[UPDATE] City Wins Tallahassee Red Light Camera Case

By: TallahasseeReports.com, Lindsey Day, Ashley Mitchem
By: TallahasseeReports.com, Lindsey Day, Ashley Mitchem

[UPDATE] 8-4 -

The City of Tallahassee Release

The City of Tallahassee today received notice that the Leon County Court of the Second Judicial Circuit issued a ruling that denied a motion to dismiss a red light camera violation issued to James T. Twilley. The ruling confirmed that the city has timed its traffic lights in accordance with Florida law and established engineering principles. The decision handed down by Leon County Traffic Magistrate (PDF), Paula M. Sparkman, dated August 3, 2011, denied the motion in which the defendant, Mr. Twilley, admittedly ran the red light but claimed the yellow light was too short and failed to meet minimum standards under Florida Department of Transportation's Traffic Engineering Manual.

At a court hearing that took place on July 13, Assistant City Attorney Rick Courtemanche presented facts along with the testimony of three expert witnesses including two transportation engineers from the city and one from the Florida Department of Transportation. The evidence presented was conclusive and the subsequent ruling verifies that the signal timing calculations that the city uses are consistent with established engineering principals and Florida law.

"Essentially, the ruling in this case confirms that the City of Tallahassee and its traffic engineers have timed traffic signals in accordance with the law, at all signalized intersections including those with red light cameras. This ruling should lay to rest any doubt that citizens may have about the accuracy and integrity in which yellow lights are timed," said Courtemanche.

The city's Red Light Camera Safety Program started on August 1, 2010, and since that time the city has seen major decreases in violations when compared to before the cameras were installed - as great as 90 percent at some intersections. This reduction in violations reinforces the use of red light cameras for public safety. A complete list of monitored intersections and details about the program are available on talgov.com. Drivers who run red lights at monitored intersections will be mailed a Notice of Violation with a $158 fine. To receive updates follow @COTTraffic on Twitter and/or sign up for the city's email subscription service to receive general news releases at Talgov.com.

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[UPDATE] 7-13-11 8:40 PM by Ashley Mitchem--

Todd Twilley says he was fined $140. Although he admits to going through a red light, he wants that charge dismissed.

He says the yellow light in the left turn lane at Killearn Center Blvd. and Capital Circle Northeast is not long enough. Twilley appeared in court for the first time on Wednesday, July 13, 2011.

He represented himself. The Florida Department of Transportation says Twilley's arguments are not valid.

The city of Tallahassee has had red light cameras up at several traffic lights since August 2010.

A ruling will be made on this case on August 5th.

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[UPDATE] 7-11-11 8:40 PM by Lindsey Day--

Todd Twilley adamantly believes that there is fault in Tallahassee's red light camera system. He claims that the yellow light in the left turn lane at Killearn Center Blvd. and Capital Circle Northeast does not last long enough, and does not comply with the DOT Traffic engineering manual.

City Spokesperson Michele Bono disagrees. She says, "We have always followed state requirement on signal timing and people just common sense understand that when you take a left turn you slow down. "

The city recently took action by making what they call a clarification to the red light camera laws. Bono states, "We wanted to be sure that we were doing it absolutely right so we sent a request to the state and said will you clarify that what we're doing is correct."

The Florida Department of Transportation states that "Recently, it has been brought to our attention that there may be some confusion or misinterpretation of the requirements...It was never the Department's intention that the 85th percentile speed or the posted speed of the through lanes be used to calculate the yellow change interval time for an adjacent turn lane."

Twilley claims the Department is changing the rule- not clarifying it. He's hoping a judge will rule that he and others who got a ticket in the left turn lane with a shorter yellow light can get their money back.

Todd Twilley has agreed to speak to us on camera tomorrow before he takes his case to court. Todd Twilley and the city of Tallahassee will go before a judge Wednesday afternoon.

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When you were growing up didn’t you hate the kids that changed the rules of the game when they were losing? Usually those kids were the bullies and you had to accept it and move on!

But as adults you would think we would have outgrown such behavior. Maybe we have, but somebody at the City of Tallahassee has not!

Tallahassean Todd Twilley recently challenged his red light camera ticket in the local court based on a Florida Department of Transportation rule that stated the timing of the yellow light he was charged with running should have been longer. The City of Tallahassee has been issuing red light camera tickets using shorter yellow lights for turn lanes than thru lanes.

Read more here.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Tina on Aug 6, 2011 at 04:22 AM
    Aren't magistrates wannabe judges? What are the qualifications needed to be a "magistrate?" Never heard of Sparkman.
  • by Anonymous on Aug 5, 2011 at 03:35 PM
    GOOD! Im so glad. There is no reason that his ticket should have even gotten that far anyway.
  • by THE TRUTH Location: TALLY on Aug 5, 2011 at 01:08 PM
    FIRST OF ALL A JUDGE CANNOT RULE OR HAVE A SAY SO A JURY WAS TO DECIDE THAT LIKE IT SAIDS IN THE BILL OF RIGHTS NO JUDGE CAN SAY WHO IS GUILTY OR NOT.....END
    • reply
      by learn the facts on Aug 5, 2011 at 03:20 PM in reply to THE TRUTH
      If this was a criminal offence yes but this is a ticket you do not get a jury for a parking ticket these red light camera citations are treated like a parking ticket. after seeing the pictures of the accident at Capital Circle & Tenn this morning & the one on Thomasville rd, i understand why they are needed. People need to remember to drive carefully driving is a privelege not a right!
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Feb 22, 2012 at 09:15 AM in reply to learn the facts
        I'm glad you like living in Orwellian times my friend for the future is now. Let's see how far they can watch us and to what extent does it become violation of your freedoms, should be intersting. At present count, they have phones, Internet, streets, and satellite triangulation. Hope the next set of Tallahassee cameras is not trained on your house windows. If in the event this does happen just remember it is for the good of the city. :)
  • by Chuck Location: Tally on Aug 5, 2011 at 11:13 AM
    Guilty, guilty, guilty! Here is a novel idea for you.....don't run the red light and you don't pay a nickel to the city. You can add all the time in the worl to the yellow light and you will still have morons who will try to run it and then make excuses for running it. Step up to the plate and be a man about it if you get caught. I'm sick of hearing people blame someone or something else when they break the law.
    • reply
      by #2 on Aug 5, 2011 at 03:34 PM in reply to Chuck
      THANK YOU!!!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 22, 2012 at 09:16 AM in reply to Chuck
      Now here's a bright man. Of course technology can never be faulty. We mustn't question a camera for they are all mighty! Read 1984 again I think you missed it on the first go round.
  • by Sara on Aug 5, 2011 at 09:57 AM
    Personal responsibilty and accountability are dead...I don't like the cameras either, but this guy ADMITTED to running a red light, is he really that dense?
  • by Anonymous on Aug 5, 2011 at 08:46 AM
    TAKE THEM DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 22, 2012 at 09:17 AM in reply to
      About time someone with a coment that does not make me embarrassed to be a resident of Tallahasse. Take-em' down my man! I am 100% behind you. Find a way and I will happily assist!
  • by Tally H8R Location: Tally on Aug 5, 2011 at 08:03 AM
    I'm going to rent a car with my fake ID and credit card, then run every single red light in town. :)
    • reply
      by common sense on Aug 5, 2011 at 11:53 AM in reply to Tally H8R
      Thank you for providingyour IP address to wctv so that when you do this the police will be able to trace the IP back through the phone/cable company and determine where it originated...smart.
      • reply
        by HAHA on Aug 5, 2011 at 03:34 PM in reply to common sense
        lolz
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Feb 22, 2012 at 09:20 AM in reply to common sense
        And I'm sure you're in favor of the Gustappo totalitarian regime monitoring your every. What an age we live in where brainwashed dolts such as yourself advocate for government intervention and control. I'm sure Iran would love to have you as a citizen of its country.
  • by TJ Location: Havana on Aug 5, 2011 at 07:45 AM
    Do you really think running red lights is smart? When you get T-boned when you have the green light and someone ran the red, you will feel differently about the cameras.RED LIGHT RUNNERS put everyone in danger. The cameras should not bother you unless you are one of the runners!!!!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 22, 2012 at 09:21 AM in reply to TJ
      You have just lowered the bar for this entire forum. Thank you for providing the most assanine response thus far.
  • by victor Location: tallahassee on Jul 13, 2011 at 02:57 PM
    Was the city of tallahassee that hard up for money that they would allow these cameras to be installed? How much more stupid do we need to be to just accept this. They do not prevent accidents, they do however raise money on the backs of people that struggle and can't aford to pay the stupid tickets. How do you get a delivery driver to pay this ticket when the company gets the ticket for their truck. To bad they did't know who the driver of that truck was on the day the ticket was issued. So now who will pay the ticket. You ellect these people to pass laws and rules you don't believe in yourself, stop being fools all your life. Put them out of office!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Aug 5, 2011 at 07:24 AM in reply to victor
      Not really, but this way they can delay the prospect of raising taxes, or possibly lower taxes.
    • reply
      by anonymous on Aug 5, 2011 at 07:44 AM in reply to victor
      waaaaaa, don't run the red light and you will not give them any money. Simple as that! It does prevent accidents because anyone that knows there is a red light camera there will think twice before running it like they used to do.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 22, 2012 at 09:24 AM in reply to victor
      Well said! I was starting to beleive all the citizens of Tallahassee were just mindless sheep yearning to be led to the slaughter. WAKE UP Tallahasse! This is the first of many more govermental controls to come and most of these dolts are actually for more govt. monitoring.
  • by Paul Henry Location: Tallahassee on Jul 13, 2011 at 02:39 PM
    A few questions- 1) Why can't you request a court hearing from the ticket you get in the mail (as you can with the ticket a police officer gives you)? You have to wait until the time to pay the fine has passed by and receive a second ticket that carries a higher penalty. 2) If it's not about money, why were these expensive devices installed for free? Hint- the camera company (ATS) is making millions on them. They invested $28,000 in campaign donations and reap a return that beats anything on Wall St. 3) If it's about safety, why no points on the license? Points are used to ID & suspend the license of bad drivers, such as those running red lights. 4) Why are Tallahassee fines paid to Denver? The 5th & 6th Amendments don't apply here due to a technicality, but the 8th & 14th do. The rights of the motorist must be restored by the Legislature.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Aug 5, 2011 at 07:42 AM in reply to Paul Henry
      1. This is not a ticket. 2. The devices were not installed for free. The company that runs the system for the city paid for the installation(out of their cut). 3. It is not a ticket(yet), so no points. 4. You are still paying the City of Tallahassee, but the company that runs this for the city is in Denver. Don't worry, the city will get its share.
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