A Scottsdale man who has spent more than a year and thousands of dollars fighting his photo enforcement ticket said his next stop is the U.S. Supreme Court. David Cain estimated he has spent at least $20,000 fighting the ticket he received in December 2004, along with his Scottsdale attorney, Mark Jewett.
The north Scottsdale investor said he was going 45 mph in a 45 mph zone at North Hayden Road and McCormick Parkway, not 57 mph as the ticket states.
However, his legal argument has nothing to do with his speed.
Cain contends Scottsdale’s photo enforcement illegally issued him the ticket because it wasn’t certified by a human.
The photos also don’t clearly show the driver of the vehicle who is accused of speeding, Cain said.
His citation was stamped with a computer-generated signature of Bill Harper of Redflex Traffic Systems in Scottsdale. Redflex is the city’s vendor for its speed photo enforcement program, and issues the tickets for the Scottsdale City Court to mail to accused speeders.
“The process the city is using is a clear violation of the law,” he said. “There’s no other avenue to go except to the feds.”
After Cain was found guilty in early 2005 in City Court and he paid his $157 fine, he took the case to Maricopa County Superior Court.
Judge Michael Jones refused to hear the case and affirmed the city’s ruling.
But then Cain saw his chance to fight the ticket on Oct. 25. That’s when Superior Court Judge Margaret Downie reversed the Scottsdale court’s guilty ruling in another photo enforcement ticket case, this time against criminal defense attorney Craig Gillespie.
After Gillespie argued that a speeding ticket couldn’t legally be issued by a machine, Downie ruled that the City Court had no jurisdiction in the case. For his appeal, Gillespie had hired attorney Susan Kayler of Scottsdale, who wrote the book, “Smile for the Speed Camera: Photo Radar Exposed.”
According to Downie’s ruling, Harper of Redflex testified that he does not see the complaint before the computer signs it, and that no one compares the photo on the photo radar record with the photo on a driver’s license. Harper stated that he does not compare the photos unless he is preparing for trial and that the only time the prosecutor’s office will procure the driver’s license photo for him to make a comparison is when an attorney has filed a notice of appearance.
Harper further testified that in nonattorney trials, a defendant’s driver’s license photo is not obtained at all.
“Under this system, no one can certify with the slightest degree of accuracy or truthfulness that the person receiving the ticket is the actual driver. There is no human involvement in the certification process whatsoever,” Downie’s reversal ruling states.
Downie’s ruling caused Scottsdale to change its photo-ticketing review process, and now city prosecutors are involved in reviewing the citations, said Mike Phillips, city spokesman.
Cain, however, couldn’t make headway with the argument. The Arizona Court of Appeals and the Arizona Supreme Court declined jurisdiction on his appeals.
According to the court transcript from Cain’s argument in the Arizona Court of Appeals, Harper also testified that he doesn’t see the tickets before they are certified through his computer-generated signature.
“There must be some sort of human involvement in certifying the tickets,” Cain said. “Here, there isn’t.”
Cain and Jewett are preparing a case for the U.S. Supreme Court, he said. The deadline to file is July 19.
If the high court rules that lower courts should have taken jurisdiction, he’ll pursue his legal options, he said.