Five years after they first began popping up in intersections across Missouri, red-light cameras are finally having their day before the state's highest court.
Today the Missouri Supreme Court will hear the case of Adolph Belt Jr.
a retired Missouri Highway Patrol trooper, who's fighting the red-light ticket he received in Springfield in 2008.
Belt is challenging the way the camera system works in Springfield -- as well as municipalities such as St. Louis -- in which tickets from the cameras are treated as an administrative action and not a criminal act.
"This case is not about Trooper Belt trying to get out of a $100
ticket," Jason Umbarger, Belt's attorney, told the Springfield News-Leader
yesterday. "But rather an attempt to challenge a "radical new
form of prosecution through administrative action."
"What we have here is a case where motorists in the city of Springfield
are being charged with a crime and fined without the traditional
presumptions of innocence or the other protections that criminal
defendants have," continued Umbarger. "This is a
criminal case, it's a criminal action, everything about it is criminal
in nature, except the city's willingness to honor defendants' rights."
Last year St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Robert Dierker challenged the red-light ticket he received
from a camera in the city. Dierker won his challenge in December and the case file was sealed immediately from pubic view.