Bill would ban city’s use of photo enforcement

In what is an annual ritual, HB2579 (51st regular session) a group of Republican Arizona legislators would ban city’s and town’s use of photo enforcement. See here for last session’s go-rounds…. photo enforcement seems to be a pre-occupation with some handful of legislators.

Arizona’s legislators have often voiced frustration over being “told what to do” by, say, the Feds. Proponents of such bills, however, don’t appear to have any qualms about telling cities what they can and can’t do. Certainly, not all Republican lawmakers are on board, and cooler heads ultimately (this time, anyway) prevailed, as the bill failed to pass committee;

“I am not in favor of these things, but as a City Council member I will listen to my chief of police,” said Rep. Sonny Borrelli, a Republican from Lake Havasu City and a former City Council member there. “I can’t buy this that nobody knows about them and are being targeted — it’s no surprise.

As I’ve mentioned before… Completely aside from safety issues, cameras can, and do, provide evidence that has been used to solve crimes; including (that I know of) catching a hit-and-run driver who seriously injured a cyclist in Tucson, a hit-and-run-driver who killed a cyclist in Tempe, and a assault-robbery-murderer in Tempe.

And Another One

HB2477 (51st regular session) is yet another attempt to get rid of photo enforcement. This one harkens back to something i mentioned over a year ago; the legislature is aghast to find the the ARIZONA department of transportation is allowing photo enforcement to be placed along state roads, at the request of local juridictions. noted in a story about the bill passing the house: “Rep. Carl Seel, R-Phoenix, said he really wants photo enforcement eliminated, because in his view it is unconstitutional. But with measures outlawing it failing again this year, he said the bills that are advancing at least make it harder for cities and towns to set them up.”

[update 4/3/2013: hb2477 passed full senate along party lines, i presume, and moves back to house for what is assured final approval]

Is Photo enforcement Unconstitutional?

I would like to hear Rep. Seel’s reasoning. I’ve never really seen, other than vague claims, that photo enforcement is itself “unconstitutional”. For example, one Arizona legislator told me that was so because of a “constitutional right to face one’s accusers. With PE, the camera machine cannot be cross examined; it is therefore unconstitutional”. Really. He said that. Apparently according to his theory surveillance video, say in a bank robbery, is unconstitutional as well.

Googling around; I see a county court ruling in Florida, that has been set aside; awaiting review. In any event, there is apparently zero case law in Arizona holding PE to be unconstitutional. And after over 7 years (the loop 101 demonstration project began in the fall of 2005), and untold thousands of cases; I think it’s safe to say that photo enforcement is constitutional in Arizona.