Driver fights Lynnwood school zone speeding ticket and wins

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on October 14, 2010 at 6:38 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 14 at 8:58 PM

LYNNWOOD, Wash. – A Seattle man fought Lynnwood City Hall over a $124 speeding ticket generated by an automatic camera and won. Now, a judge's ruling in his favor could mean big consequences for this cash-strapped city.

"I knew I was right," said Paul Cesmat. Determined to get his camera-generated speeding ticket dismissed, he spent his own money and lots of time fighting the City of Lynnwood.

In January, the camera took a shot of Cesmat speeding in a school zone in front of Lynnwood Elementary School. But he says the signage was faulty.

The sign directed drivers to slow down when the crosswalk lights flash. The problem is, the sign didn’t have a light. There were some flashing lights nearby, but they were nearly a football field away.

"Since then, they've added the light to this sign, which is proper, so that when you see the sign and the light's flashing, you know you should go 20 mph," said Cesmat.

Cesmat lost in municipal court then he won on appeal to superior court. The higher court ruled that his ticket be dismissed.

Cesmat is convinced that thousands of people who got camera-generated speeding tickets in the school zone while the old sign was up should get their tickets overturned. That could cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars at the same time it is facing a $22 million budget gap.

Both the mayor and his assistant failed to return several calls for an interview. A police spokesperson says Lynnwood denies the old sign was faulty and that it was simply changed to be more driver-friendly.

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