Could California's Red Light Cameras Be Put On Hold?
A case out of the California 2nd District Court of Appeals, People v. Borzakian, had the appellant, Annette Borzakian appeal her conviction for running a red light based on evidence from a red light camera and the testimony of a police officer.
Testifying at her original trial was a police officer who is trained in interpreting red light photos. The appellant’s argument is that she should be allowed to question a representative of the red light camera provider. The officer’s interpretation of the photos constitutes “hearsay” and denies Borzakian the right to confront her accuser.
The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution states in part: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to be confronted with the witnesses against him. Known as the Confrontation Clause, this law prevents the admission of hearsay evidence, or statements and observations by one witness to be stated by another witness as fact. An opportunity has to be made to ask the witness questions about their own testimony, or to confront them directly.
The Court of Appeals agreed with Ms. Borzakian position. Someone from the red light company needs to appear at trial to testify of the maintenance and subsequent accuracy of their red light camera and the supporting documentation and analysis.
This ruling could lead to a temporary shutdown of the red light camera system in California. The red light system could be halted because Government agencies will need to find a way to comply with this new ruling.
What are your thoughts? Is the red light photo and the testimony of a trained police officer enough evidence or should we be allowed to question someone from the red light company?