Saturday, April 21, 2012

Speed Cam Scofflaws

Somebody torched a speed cam in Catonsville this week. I’ll get back to that in a moment. First there’s the other speed cam news this week about how police cars, including HoCo police cars, have been cited 23 times by their own speed cameras. According to this story by Brandie Jefferson in Ellicott City Patch, “ they pay the $40 fine, just like civilians.”

“Citations have also been issued to school and MTA buses, Speed Camera Program Administrator Fred Von Briesen said at Wednesday evening’s meeting of the Howard County Police Citizens Advisory Council (CAC).”

That’s just beautiful.

We also learned that the top speed violation was 82 in a 40 mph zone, that there have been 455 repeat offenders in the first six months, and that only 12 tickets have been contested of which only two were dismissed.

Some rebels are taking matters into their own hands. In a bold demonstration of worthy of a sixties protest, someone lit fire to a speed cam box in Catonsville early Friday morning. According to this story by Brian Conlin in Explore Baltimore County, police are calling it a “first-degree malicious burning…”

You think?

“Police have no suspects and the fire remains under investigation, the release stated.”

I’ll bet it happens again.

In the meantime Washington Post columnist Gene Wiengarten also shares a story this week about how he beat the odds in speed cam court without having to lie. He wrestles with the moral dilemma of the admitting his guilt versus the “inherent unfairness of a system that places the word of a soulless machine over that of a human.”

Then an attorney told him it wasn’t about admitting guilt. The law is about “whether there is ample evidence to convict you.”

He was advised to at least appear to have built a case that would take hours for a hearing examiner to endure.

 “So there I was, at Traffic Adjudication Court with a stack of 8-by-10 glossies and a file as thick as my thigh filled with old newspapers. The hearing examiner looked at it, and me, and my photo, which he said was too blurry, dismissing the case before I had issued even a syllable of fictoid.”

NOTE: Although I linked to the Explore Baltimore County story about the speed cam vandalism, the story in Columbia Patch had the better picture of the damaged box.
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