Updated with response from camera vendor American Traffic Solutions.
For years those both in opposition and in favor or red light cameras have complained that the fate of the controversial devices won't be decided until the Missouri Supreme Court weighs in on the matter. Yesterday that wait grew indefinitely longer when the state's highest court denied taking up appellate rulings dealing with the legality of cameras in Creve Coeur, Kansas City and Florissant.
But the courts inaction could be seen as a win for those who've grown to despise the cameras.
Ryan Keane, the St. Louis-based attorney who's brought suit against all three cities that the Supreme Court declined yesterday, says most red light camera laws in Missouri would now appear to be officially invalid. The same goes with speed cameras.
"The three cases denied today deal with ordinances that the Court of Appeals have found to be invalid because the laws do not assess points against the driver," says Keane. "And under Missouri law, moving violations must assess points."
In recent months a spate of cities have stopped enforcing their red light cameras laws following appellate court rulings that struck down ordinances in Kansas City, Ellisville, St. Louis and elsewhere. See also: Red-Light Cameras Are Back On in St. Louis, With One Small Twist
The state Supreme Court does not provide explanation as to why it chooses to not hear a case, but it could be that the justices will still hear matter this year. The court's next hand down date is March 25. Keane is involved in two other appellate decisions -- Arnold and Ellisville -- that seek transfer to the Supreme Court.
In the meantime, Keane says that the yesterday's Supreme Court denials allow him to begin discovery on the cases involving Florissant, Kansas City and Creve Coeur. Keane hopes to prove that the cities established the red light camera ordinances as a revenue source disguised as a public safety enhancement.
American Traffic Solutions, the company that provides the cameras in Florissant, Kansas City and Creve Coeur, could not be reached immediately for comment.
Updated: In a statement, ATS spokesman Charles Territo tells Daily RFT that his company is also hopeful that the Missouri Supreme Court will someday settle the matter.
"If ultimately courts in Missouri require the assessment of points, it will likely result in reporting violations to insurance companies and identifying the driver," says Territo. "Most states, including Missouri, assess fines based upon the registered owner of the vehicle. However, programs similar to what the court envisions already exist in Arizona, California, Colorado and Oregon. As we do with all of our customers, we will consult with each of them on how they would like to proceed."