Davenport lost a court battle Tuesday over its use of traffic enforcement cameras, but an appeal is expected. Scott County District Court Judge Gary McKenrick ruled against the city’s use of cameras to catch speeders and red light runners. Lawyer Richard Davidson, of Davenport, represents some of the people who contested the citations they got in the mail as a result of the cameras.
Davidson says the judge ruled the cameras violate the state motor vehicle code and are illegal. He says they won based on two elements — first, the citation violates state law because it goes to a car’s owner rather than to the driver, who may not be the same person.
Davidson says the other element is that the fines that are sent in the mail are civil fines, but state law stipulates they must be criminal fines. He says thousands of people who got the fines -might- be getting their money back, but Davidson warns, don’t start spending those checks yet.
Unless the city can get the ruling changed by appealing, he says it will mean the money will have to be refunded. The city -is- expected to appeal as it’s collected more than a quarter-million dollars in fines from some 14-thousand motorists in the past year. Several other Iowa cities are using the cameras for traffic enforcement, including Council Bluffs and Clive, while Sioux City leaders just voted last week to install them.