Local Government

Editor:
Paul Martin, Esquire

City’s “red light camera” ordinance held constitutional. City of Creve Coeur v. Nottebrok,  No. 96396 (Mo. App. E.D., October 25, 2011), Dowd, P.J.

Nottebrok appealed her conviction of violating Creve Coeur’s “red light camera” ordinance, which prohibited the presence of motor vehicles in a camera-controlled intersection when the controlling signal was red. The ordinance characterized the offense as a non-moving violation and placed liability — a fine of $100 — on the owner of the offending vehicle.

Held:
Affirmed. Nottebrok claimed on appeal that the ordinance violated her constitutional due process rights, because the officer issuing the ticket had no probable cause to believe that she was driving the vehicle at the time of the offense. She also argued that the ordinance violated the Missouri Constitution, because it essentially established a moving violation, and its characterization of the offense as “non-moving” contradicted state law, which required the assessment of points on the offender’s driver’s license.

The Eastern District rejected both points, finding that the ordinance (a) did not impose liability on the operator of the vehicle, hence procedural due process guarantees did not attach to the operator, and (b) did not contradict state law, because it did not establish a violation based on the movement of a vehicle, but rather on the presence of the vehicle in the intersection when the light was red.