Beware of "snitch tickets"- fake red-light camera tickets in CaliforniaSubmitted by Resistance_2009 on Sat, 08/18/2012 - 16:33
August 18, 2012
HighwayRobbery.net has published a memo from The City of Hayward, CA Police Chief revealing that the majority of red-light camera tickets in the city are phony "snitch tickets"; letters mailed to drivers which rely soley on voluntary compliance from recipients. Sadly, an amazing 66% of recipients are duped into responding and indicting themselves when there is no reason to. [See 5th Amendment].
The memo from the Chief of Police to the Mayor & City Council dated October 11, 2011, reveals that the majority of red-light tickets issued in the city are 'snitch tickets'- notices which are not issued from a court, and with no proof of service. The memo states in part:
"Currently, there are two full-time personnel assigned to RedFlex, consisting of one sworn Traffic
Enforcement Officer and one Community Service Officer. These two positions are averaging
approximately 1,500 violations processed monthly. Each month, approximately 500 are Notice to
Appears, 730 are Notice of Violations (requiring additional identification of the driver by the
Registered Owner), and over 300 are "rejected" because of discretion from staff (cannot see face of
driver, spirit of the law versus letter of the law on a right turn violation, etc.). Of the 730 Notice of
Violations that need follow up, staff gets a return of about 480 notices from Registered Owners,
leaving 250 violations per month unresolved.
...The Department will be hiring an additional Community Service Officer (CSO) on a six-month trial
basis to follow up on the 250 unresolved violations identified above. This position will not increase the total level of staffing in the Department; instead it will reallocate positions."
The document was prepared by police chief Diane E. Urban. It notes that the net monthly revenue from the camera program was $10,180, but they wanted to hire officers to coerce the remaining average of 250 people per month to "pay up":
"This results in an average of $10,180 in revenue for the City monthly. The police department has
proposed the addition of one CSO and a "per diem" officer, which will result in the additional
billing of approximately 250 citations. If that is accomplished and the money from those 250
citations is collected effectively, it will result in an additional $14,700 of revenue per month."
Despite countless city, state and federal studies nationwide which confirm that collisions increase after installation of red-light cameras, the memo states "There are studies that show that red light cameras do in fact reduce the number of collisions; however, the Hayward Police Department has not been able to gather sufficient data to support this conclusion."
HighwayRobbery.net offers a complete section on snitch tickets, and states in part:
"This section is about a scam coming from a place you would never expect it, your local police department. They mail out fake red light camera "tickets" to bluff registered owners into providing info about the person who was driving their car or, to confirm that they (the registered owner) were the driver.
My name for these non-tickets is Snitch Tickets. Another possible name for them would be "Phishing Tickets."
....(The most common fake ticket has the photos arranged 2 x 2 at the bottom)
...and does not give the name of the Court and its street address and phone number, or if it says,
"Do not contact the Court" or
"This is not a Notice to Appear" or
"This is not a ticket" or
"Failure to respond could result in a citation being issued in your name,"
it's probably not a real ticket. It could be a fake - a Snitch Ticket - generated by the police.
A real ticket will have this section telling you to contact ("Respond to") the court ... and you should !
(In LA County there is the option to not respond, even when it is a real ticket. See the LA County Docs page.)
[Much more at link: http://highwayrobbery.net/redlightcamsticket.htm#Fakes]
The editor of HighwayRobbery.net puts his money where his mouth is.
In their article California Court Denies Public Trial for Camera Tickets, TheNewspaper.com reported:
"In 2004, the Los Angeles County court attempted to ban the editor of the highwayrobbery.net website from approaching the courthouse to provide motorists with copies of legal rulings that motorists could cite as a precedent in their own cases."
The L.A. Court kept issuing official edicts in response to the HighwayRobbery.net editor's activism, increasing the distance required for people to offer literature from 10 feet initially, to 45 feet, to 100 feet. They threatened him with arrest and cited him for violating their rules:
Los Angeles Court Bans Ticket Challenge Assistance
The Los Angeles County, California Court has banned any education in or near a courthouse that may assist an individual in fighting a traffic ticket.
"The Los Angeles County, California Court issued an edict last month banning any "education or counseling" within 100 feet of a courthouse that might assist individuals in fighting a traffic citation. The move comes in response to efforts by the editor of the highwayrobbery.net website to help individuals exercise their full legal rights with respect to red light camera tickets....
...The editor was formally charged with "distributing literature" less than ten feet from the building entrance. Refusing to give up his right to help others, he returned to the courthouse the next day and was nearly arrested a second time for holding a sign offering free help -- this time 45 feet from the entrance (see photo). The advice was politely offered, and anyone who asked for the information received a packet specifically tailored to various stages of fighting a ticket.
On November 15, 2005 the court fired back with the order extending the ban on free speech or assembly to 100 feet. "No person... shall, within 100 feet of any doorway to any courthouse... knowingly approach another person, within eight feet of such person, unless such other person consents, for the purpose of passing a leaflet or handbill to, displaying a sign to, or engaging in oral protest, education or counseling with such other person," the order states.
HighwayRobbery.net also reminds us that "tickets from cities in LA County can be ignored because the LA County court does not report ignored tickets to the DMV. (That does not apply to other counties.)" The info about LA County tickets is here.
Pasadena, California recently ended their red light camera program, and cited motorists lack of voluntary compliance as one of the reasons for scrapping the cameras. A Memorandum from the Pasadena Department of Transportation and Police Department to the City's Public Safety Committee dated December 5, 2011 outlined the reasons for ending the program along with some revealing info (Document courtsey of HighwayRobbery.net:)
"In Los Angeles County, unlike other counties, the courts have elected to treat non-payment of red light camera violations differently than similar citations issued in person by sworn personnel. The net result of this action is that there is no effective penalty for non-payment of red light camera violations in Los Angeles County. As the lack of consequences has become better known by violators, the rate of non-payment has increased, thereby eroding the program's deterrent effect against red light running."
The document also noted that as more people opted to fight their tickets, the city began to lose revenue:
"The high cost of a citation and greater awareness of how LA County courts have been treating RLC citations has led to an increase in court challenges for RLC citations. The effect on Pasadena of these changes has been an increased number of court appearances for our officers to defend red light running citations. Overall, even with a reduced number of citations, sworn personnel are spending a greater proportion of their time testifying in court because of the increased challenges."
[From Pasadena scraps revenue cameras, but leaves dangerous mess in their wake
Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured on LewRockwell.com, WhatReallyHappened, Infowars, PrisonPlanet, National Motorists Association, WorldNetDaily, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 Los Angeles, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI 640, The Press Enterprise, Antiwar.com, IamtheWitness.com, FreedomsPhoenix, Rense, BlackBoxVoting, and many others. Archives can be found at LibertyFight.com