitive

  8. Sure says:

    Texas Tea Parties, We Are Change protest TSA pat downs

    • Dave says:

      Your buddy Dubya began this whole “fear” campaign, not Obama. Stop blaming him for what you guys started you dumb Texans.

  9. It saddens me to read this description, as there is so much there that, if one knows what and how to do it, could be argued and would have the judge dismiss the case.

    The two glaring issues in this case:

    1. The ticket was not signed by a police officer, as required by law.

    2. There is no evidence that the person who “certified” the ticket actually reviewed the allegation before signing, as the witness in court has no personal knowledge about what was done in this case.

    Please continue to fight these cases, but use the arguments that are proven to work.

    — Michael Kielsky
    Counselor & Attorney at Law
    Kielsky Rike PLLC
    Tel.: +1.480.626.5415
    FAX: +1.480.626.5543
    2919 N. 73rd Street
    Scottsdale, AZ 85251

    Legal Notice & Disclaimer:

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