DPS should drop tickets from uncertified devices - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

DPS should drop tickets from uncertified devices

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Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008 10:18 pm | Updated: 11:32 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Anyone willing to stage a protest outdoors in the East Valley on an August afternoon at least should be appreciated for steadfast adherence to their cause.

While the Aug. 22 demonstration by about a dozen people at a busy Scottsdale intersection trotted out time-worn and repeatedly disproven arguments against photo-enforcement cameras, one point they did make was correct.

As the Tribune's Julie Janovsky reported Saturday, the group called for the Arizona Department of Public Safety to refund fines paid by about 4,800 photographed motorists.

Capitol Media Services' Howard Fischer has reported in the Tribune that these pictures were triggered by two mobile vans' radio-wave-using radar guns that were determined to be uncertified by the Federal Communications Commission.

The employer of those operating the guns, Karen Finley of Scottsdale-based Redflex Traffic Systems, said in a recent letter to DPS Cmdr. Thomas Woodward that her company was willing to refund the money to motorists if DPS wished it, Fischer reported Aug. 13.

So far, DPS has not wished it and the citations stand. The vans' radar guns were to have been certified a few days later, Fischer reported.

Our system of justice puts the burden of proof on the complaining party, whether that be a private plaintiff in a civil suit or the government. When police haven't put together a sufficient, legal case against a suspect, prosecutors should not pursue charges.

Under federal law, radio waves belong to the public and only federally certified devices may broadcast them, To many it may be a mere technicality, but we imagine local defense attorneys already preparing to introduce the lack of certification as evidence that their clients' citations be thrown out.

Televised reports of the protest recorded protesters arguing that DPS' failure to authorize refunds flies in the face of law enforcement officials' frequent assertions that these devices are not primarily about making money but about ensuring public safety on the roads.

If that's really true, then citations resulting from the uncertified devices were improperly issued. DPS should order them torn up, all fines refunded and any sanctions on cited motorists' driving records lifted.

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