Court hearing fails to clear up red light camera controversy

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by CHRIS INGALLS / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @cjingalls

KING5.com

Posted on October 4, 2010 at 6:45 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 5 at 10:32 AM

SEATTLE - At a hearing Monday, a King County judge ruled on a controversial red light camera system in Seattle.

Earlier this year, the KING 5 Investigators reported that Seattle's traffic judges have been tossing tickets issued to red light runners at NE 45th Street and Union Bay Place

The judges have ruled that language in the state law does not allow traffic cameras to be used at five-way intersections, like the intersection in question near University Village.

The city disagreed and appealed the case involving a Seattle driver.

Monday, a King County judge voided the traffic court's decision because of an unrelated technical error. While the judge didn't rule on the traffic cameras, she did say she thinks the cameras are legal.

"They placed it at two arterials and that's where the camera takes a photo,” said Judge Laura Gene Middaugh. “I don't see how that could be interpreted … and it made no sense in light of the statutory intent, which is safety."

The cameras have issued nearly 12,000 tickets in the two years since they were installed at the intersection. The city says it won't take them down unless a superior court judge rules against them.

The driver who was ticketed in the case that’s being appealed, Vita Otrubova, has two weeks to decide whether to contest the ticket further at the traffic court level.

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