December 1, 2011 -
A state appeals court ruled Wednesday that the use of cameras by the city of Aventura and several others to catch red light runners is valid, overruling a lower court that had found the use of the devices before a new state law was enacted illegal. The majority of the three judge panel of the Third District Court of Appeal in Miami said that Aventura, which had red light cameras in place before a 2010 state law that specifically allows them, was within the law. "Doing so is well within the city's exercise of its broad home rule power and falls squarely within the specific authority carved out" by lawmakers for local enforcement of traffic laws, Judge Angel Cortinas wrote for the 2-1 majority. "Through the ordinance, the city has simply developed a procedure for carrying out its power to regulate, restrict or monitor traffic." Senior Judge Alan R. Schwartz joined Cortinas on the majority. Judge Leslie Rothenberg dissented. The bill passed by the Legislature in 2010 now pre-empts municipal regulation of red light cameras, but Aventura and several other cities had the enforcement mechanisms in place before the law was passed. The appeals court noted that the new law specifically didn't invalidate pre-existing camera systems, but moved their regulation to the state. The case is City of Aventura v. Richard Masone.