Robocop Spy Cameras
Police State Scam or Spawn of Satan?
Public Service Announcements by PirateNews.org
25 January 2005 - Mp3 file
15 February 2005 - Mp3 file
PUBLIC COMMENTS ON ORDINANCE
TO: City Council
February 15, 2005
5 minute time limit
My name is John Lee.
On February 1st, City Council voted to raise millions of dollars in taxes with Robocop Spy Cameras. Traffic citations will be mailed to vehicle owners, with no attempt to identify the driver. This police and court function will be outsourced to a private contractor, perhaps outside of Tennessee. 125,000 annual “misdemeanor citations” are not enough profit for KPD, so government jobs will be outsourced, perhaps to a foreign nation like the IRS now does.
Council alleges the Constitutions do not apply, since traffic citations are civil actions, not criminal prosecutions. But all civil trials require plaintiffs appear in court to testify, or the complaint must be dismissed for “failure to prosecute”.
Chattanooga lawyer Jes Beard, on his website JesBeard.com, wrote an article titled, “How to Beat a Speeding Ticket for Photo RADAR”. (quote) “It is extremely easy to beat this type of ticket in court. Your easiest defense is to simply throw the ticket away. Most cities and states have abandoned the system all together.” (end quote)
Rule 4 of Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure requires Service of Process. This requires the complaint be handed to an adult defendant, or to be mailed by certified mail, with a return receipt signed by an adult at the home of the defendant. The Robocop Spy Camera ordinance violates that law, since first class mail does not comply with TRCP.
The Robocop ordinance even violates Knoxville Code, Section 8-1. Issuance of process. (quote) “The city judge shall issue process on the. He shall try no case until process has been regularly sued out, served and returned.” (end quote)
City Council is of the opinion that it can break the law with sovereign immunity. I remind Council that there are many exceptions to sovereign immunity, both civil and criminal. Any person sued by Robocops can countersue the City of Knoxville Corporation and its officers and agents, as allowed in all civil lawsuits under TRCP Rule 13, for all appeals from City Court.
According to Tennessee attorney Ed Fowlkes, private contractors mailing out traffic citations can be a criminal offense under Tennessee Code, of Unauthorized Practice of Law.
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (2003 Edition), is adopted as law by Tennessee DOT.
US Congressman "Dick" Armey wrote in his report titled, “Red Light Camera Scam”, that simply increasing the time delay of yellow lights can reduce crashes by 95 percent, for free, but that Red Light Cameras increase crashes by 50 percent.
As this Council confessed, the Virginia Study proved that Red Light Cameras are guaranteed to increase the number of crashes, injuries and deaths. Robocop Red Light Cameras will result in a boycott of Knoxville businesses, by scaring away shoppers. Knoxville already named Interstate Highway I-140 for a convicted hit and run killer named Senator Carl Koella, that resulted in millions of tourists boycotting Knoxville and Tennessee in protest.
One of my cars was feloniously stolen by a KPD and Sutherland Avenue Wrecker Chop Shop. When I pulled the cop’s personnel file, he had killed a woman in a red light crash, but he had no points on his driver license. Another KPD cop wrote me a ticket for driving 50 miles per hour in a 55 zone on I-40. When I pulled his personnel file, he had crashed his patrol car into innocent bystanders 4 times in 5 years, in rear end collisions. He had no points on his driver license, either. Case dismissed. Just yesterday, KPD cops caused two crashes, including a head-on collision on I-275. In Johnson City, I eyewitnessed a cop run a red light downtown, and smash into the car in front of me, as it pulled away from a green light. The cop ran the red light at 80 miles per hour or more, and T-boned the innocent car 100 feet sideways, perhaps killing them.
Robocop Spy Cameras follow the 6th Plank of the Communist Manifesto (quote): "Centralization of the means of communications and transportation in the hands of the State."
US Congressman Ron Paul called traffic citations and spy cameras the backbone of the “American Police State”.
Austin Texas now has Robocop GPS toll roads on many downtown streets, costing residents $1,500 a year “wheel tax”. This resulted in massive revolt to recall all members of Austin City Council. I ask Council to repeal this Robocop ordinance.
Objection to Proposed Ordinance - 2nd Reading
Traffic-Calming Robocop Goes Haywire in City Council, Slaughters "Democracy"
Stripper testifies to prostitutes, er, City Councillors in Red-Light District Spy-Cam "Workshop"
KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE - On February 1, Knoxville City Council formally rubber-stamped its ordinance to "legalize" so-called Red-Light Traffic Cameras, a/k/a "Traffic-Control Photographic System" with "Automated Enforcement". Council's Orwellian "Traffic Calming Committee" announced its Big Brother scheme after seven months of semi-secret meetings and secret sales pitches. The Robocops shall be outsourced to the Military-Industrial Complex that President-General Dwight Eisenhower warned us about. Public dissention was ignored by Council's admitted anhiliation of Constitutional rights, and its arrogant subversion of Civil Law.
Councilors alleged "the Constitution did not matter", since this ordinance specified that traffic citations from Robocops to be "a civil action in the nature of debt", not criminal prosecutions, therefore defendants lacked all rights, such as crossexamining a human accuser in court. Never mind that in all civil cases, when a plaintiff-accuser fails to show up for a trial date, this results in automatic dismissal for "failure to prosecute".
A related illegal ordinance was passed to ban "license plate covers", even when those clear covers are protected by state law. It also attempted to ban "altering the reflectivity of a license plate".
I voiced my 5-minute objection to this ordinance to City Council, based upon a reading of government reports that prove Red-Light Cameras harm Public Safety and illegally violate The Law (full text below). My words of wisdom included a US government report by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Congressman Dick Armey, titled, "Red Light Camera Scams". I peppered the Council with Congressman Ron Paul's rhetorical question, "Is America a Police State?" My lecture quoted the Communist Manifesto, "Centralization of the means of transportation in the hands of the State." I also submitted my written Amendment to that proposed ordinance, to cure its original violations of law (which would effective ban the Spy-Cam Scam). At the conclusion of my tongue-bashing, the Spectators' Gallery erupted into spontaneous applause, presumably because I nailed the issue.
This pat on the back made up for my battle against 2005's bioweaponized WMD flu virus (that eugenocides over 30,000 Americans every year), captured from a restaurant where employees wash the salad in the sink of the employees' toilet. Nearly losing my voice did not deter me from my Mission Accomplished. (FYI: That night the TeeVee News reported that every adult swallows 5 bathtubs of snot per year. Doh! No wonder I felt like I was drowning in my sleep. More than you needed to know, I know.... Just trying to empress upon the Gentle Sheeple that sometimes one must play injured, in the game of pro poly-ticks.)
Two more citizens eloquently voiced their opposition (3 citizens is the legal limit): Opening Pandora's Box of video Spy Cameras might lead to GPS transmitters mandated for every vehicle, to issue speeding tickets and to tax us by the mile (as currently required in many cities in USA).
Councillor Joe Holquist explained that the "Virginia Study" by esteemed researchers at University of Virginia, proved beyond any doubt that Red-Light cameras always cause more crashes.
Knoxville's oily mayor, "Billion-Dollar" Bill Haslam, and "his" City Council then voted to approve the spy-cam ordinances, with only Councillor Steve Hall dissenting. There was no motion to postpone the vote until my Amended Ordinance could be read by Council, nor to obtain an Attorney General Opinion on the alleged legality of the ordinance, per my verbal and written motion.
That evening, WBIR TV reported that The Sheeple, er, The People will now love their Spy Cameras, and failed to report on dissention at City Council, nor report the illegality of Council's actions to defraud the gullible public. WBIR broadcast Council member Joe Bailey's false allegation that he had "serious reservations about it overall, and there's some unanswered questions that I'm still looking into, and so I'm going to continue to find the answers." Like Holquist, Baily voted FOR the ordinance, which he had preapproved in the secret "Traffic Calming Committee".
WBIR did, however, report that Police State Attorney General Randy Nichols filed criminal arrest warrants against 35 parents because their kids skipped government brainwashing, er, "school".
During the previous "workshop" by City Council to "debate" the alleged merits of spy cams, held on the previous Thursday, numerous citizens voiced their opposition to 1984's bully Big Brother. The first half of that Workshop on Spy Cams was taken by Judge Baumgartner and his stripper/prostitute. The judge's stripper testified how much she loved living in prison, thanks to Knox County General Sessions "Drug Court" Division. The judge's stripper bragged that she shoplifted $250,000 in merchandise, apparently without getting caught. Cincinnati Ohio city council member Jerry Springer would have been proud of KnoxPatch's surreality. The judge forgot to mention that the previous Knox County sheriff, Joe Jenkins, was convited of $1-million car theft to feed his cocaine addiction.
The idea for the Spy-Cam ordinance reportedly originated with Knoxville Police Department (KPD), and its unelected police chief, Sterling Owen The Fourth. The government contract for for this Robocop monstrosity is potentially worth tens of millions of taxdollars, both to the outsourced private corporation, and to the "broker" of this Robocop system. Brokers on any government contract routinely demand 33% commission on the entire cost of the contract. KPD commanders routinely pocket huge extrcurricular incomes via "consulting fees" and "private security contracts". One KPD captain confessed in court to extorting, er, "moonlighting" as head of security at The Underground nightclub, to prevent underage KPD cadets with fake IDs from shaking down, er, "infiltrating" businesses that serve alcohol. The previous KPD Chief, Phil Keith, allegedly moonlighted as a "consultant" to travel USA and speak to city governments on "Homeland Security" issues, at a bonus income of $100,000 per year, extorted, er, "generously donated" by taxpayers in foreign cities. Chief Keith allegedly policed his own police by threatening to assault every cop (male and female) who attempted to do their job, in the privacy of his office in the KPD "Safety Building" bunker and torture chamber, er, abandoned jailhouse.
Chief Owen is retired from a known Mafia and terrorist organization that identifies itself as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Owen had never been a "police officer" before his job as police chief. Participation in the FBI's "SWAT" infantry doesn't compare to traffic policing. The historical record proves that homosexual FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who ruled "his" Seat Of Government for over 40-years, vacationed with Mafia kingpins, while declaring publicly that the Mafia (La Cosa Nostra) did not exist. Hoover reportedly also ran Death Squads against both gangsters and against other US police Death Squads, including Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). A banner headline in Knoxville News-Sentinel reported that US Congress' House Assassinations Committee in 1978 determined that FBI murdered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Tennessee. FBI Special Agent in Charge of New York City division hired Arab terrorists, paid them $1-million, and supplied them with the bombs used to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993. The Egyptian Army colonel/bomber/terrorist was wise enough to tape record the FBI SAC, DA (and Jewish rabbis) ordering the homicidal terrorist bombing to take place, rather than conduct a "sting" operation with fake explosives. This Arab colonel-terrorist was the US government's star witness against the "real" Arab terrorists. These tapes were played in open court, during the trial of this US-government-employed terrorists, and reported by the New York Times.
Tennessee's FBI was recently lampooned for its participation in the KKK's annual North American "Good Old Boys Roundup", where cops gathered to picnic and lynch nigger-cops in effigy. When I lived at an exclusive golf resort in Loudon County, my next-door neighbor was Eugene Rightmyer, Special Agent-In-Charge of the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, those nice people who, with the FBI SWAT cops, US Army and United Nations Corporation's Communist Russian special forces, led the genociday slaughter of 80 black and white Christians at church in Waco/Crawford, Texas. Rightmyer was reportedly the founder and organizer of the Good Old Boy Roundup, who refused an invitation from Congress to describe its "all whites policy", "nigger hunting licenses", "Redneck of the Year" contest, moonshine consumption, bestiality, and a 25-cop gang-rape of a female cop at the Roundup (culminated by homosexual gang-urination on the victim). A Loudon County deputy alleged to me that no person can afford to live in Tellico Village unless they earned their golden nest egg from illegal sources. My "illegal source" was the United States Air Force, and the net profit from selling my previous house, along with a hefty mortgage of Federal Reserve Bank Corporation's countefeit digits typed on paper. Good ole Rightmeyer lived in a pricy house parked beside the golf course. Did Sterling Owen revel in the local Roundup? So Chief Owen's double-dipped membership in the FBI Club is not a guarantee of honesty, integrity, nor rightousness.
For Chief Owen to survive the FBI demanded that he look the other way when his superiors perped crimes, including the terrorist massacres on September 11, 2001 in New York City, Boston, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC ("District of Criminals"). Whistleblowers are never tolerated at FBI.
The most vehement supporter of Robocops was Barbara "Babs" Pelot, the token little old lady on City Council. Pelot shamelessly used her crippled daughter as an example of what happens when Robocops are not stalking the public on every streetcorner. Pelot ignored all government testimony that merely adding 1.5-seconds to a yellow traffic light would probably have prevented her divorced daughter's disability. Pelot cared not that her vote will result in murder and mahem that always follows installation of red-light spy cameras, according to University of Virginia's analysis of dozens of intersections in Virginia. Perhaps Pelot wants to finish her daughter off? Is Pelot suicidal?
Ironically, this Council meeting began with a "prayor" by Pelot, who is in love with 4-time-convicted-felon Nazi Satan-worshipper and treasonous mass-murdering drug-addicted alcoholic homosexual adulterous illiterate terrorist Georgie Bush Junior. Mrs. Pelot prayed for forgiveness, er, "thankfulness", that USA genocided 1.6-million Iraqi Muslims and Iraqi Christians, genocided 30,000 US soldiers and disabled 512,000 US soldiers in Gulf Oil Wars, arrested and tortured Iraq's president and thousands of government employees ("decapitating" the Iraqi government), then crammed "democracy" down the throats of the survivors, with the first "elections" the previous Sunday (the first workday of the week in Christian, Jewish and Islamic Bibles). Both Bush Junior and Pelot love "elections" where 44 voters were massacred at the polls, where polling stations were declared Top Secret until election day (in five out of 18 governates, Iraqi polling stations were banned by the US government), where CNN made a big deal that ONLY ONE voter dared vote at one big-city polling station, where the names of the candidates were declared Top Secret, and where military police checkpoints routinely shoot-to-kill innocent families. This is only slightly more security than at City County Building, which now requires "airport security" searches before entering the City Council meeting.
During Pelot's hideous prayor to her god, I prayed for God to keep the evil off of me. (Knoxville City Council member Carlene Malone: "On city council [with Nazi Skull & Bones and Satanic Bohemian Grove mayor Victor Ashe], I was in the presence of evil." Victor Ashe in City Council: "You'll pay any tax increase I tell you to pay! You can afford it!")
Other resolutions voted on by Council included $3,000/month pensions for Knoxville Fire Department (KFD) employees, and $150/month pensions for Knoxville's school teachers. KFD's representative to Council explained that he had not bothered to check with Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB) on ways to prevent churches and government contractors' buildings routinely burning down due to rusty fire hydrants that cannot be used during an emergency. Council did nothing to hold KFD's feet to the fire, to take responsibility for hydrant inspections away from KUB, which inspects the hydrants every 6 years (if lucky), and do its own inspections yearly, as complied with by Maryville Fire Department. Council's predatory annexation-without-representation of Knox County continued unabated, to double-tax the over-taxed public, with "no improvement in services" (actually, a severe degradation in services).
The bottom line is that City Council's decision to pass this ordinance was obviously pre-ordained long before the public was given a heads-up by media lapdogs, with the mandatory first and second readings. Before the "public readings", a law must already be written in secret meetings. Formal Council meetings merely attempt to "build consensus" for a Shadow Government to promote its Communist Police State to a "free society". Such is the decapitated state of "democracy" in NOxVile Municipal Corporation.
The Laws that Knoxville Department of Engineering illegally ignores in order to intentionally, maliciously, and recklessly enganger the taxpayers
Engineering Department illegally refuses John Lee's formal demand to install street name sign for "FIRE STREET", location of Knoxville's first and only historic Fire Station, which is a violation of Fire Code since it prevented fire department personnel from locating a fire in Fowler Building (aka The Phoenix) which was destroyed in a Towering Inferno "accidentally" arsoned by billionaire fire-prone city contractor Denark-Smith!
Manual on Uniform Traffic
Control Devices (2003 Edition)
The responsibility for the design, placement, operation, maintenance, and uniformity of traffic control devices shall rest with the public agency or the official having jurisdiction. 23 CFR 655.603 adopts the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices as the national standard for all traffic control devices installed on any street, highway, or bicycle trail open to public travel. When a State or other Federal agency manual or supplement is required, that manual or supplement shall be in substantial conformance with the national Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
23 CFR 655.603 also states that traffic control devices on all streets and highways open to public travel in each State shall be in substantial conformance with standards issued or endorsed by the Federal Highway Administrator.
The "Uniform Vehicle Code" (see Section 1A.11) has the following provision in Section 15-104 for the adoption of a uniform Manual:
"(a)The [State Highway Agency] shall adopt a manual and specification for a uniform system of traffic control devices consistent with the provisions of this code for use upon highways within this State. Such uniform system shall correlate with and so far as possible conform to the system set forth in the most recent edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways, and other standards issued or endorsed by the Federal Highway Administrator."
"(b) The Manual adopted pursuant to subsection (a) shall have the force and effect of law."
Section 1A.13 Definitions of Words and Phrases in This Manual
The following words and phrases, when used in this Manual, shall have the following meanings:
26. Engineering Study—the comprehensive analysis and evaluation of available pertinent information, and the application of appropriate principles, Standards, Guidance, and practices as contained in this Manual and other sources, for the purpose of deciding upon the applicability, design, operation, or installation of a traffic control device. An engineering study shall be performed by an engineer, or by an individual working under the supervision of an engineer, through the application of procedures and criteria established by the engineer. An engineering study shall be documented.
79. Speed—speed is defined based on the following classifications:
d. 85th-Percentile Speed—The speed at or below which 85 percent of the motor vehicles travel.
95. Warrant—a warrant describes threshold conditions to the engineer in evaluating the potential safety and operational benefits of traffic control devices and is based upon average or normal conditions. Warrants are not a substitute for engineering judgment. The fact that a warrant for a particular traffic control device is met is not conclusive justification for the installation of the device.
Traffic control signals are often considered a panacea for all traffic problems at intersections. This belief has led to traffic control signals being installed at many locations where they are not needed, adversely affecting the safety and efficiency of vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic.
Traffic control signals, even when justified by traffic and roadway conditions, can be ill-designed, ineffectively placed, improperly operated, or poorly maintained. Improper or unjustified traffic control signals can result in one or more of the following disadvantages:
An engineering study of traffic conditions, pedestrian characteristics, and physical characteristics of the location shall be performed to determine whether installation of a traffic control signal is justified at a particular location.
The investigation of the need for a traffic control signal shall include an analysis of the applicable factors contained in the following traffic signal warrants and other factors related to existing operation and safety at the study location:
Warrant 1, Eight-Hour Vehicular Volume.
The satisfaction of a traffic signal warrant or warrants shall not in itself require the installation of a traffic control signal.
A traffic control signal should not be
installed unless one or more of the factors described in this Chapter are
A traffic control signal should not be installed unless an
engineering study indicates that installing a traffic control signal will
improve the overall safety and/or operation of the intersection.
A traffic control signal should not be installed if it will
seriously disrupt progressive traffic flow.
A traffic control signal should not be installed unless an engineering study indicates that installing a traffic control signal will improve the overall safety and/or operation of the intersection.
A traffic control signal should not be installed if it will seriously disrupt progressive traffic flow.
Engineering study data may include the following:
A. The number of vehicles entering the intersection in each hour from each approach during 12 hours of an average day. It is desirable that the hours selected contain the greatest percentage of the 24-hour traffic volume.
B. Vehicular volumes for each traffic movement from each approach, classified by vehicle type (heavy trucks, passenger cars and light trucks, public-transit vehicles, and, in some locations, bicycles), during each 15-minute period of the 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon during which total traffic entering the intersection is greatest.
C. Pedestrian volume counts on each crosswalk during the same periods as the vehicular counts in Item B above and during hours of highest pedestrian volume. Where young, elderly, and/or persons with physical or visual disabilities need special consideration, the pedestrians and their crossing times may be classified by general observation.
D. Information about nearby facilities and activity centers that serve the young, elderly, and/or persons with disabilities, including requests from persons with disabilities for accessible crossing improvements at the location under study. These persons might not be adequately reflected in the pedestrian volume count if the absence of a signal restrains their mobility.
E. The posted or statutory speed limit or the 85th-percentile speed on the uncontrolled approaches to the location.
F. A condition diagram showing details of the physical layout, including such features as intersection geometrics, channelization, grades, sight-distance restrictions, transit stops and routes, parking conditions, pavement markings, roadway lighting, driveways, nearby railroad crossings, distance to nearest traffic control signals, utility poles and fixtures, and adjacent land use.
G. A collision diagram showing crash experience by type, location, direction of movement, severity, weather, time of day, date, and day of week for at least 1 year.
Click link for complete text
PUBLIC COMMENTS ON PROPOSED ORDINANCE
TO: City Council
FROM: John Lee
5-MINUTE TIME LIMIT
My name is John Lee.
There are free methods to improve safety at intersections, such as increasing the time delay of Yellow Lights. During periods of low traffic flow, traffic light timers can be turned off, with only flashing yellow or flashing red lights displayed. This also reduces air pollution.
Traffic Circles can replace expensive traffic lights and replace Stop Signs, allowing traffic to flow safely through intersections from all directions without stopping, and they are immune to power failures.
In US Congress, Majority Leader Richard Armey objected to this tax increase in his report titled, Red Light Camera Scam. The Congressman reported that it is safer to simply increase the time delay of Yellow Lights, which reduces crashes by 75%, for free. California reported a 96% reduction in crashes by simply adding 1.5 seconds to each Yellow Light. But when robot cameras are installed, the temptation is to illegally shorten the timing of Yellow Lights by 30%, without a mandatory traffic engineering survey.
In Washington DC, this traffic-camera scam defrauds the public of $15-million per year. Yet DC police were busted for hiring convicted felons as police officers, stealing thousands of legally parked cars, and not bothering to discover the names of homicide victims, much less investigate the murders, in the Murder Capital of the U.S..
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that Traffic-Light cameras double the number of crashes, especially rear-end crashes. Rear-end crashes can be deadly, since that is where the fuel tank is located.
Superbike magazine reported that red-light camera machines actually ticket drivers who are already stopped at traffic lights, or targets drivers after a light turns green.
Purchasing robotic spy cameras will require an increase in federal taxes, and require an increase in local taxes to operate them. This tax increase will affect families in surrounding counties that commute through Knoxville. KPD already prosecutes 125,000 misdemeanor citations every year, in a city of only 160,000 residents.
According to attorneys, prosecutors, judges and members of Congress, these new ordinances by City Council are dangerous, illegal, will be overturned on appeal, will result in class action lawsuits, and can subject city employees to criminal prosecution. There is no provision in Tennessee Code to allow traffic citations issued by robot spy cameras.
It is illegal for any government to sue people for traffic citations without a sworn affidavit from an eyewitness willing to testify in court, or without proper service of process, according to Tennessee Code and Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, that apply to all appeals from City Court. According to Tennessee city attorney and city court judge Dan Alexander, it is illegal to sue a traffic citation without first identifying the driver of the vehicle.
According to attorney Jes Beard in Chattanooga, the easiest defense to a photo-traffic ticket is to simply throw the traffic ticket away and ignore it, since these complaints lack service of process.
Private contractors will mail out these automated traffic citations, without an attorney signing its name to certify to its legality. In other cities adopting this fraudulent system, Lockheed Martin and other military contractors set up their own unconstitutional court system, where government judges and court-clerk lawyers are not involved. According to attorney Ed Fowlkes, this is a criminal offense under Tennessee Code, of Unauthorized Practice of Law, and operating a business without a license to practice law.
KPD sues 125,000 annual misdemeanor citations in City Court every year, without any accountability for those revenues, thanks to its illegal Top Secret court docket, in violation of the Tennessee Open Records Act and other statutes. Its former court clerk was fired for embezzlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars in missing court revenues, but his confessed theft and extortion of court employees bonus commission paychecks was acceptable to Judge John Rossen and the Law Director, as reported by Knoxville News Sentinel.
All traffic citations use Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure for appeals, not the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure, yet Knoxville City Court illegally demands defendants plead guilty or not guilty, which is impossible in civil cases, thus defrauding the public 125,000 times every year. This is a definition of Racketeering and Organized Crime under state and federal RICO Acts.
All camera tickets are frivolous lawsuits, and can result in court sanctions against City of Knoxville and its attorneys, to include award of attorney fees to defendants, and arrest of the Law Director for criminal contempt of court, as allowed in all civil lawsuits.
In Las Vegas, Nevada, FBI agents prosecuted county commissioners as terrorists under the U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act for accepting bribes, in return for granting parking permits. Metro Police in Nashville routinely prosecute parking tickets as violations of the Tennessee Homeland Security Act, accusing all defendants of parking tickets of being terrorists. US Department of Homeland Security employs a former head of Communist Russias KGB, and a former head of Communist East Germanys Stasi secret police. Centralization of the means of transportation in the hands of the State, is the 6th Plank of the Communist Manifesto.
Council's proposed ordinance will further empower a Police State, as Congressman Ron Paul called traffic citations in Congress. I urge Council to vote against this ordinance.
Or, in the alternative, I propose my own amendment to the ordinance, and for Council to delay this vote until a Tennessee Attorney General Opinion can be written on this issue.
[Loud applause from crowd in Main Assembly Hall]
PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO ORDINANCE:
by John Lee
ATTACHMENTS TO OBJECTION:
From report from former House Majority Leader Richard "Dick"
There's a hidden tax being levied on motorists today.
In theory, this tax is only levied on those who violate the law and put others in danger. But the reality is that the game has been rigged. And we're all at risk.
We are told to accept the idea that our laws should be administered by machines-not human beings-because it is a matter of safety. We must accept this expansion of government and this Orwellian threat to our privacy because cameras are the solution to the so-called red light running crisis.
This is a federal issue, not just a local one. The federal government is promoting and offering funding for this "solution", because the safety benefits are supposed to be indisputable.
After all, who's going to object? Nobody likes a red light runner. They endanger themselves and others. They must be penalized.
But why have so many people become wanton red light runners all of a sudden? The answer seems to be that changes made to accommodate camera enforcement have produced yellow light times that, in many cases, are shortened to the point that they are inadequate. And when people come upon an intersection with inadequate yellow time, they are faced with the choice either of stopping abruptly on yellow (risking a rear end accident) or accelerating. The options for those confronting such circumstances are limited and unsafe. But each time a driver faces this dilemma, government increases its odds for hitting the jackpot.
This report suggests there is something that can be done to address this hazard. It cites examples of problem intersections where yellow times have been raised by about 30 percent and the number of people entering on red fell dramatically. It cites, in addition, controlled scientific studies that confirm the hypothesis that longer yellows are better. The following reductions in red light entries are documented:
Mesa, Arizona 73%
It is no coincidence that each of the "problem" intersections mentioned above happened to have yellow times that fell short by about 30 percent. Today's formula for calculating yellow times yields yellow times that can in some cases be about 30 percent shorter than the older formula.
And one should ask the question, if there's a problem with an intersection, why don't safety engineers in the field just go out and fix the timing?
In fact, before red light cameras arrived in the United States, that's exactly what our regulations instructed them to do. If too many people enter on red at an intersection, engineers were supposed to lengthen its yellow time. But in the year that red light cameras first started collecting millions in revenue on our shores, those entrusted with developing our traffic safety regulations dropped the requirement to fix signal timing, instructing engineers to "use enforcement" instead.
Indeed, according to the Federal Highway Administration, these problem intersections serve as a great location to hold a press conference. The agency offers a script for local officials to exploit a tragically mistimed intersection to call for the installation of additional red light cameras and tout their safety benefits.
But none of the reports that are supposed to tell us that red light cameras are responsible safety benefits actually say that. First, they dismiss increases in rear-end collisions associated with red light cameras as "non-significant," despite evidence to the contrary. Second, they do not actually look at red light intersection accidents. The latest accident study in Oxnard, California, for example, only documents accident reductions "associated with"-not caused by-red light cameras. Although that statement has little scientific value, it does have great marketing appeal if you don't look too closely.
Every study claiming red light cameras increase safety is written by the same man. Before joining the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), he was a top transportation official in New York City at the time the city began looking into becoming the first jurisdiction in the country to install red light cameras. In other words, the father of the red light camera in America is the same individual offering the "objective" testimony that they are effective.
A similar conflict of interest affects those entrusted with writing safety regulations for our traffic lights. The Institute of Transportation Engineers is actively involved in lobbying for, and even drafting legislation to implement, red light cameras. They are closely tied to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which in turn is funded by companies that stand to profit handsomely any time points are assessed to a driver's license.
In short, the only documented benefit to red light cameras is to the pocketbook of local governments who use the devices to collect millions in revenue.
We traded away our privacy for this. We gave up our constitutional protections for this. In return, we are less safe. That is the red light camera scam, and it has gone on for far too long.
See 25-page PDF report by Congressman Armey, handed to John Lee by Knoxville City Council, titled, "The Red Light Running Crisis: Is It Intentional?"
California Senate Hearing Testimony
I want to thank the committee for inviting me to testify today on photo and other electronic enforcement technologies, from a traffic safety and engineering perspective.
What has been lost in the public uproar and debate is the basic fact that for a red light camera or a photo radar speed enforcement system to be viable, there must be an underlying traffic safety engineering deficiency. At every location that we have examined to date, without exception, this has been the case.
Traffic signals and speed limit signs are federally regulated devices whose use is regulated under Title 23 of the US code.
This law is called the Highway Safety Act of 1966. Title 23 and its designated Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) is where its statutory requirements are articulated. It was specifically passed to provide uniform and rational traffic control devices based on sound engineering principles, versus political conjecture and arbitrary standards. Its other central charter mandate is that all traffic control in the nation be equally applied under one standard. With each device having a like design, application and placement regardless of state lines or jurisdiction; a system where the motorist is given a single uniform national appearance, meaning and expectation.
Traffic Engineers are licensed professionals; accordingly, they have professional standards they must follow. Further, under the statutory requirements of federal law, they are also required to apply nationally accepted practices as recognized by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), FHWA et al. Not personal opinion or local practice.
Under engineering practices and mandated compliance with accepted national standards there is a professional legal requirement to address a wrong. It is called Notice of Defect.
Traffic Control Devices Handbook, 1983, FHWA, "Notice of Defect "An agency has a duty to correct a dangerous condition when that agency has actual or "constructive" notice of the hazard.
Heres how the engineering profession expressed it in another way as long ago as 1930. Large numbers of violators indicates an engineering failure rather than an unsafe and out of control public. Here is the 1989 FHWA document that cited the relevant 1930 quote.
"Motorist Compliance With Standard Traffic Control Devices" Publication No. FHWA-RD-89-103 US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration
"The compliance situation was summarized in a Highway Research Board paper presented by Burton Marsh in 1930 [Marsh, B. (1930). "Law Observance and Enforcement methods", from Highway Research Board Proceedings. V.10, Washington, D.C.]:
"The status of traffic law observance in any community is definitely related to a number of ... factors. Important among these factors are:
1. Reasonableness of traffic rules and regulations. It is well known that good observance can only be expected for regulations which are generally deemed sensible, necessary and reasonable. They should also be as simple and as few in number as possible. The Uniform Vehicle Code and the Model Traffic Ordinance constitute valuable guides to states and municipalities in setting up reasonable regulations.
2. Effective and sensible signs, signals and markings, wisely used.
3. Adequate public understanding and appreciation of traffic regulations, of the reasons for them, of the results to be accomplished, and of methods of proper observance.
4. Uniform, impartial and business-like enforcement.
To enforce traffic laws is to compel obedience of them. The fact that so much compulsion seems necessary is a clear indication of serious deficiency in one or more of the first three factors presented above. Thus, although enforcement should only be necessary for a small perverse minority, it is all too much invoked for large proportions ... The really needed steps to reduce violations are the effective promulgation of reasonable regulations and the education of the public as to the saneness, necessity and value of them and as to how the individual is expected to act in compliance with the said laws."
These words are still true today. In general, motorists noncompliance is indicative of a problem. The problem may be due to some failing on the part of the traffic engineers or the lack of understanding of the driver, but seldom is the problem a wanton disregard of the law by the motoring public. In light of this and the other conclusions reached, the following recommendations are made."
Electronic enforcement measures are extreme and costly measures. If there are documented large enough numbers of violators to deploy these extreme measures, it is prima facie evidence that a significant Notice of Defect exists at that location. And it is the duty of the traffic engineer to employ all the tools and procedures available to correct this problem first. In most cases, a few hours of time can completely correct the problem with no additional cost.
In reality, the opposite has been found to be true at camera location, in all cases where we have examined cameras installations, these prescribed countermeasures have not been implemented. In fact, the vendors have included in many of their contracts, stipulations to prevent safety countermeasures to assure the profitability of these systems. Moreover, the overwhelming majority of red light camera locations are chosen because of their high volumes of traffic, despite the fact that they have low accident rates, to maximize returns.
The same goes for Photo Radar. It too is always deployed in a manner to maximize revenue, taking advantage of grossly under posted limits and issuing citations to motorists who on the whole are in fact driving safe for conditions.
No matter how noble a press release is on the safety benefits of these systems, in the end, each and every participating city has turned its poor engineering practices into a for profit enterprise. As a tragic consequence, many people continue to be injured or killed unnecessarily while the city profits from its inaction.
For your review, I will give short explanations of why these practices provide no legal protection to those that are victims of the revenue programs and how this makes our roads less safe. What practices can correct this problem and what legislative action could protect citizens from the improper use of police powers for revenue, at the expense of safety.
1. First and foremost, how did the exploitation of engineering deficiencies become accepted practice? Is there a standard that must be met?
California in effect has no state standards to be met on yellow interval timing. Worse yet, the California Traffic Manuals signal timing chart is a truncated yellow timing practice thesis proposed primarily by the camera proponents. The ITE to date has refused to say how this became an accepted practices without the required efficacy research and verification process. Why is this important? Because ITE practices have been adopted by reference in the National MUTCD. A standard that requires by law, all adopted practices to go through efficacy research and a verification process prior to acceptance.
Further, in terms of guidance the California Manual offers recommendations that are advisory only. No matter how egregious the local practice is there is no legal standard to be met. This is in essence what the Court ruled in San Diego in regards to yellow timing intervals. Inadequate yellow intervals clearly too short for the conditions were found legal.
There are governing professional and federal standards. However, there are no review procedures to police unsafe practices, nor are federal statutory requirements enforced at this level. Therefore, as in the San Diego case, the engineers professional negligence wasnt ruled on - the violations of their professional license and federal MUTCD statutory requirements. An act of premeditated negligence! Why? Because the city not only did not correct the timing deficiencies discovered in the selection process, they in fact went so far as to shorten 3 intersections timing to the shortest allowable under law concurrent with the camera installations. Why? To facilitate his employers desire to institute a program where they could assess tens of millions of dollars in fines from unsafe practice and uncorrected engineering deficiencies.
2. The object is to reduce entries on red, thereby reducing accidents. What is the most accepted practice and how does this compare to the practices deployed at camera installations?
What are the prescribed procedures in setting yellow interval timing? First is an engineering study determining the freeflowing approach speeds of the through traffic. Once determined, the minimum starting point is the indicated yellow interval timing value from the ITE table or timing formula. The last verified practice is found in the 1976 ITE Handbook. These 1976 adopted practice were the culmination of 10 years of field verification of practice to create a uniform national practice.
Next is a quality control check where the engineer checks 10 cycles to count entries on red. This check should be done during peak use periods. If there are 1 or more entries on red during the 10 cycles they should lengthen the yellow interval at least another half second and repeat the process until entries are less than 1 per 10 cycles. Ideally there should be no entries on red through 20 cycles. If the engineer feels they prefer a shorter yellow interval, they can reduce it and check again. The analogy would be an optometrist who says, which is better until it is right. The yellow cannot exceed 6 seconds. This procedure assures that signal timing properly facilitates traffic for the conditions found at that intersection.
This prescribed engineering procedure when applied at several red light camera intersections, reduced entries on red as much as 96 percent. A second or second and half increase in yellow interval timing has reduced the worst red light running intersections to ones that issue less than one citation per day. In San Diego a simple timing adjustment reduced violations at one intersection from 2,262 per month to 205 per month.
Looking at it another way, this one camera to date was essentially able to pilfer in excess of 4 million dollars from the public. This doesnt begin to address the additional grief in time lost, increased insurance premiums and cost these citations created for the victims of this scam.
From a safety perspective, because of the cameras, the city claimed this was a much safer intersection. Clearly a false claim, because cross traffic was being given a green light, when 25,000 thousand known entries a year on red were occurring by design. At the citys most profitable intersection where they had shortened the yellow to its legal minimum (3 seconds), they were causing an estimated 40,000 entries a year on red by design purely for financial gain. 40,000 at just one intersection! A very unsafe practice!
This example shows why camera safety proponents and vendors have a dichotomy of purpose here and they make our highways less safe. For intersections, the safety problem here is entries on red. Camera operation incentives are misplaced and promote unsafe practices. For cameras to be financially viable the vendors demand high levels of known entries to exist prior to installation. These same proponents repulse at the thought of adjusting timing with prescribed quality control checks that reduce entries on red.
The oftenquoted Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) in its much heralded poster child for camera safety, it didnt actually study the Oxnard camera locations. Further, revelations from IIHS show that they may be in fact, a lead cause in the nations redlight running crisis and the associated high fatal accidents. They take credit for spearheading the movement to shorten yellows causing more entries on red (collisions). This movement that undermined sound engineering practices, benefits its benefactors, the red light camera makers and the citation industry. Approximately 25 percent of this groups sponsors income comes from citation surcharges..
Ironically, another insurance group (AAA) took another approach to intersection safety. In a Michigan test, they fixed the engineering deficiencies found without fanfare or public notice. By applying sound prescribed practices (verified 1976 ITE practice), over the course of the study they were able to document a greater than 50 percent reduction in intersection accidents. No money to made, just safer highways.
3. Some advocate that we should make all yellows the same. What research has been done in that area?
The conclusions of this research are human behavior and the findings are quite interesting from a safety engineering perspective. Number 3 may be the ultimate answer to red light cameras too. One could simply make the following the standard for red light camera intersections!
Driver Response to Amber Phase of Traffic Signals, Paul L. Olson and Richard Rothery, Respectively, Senior Research Psychologist and Physicist, Research Laboratories, General Motors Corporation, Warren, MI
However, from these data the following conclusions can be drawn:
1. Driver behavior does not seem to change as a function of different amber phase durations.
2. The amber phases observed are too short as measured either by a criterion of driver behavior or a dilemma zone.
3. A constant amber phase of about 5.50 secs would be practical for a wide range of speed zones, with possible variations made to allow for extra wide cross-streets.
3. In regards to photo radar enforcement. Again for a camera to be productive it needs large number of violators to be viable. How does this compare with engineering practices and actual camera installations? Are Californians protected from abuse by its Speed Trap law?
No, theyre not protected by the Speed trap laws per say. In 1997 a NMA member came to us for help with a photo radar citation issued in the City of Oakland. Upon review it was found that it was placing these cameras at locations where the studies clearly did not support the posted limits. In fact, this motorist was cited for traveling at the speed the study had found to be the safest. Because this misuse was clearly documented, the Oakland Court refused to process any more photo radar citations. The law worked at great expense, but the thousands before her were not refunded their money!
The per say qualifier? This posting violation by the City of Oakland was not an isolated incident. In case after case I have found traffic engineering studies in California being falsified or done using unauthorized procedures. This includes Caltrans studies where clear violations of accepted practice have been used to reverse engineer a legal finding that is not representative of the sites conditions as found. In some cases, they have not published findings, thereby denying a defense for those caught in these known speed traps. At others, they have not done new studies to allow the old ones to expire, so the lower statutory 55 could be posted. I would be happy to elaborate on this if the committee desires it.
Further, the California Traffic Manual engineering study procedures do not assure an unbiased finding of fact as the starting point. Its requirements assure the opposite, and it is ripe for misuse and more often than not it is misused. Again, Im more than happy to elaborate. It provides the appearance of protection, while in fact it offers little. Worse yet, there are many examples where these practices have caused highrisk practices to be institutionalized.
To close on photo enforcement, the press just reported on the first 10 days of photo radar in Washington DC. The police were supplied five $100,000 police cruiser equipped with the latest in photo radar technology. These vehicles were supplied at no charge in exchange for a piece of the action on the citations issued. The Chief of the DC police department was counting on (already spending) the additional millions these citations were to generate.
The Police Chief is disappointed with the early returns. Why? Because the five patrol vehicles have only been able to successfully issue 15,000 citations in the first 10 days A significant shortfall of their hoped for rate of 80,000 speed citations a month from this 5 car squad a million citations a year in DC?
The Washington Times expressed it differently.
Translated: The camera vendor convinced the Police Chief of DC, that in addition to the 12 million dollars a year the red light cameras added to the citys coffers with these 5 new patrol vehicle he could issue an additional million speeding citations a year in a community the size of Sacramento metro area. Part of this strategy included stationing the camera cars on the highways to catch those passing through the district. They created a Speed Trap that even a writer of fiction would have not dared to propose. But this isnt fiction its real!
Lets take a look at what it means on a much-reduced scale, Small City USA. In a rare act of candor in todays world, a police chief explained to the City Council why automated cameras where not a good idea for their town. The conspicuous fact in this exchange, the subject is money and public tolerance to what levels fines can be extracted, not safety!
Tigard puts brakes on idea of photo radar for speeders
TIGARD -- The city, which had planned to catch speeders with photo radar, says it will not proceed with the proposal.
In documents submitted to the City Council, Police Chief Ron Goodpaster said that in order for the program to pay for itself, the city would need a dramatic increase in the monthly number of speeding tickets it issues, from about 1,900 to 7,000.
I am very concerned about the public tolerance and reaction of more than doubling the number of speeding citations we issue and the ability for the program to pay for itself, he wrote.
There are enough documented abuses here to write a book. We have a stated national crisis, and those charged with correcting it, have in fact compounded the problem by adopting practices that guarantee more entries on red (read caused accidents) in exchange for money.
In no case when examined, have cameras been used to enhance safety. In every case, their use has immediately digressed into one of revenue generation at the expense of safety. In fact as with San Diego, at one intersection alone the city by design caused up to 40,000 motorists each year to enter on red, after the city had given the green light to cross traffic.
A sad commentary indeed on how money has truly corrupted the process.
Suggested Components of a Red Light Camera Law:
Chad Dornsife, Founder
by Attorney Norman G. Fernandez
Jes Beard, attorney at law
Photo radar is basically a computer system hooked up to a radar speed gun, with a camera attached. What happens is when the radar gun detects a certain speed the computer triggers the camera to take a picture of the front and rear of the vehicle aiming at the license plate and the driver. Afterwards, the citation is written up and mailed to the driver at their registered address. Its all very neat and simple for the law enforcement agency. However, it is extremely easy to beat this type of ticket in court. Your easiest defense is to simply throw the ticket away. If it does not come with a return receipt that requires a signature, there is no proof that you actually got the ticket and they cannot prosecute you on that. What the legal system wants you to do is just send in the fine and not ask any questions. This can be a big money maker for some communities.
One other form of defense to utilize on your behalf is the fact that when you are accused in court you must be faced by your accuser. Obviously the computer cannot appear in court as a defense method for the prosecution. Also, you do not have to identify yourself as the driver of the vehicle because it would violate your sixth amendment rights against self incrimination.
Statistics show that most of the radar photo pictures are not legible because either the license number cannot be clearly read, or the make and/or model cannot easily be determined, and the driver is obstructed and therefore cannot be identified. The photo radar speeding ticket is one of the easiest to defend against, most cities and states have abandoned the system all together.
Spy Camera Traffic Citations violate Knoxville Code of Ordinances
Sec. 8-1. Issuance of process.
The city judge shall issue process on the complaint of any person when it appears to the city judge that any provision of this Code or other ordinance of the city has been violated. He shall try no case until process has been regularly sued out, served and returned.
(Code 1962, § 13-100)
Spy Camera Traffic Citations violate state law
TRCP Rule 3. Commencement of Action
Other than constitutional requirements that a summons “run in the name of the State of Tennessee and bear test[e] and be signed by the respective clerks,”Tenn. Const. Art. 6, §?12, and the requirements outlined in T.R.Civ.P. 4.02 and T.C.A. §?20-2-103 & 26-2-114, there is no officially prescribed form for a summons. In an effort to achieve some uniformity of practice, the Commission recommends the following format:
STATE OF TENNESSEE
THE ____ COURT FOR ____ COUNTY
To the above-named defendant(s):
You are hereby summoned and required to serve upon _______, plaintiff?'s attorney, whose address is _______, an answer to the complaint herewith served upon you within 30 days after service of this summons and complaint upon you, exclusive of the day of service. If you fail to do so, judgment by default can be taken against you for the relief demanded in the complaint.
Issued and tested this _____ day of _____, 19___.
To the defendant(s):
Tennessee law provides a four thousand dollar ($4,000) personal property exemption from execution or seizure to satisfy a judgment. If a judgment should be entered against you in this action and you wish to claim property as exempt, you must file a written list, under oath, of the items you wish to claim as exempt with the clerk of the court. The list may be filed at any time and may be changed by you thereafter as necessary; however, unless it is filed before the judgment becomes final, it will not be effective as to any execution or garnishment issued prior to the filing of the list. Certain items are automatically exempt by law and do not need to be listed; these include items of necessary wearing apparel for yourself and your family and trunks or other receptacles necessary to contain such apparel, family portraits, the family Bible, and school books. Should any of these items be seized, you would have the right to recover them. If you do not understand your exemption right or how to exercise it, you may wish to seek the counsel of a lawyer.
To the process server: Defendant _________ can be served at _____________________.
I received this summons on the _____ day of _____, 19___.
I hereby certify and return that on the _____ day of _____, 19___, I:
[ ] served this summons and a complaint on defendant _______ in the
[ ] failed to serve this summons within 30 days after its issuance
TRCP RULE 4 - PROCESS
4.01. Summons; Issuance; By Whom Served — (1) Upon the filing of the complaint the clerk of the court wherein the complaint is filed shall forthwith issue the required summons and cause it, with necessary copies of the complaint and summons, to be delivered for service to any person authorized to serve process. This person shall serve the summons, and the return indorsed thereon shall be proof of the time and manner of service. A summons may be issued for service in any county against any defendant, and separate or additional summonses may be issued against any defendant upon request of plaintiff. Nothing in this rule shall affect existing laws with respect to venue.
(2)A summons and complaint may be served by any person who is not a party and is not less than 18 years of age. The process server must be identified by name and address on the return.
(3) If a plaintiff or counsel for plaintiff (including third-party plaintiffs) intentionally causes delay of prompt issuance of a summons or prompt service of a summons, filing of the complaint (or third-party complaint) is ineffective. [Amended by order filed December 10, 2003; effective July 1, 2004.]
4.02. Summons; Form — The summons shall be issued in the name of the State of Tennessee, be dated and signed by the clerk, contain the name of the court and county, the title of the action, and the file number. The summons shall be directed to the defendant, shall state the time within which these rules require the defendant to appear and defend, and shall notify the defendant that in case of his or her failure to do so judgment by default will be rendered against that defendant for the relief demanded in the complaint. The summons shall state the name and address of the plaintiff?'s attorney, if any; otherwise, it shall state the plaintiff?'s address.
4.03. Summons; Return — (1) The person serving the summons shall promptly make proof of service to the court and shall identify the person served and shall describe the manner of service. If a summons is not served within thirty (30) days after its issuance, it shall be returned with the reasons for the failure to serve stated thereon. The plaintiff may obtain new summonses from time to time, as provided in Rule 3, after any prior summons has been returned unserved, or in the event that such prior summons has not been returned within thirty (30) days after its issuance.
(2)When process is served by mail, the original summons, endorsed as below; an affidavit of the person making service setting forth the person's compliance with the requirements of this rule; and, the return receipt shall be sent to and filed by the clerk. The person making service shall endorse over his or her signature on the original summons the date of mailing a certified copy of the summons and a copy of the complaint to the defendant and the date of receipt of return receipt from the defendant. If the return receipt is signed by the defendant, or by person designated by Rule 4.04 or by statute, service on the defendant shall be complete. If not, service by mail may be attempted again or other methods authorized by these rules or by statute may be used.
4.04. Service Upon Defendants within the State — The plaintiff shall furnish the person making the service with such copies of the summons and complaint as are necessary. Service shall be made as follows:
(1)Upon an individual other than an unmarried infant or an incompetent person, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the individual personally, or if he or she evades or attempts to evade service, by leaving copies thereof at the individual's dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein, whose name shall appear on the proof of service, or by delivering the copies to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service on behalf of the individual served.
(2)Upon an unmarried infant or an incompetent person, by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to the person's residence guardian or conservator if there is one known to the plaintiff; or if no guardian or conservator is known, by delivering the copies to the individual's parent having custody within this state; or if no such parent is within this state, then by delivering the copies to the person within this state having control of the individual. If none of the persons defined and enumerated above exist, the court shall appoint a practicing attorney as guardian ad litem to whom the copies shall be delivered. If any of the persons directed by this paragraph to be served is a plaintiff, then the person who is not a plaintiff who stands next in the order named above shall be served. In addition to the service provided in this paragraph, service shall also be made on an unmarried infant who is fourteen (14) years of age or more, and who is not otherwise incompetent.
(3)Upon a partnership or unincorporated association (including a limited liability company) which is named defendant under a common name, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to a partner or managing agent of the partnership or to an officer or managing agent of the association, or to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service on behalf of the partnership or association.
(4)Upon a domestic corporation, or a foreign corporation doing business in this state, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to an officer or managing agent thereof, or to the chief agent in the county wherein the action is brought, or by delivering the copies to any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service on behalf of the corporation.
(5)Upon a nonresident individual who transacts business through an office or agency in this state, or a resident individual who transacts business through an office or agency in a county other than the county in which the resident individual resides, in any action growing out of or connected with the business of that office or agency, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the person in charge of the office or agency.
(6)Upon the state of Tennessee or any agency thereof, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the attorney general of the state or to any assistant attorney general.
(7)Upon a county, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the chief executive officer of the county, or if absent from the county, to the county attorney if there is one designated; if not, by delivering the copies to the county court clerk.
(8)Upon a municipality, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the chief executive officer thereof, or to the city attorney.
(9)Upon any other governmental or any quasi-government entity, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to any officer or managing agent thereof.
(10) Service by mail of a summons and complaint upon a defendant may be made by the plaintiff, the plaintiff's attorney or by any person authorized by statute. After the complaint is filed, the clerk shall, upon request, furnish the original summons, a certified copy thereof and a copy of the filed complaint to the plaintiff, the plaintiff's attorney or other authorized person for service by mail. Such person shall send, postage prepaid, a certified copy of the summons and a copy of the complaint by registered return receipt or certified return receipt mail to the defendant. If the defendant to be served is an individual or entity covered by subparagraph (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), or (9) of this rule, the return receipt mail shall be addressed to an individual specified in the applicable subparagraph. The original summons shall be used for return of service of process pursuant to Rule 4.03(2). Service by mail shall not be the basis for the entry of a judgment by default unless the record contains a return receipt showing personal acceptance by the defendant or by persons designated by Rule 4.04 or statute. If service by mail is unsuccessful, it may be tried again or other methods authorized by these rules or by statute may be used. [Amended by order filed December 10, 2003; effective July 1, 2004.]
(11) When service of a summons, process, or notice is provided for or permitted by registered or certified mail under the laws of Tennessee and the addressee or the addressee’s agent refuses to accept delivery and it is so stated in the return receipt of the United States Postal Service, the written return receipt if returned and filed in the action shall be deemed an actual and valid service of the summons, process, or notice. Service by mail is complete upon mailing. For purposes of this paragraph, the United States Postal Service notation that a properly addressed registered or certified letter is “unclaimed,” or other similar notation, is sufficient evidence of the defendant’s refusal to accept delivery. [Added by order filed December 10, 2003; effective July 1, 2004.]
Tennessee Code 16-15-901. Issuance and service of civil warrants, writs and other papers.
(a) Upon filing of civil warrants, writs and other papers the clerk of the general sessions court wherein such civil warrants, writs or other papers are filed, shall issue the required process, writs or other papers, and cause it or them, with necessary copies of the civil warrant, writ or papers, to be delivered for service to such person authorized to serve process as may be designated by the party filing such civil warrant, writ or other papers or such party's attorney if represented by counsel. Such authorized person shall serve the civil warrant, writ or other papers, and the return endorsed thereon shall be proof of the time and manner of service. A civil warrant, writ or other papers may be issued for service in any county against any defendant, or additional defendants.
A civil warrant, attachment or any other leading process used to initiate an action in general sessions court and subpoenas or summons may be served by any person designated by the party, or the party's attorney, if represented by counsel, who is not a party to the action and is not less than eighteen (18) years of age. Service of other process and orders of the courts of this state shall be by sheriffs, constables or as provided by law. The process server must be identified by name and address on the return.
Tennessee Code 16-15-902. Return.
(a) Any person serving the process from the general sessions court shall promptly and within the time during which the person is served must respond, make proof thereof to the court and shall identify the person served and shall describe the manner of service.
(b) Process shall be served within the time required by law.
(c) When process is served by mail, the original warrant, writ or other papers, shall be endorsed by manner of service; in addition an affidavit of the person making service setting forth the personal compliance of this section; and the return receipt shall be sent to and filed with the clerk of the court. The person making service in this manner shall endorse over the signature on the original warrant, writ or other papers the date of mailing a certified copy of the warrant, writ or other papers to the defendant and the date of receipt of return receipt from the defendant. If the return receipt is signed by the defendant, or any person designated by this section of this title or by statute, service on the defendant is complete. If not, service by mail may be attempted or any other methods authorized by this section of this title or by statute may be
Tennessee Code 16-15-903. Service upon defendants in this state.
The plaintiff shall after issuance by the clerk of the general sessions court furnish the persons making the service with all necessary copies. Service shall be made as follows:
(1) Upon an individual other than an unmarried infant incompetent person, by delivering a copy of the warrant, writ or other papers to the individual personally, or if the individual evades or attempted to evade service, by leaving copies thereof at the individual's dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein, whose name shall appear on the proof of service, or by delivering the copies to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service on behalf of the individual served.
(2) Upon an unmarried infant or an incompetent person, by delivering a copy of the warrant, writ or other papers to the person's residence guardian or conservator if there is one known to the plaintiff, by delivering the copies to the individual's parent having custody within this state; or if no such parent is within this state, then by delivering the copies to the person within this state having control of the individual. If none of the persons defined and enumerated above exists, the court shall appoint a practicing attorney as guardian ad litem to whom the copies shall be delivered. If any of the persons directed by this paragraph to be served is a plaintiff, then the person who is not a plaintiff who stands next in the order named above shall be served. In addition to the service provided in this paragraph, service shall also be made on an unmarried minor who is fourteen (14) years of age or more, and who is not otherwise incompetent.
(3) Upon a partnership or unincorporated association (including a limited liability company) which is named defendant under a common name, by delivering a copy of the warrant, writ or other papers to a partner or managing agent of the partnership or to an officer or managing agent of the association, or to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service on behalf of the partnership or association.
(4) Upon a domestic corporation, or a foreign corporation doing business in this state, by delivering a copy of the warrant, writ or other papers to an officer or managing agent thereof, or to the chief agent in the county wherein the action is brought, or by delivering the copies to any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service on behalf of the corporation.
(5) Upon a nonresident individual who transacts business through an office or agency in this state, or a resident individual who transacts business through an office or agency in a county other than the county in which the resident individual resides, in any action growing out of or connected with the business of that office or agency, by delivering a copy of the warrant, writ or other papers to the person in charge of the office or agency.
(6) Upon the state of Tennessee or any agency thereof, by delivering a copy of the warrant, writ or other papers to the attorney general of the state or to any assistant attorney general.
(7) Upon a county, by delivering a copy of the warrant, writ or other papers to the county mayor, or if absent from the county, to the county attorney if there is one designated; if not, by delivering the copies to the county court clerk.
(8) Upon a municipality, by delivering a copy of the warrant, writ or other papers to the chief executive officer, or to the city attorney.
(9) Upon any governmental or any quasi-government entity, by delivering a copy of the warrant, writ other papers to any officer or managing agent thereof.
(10) Service by mail of a warrant, writ or other papers upon a defendant may be made by the plaintiff, the plaintiff's attorney or by any person authorized by statute. After the complaint, warrant, writ or other papers are filed, the clerk shall, upon request, furnish the original warrant, writ or other papers, a certified copy thereof and a copy of the filed warrant, writ or other papers to the plaintiff, the plaintiff's attorney or other authorized person for service by mail. Such person shall send, postage prepaid, a certified copy of the warrant, writ or other papers by registered return receipt or certified return receipt mail to the defendant. The original warrant, writ or other papers shall be used for return of service of process. Service by mail shall not be the basis for the entry of a judgment by default unless the record contains a return receipt showing personal acceptance by the defendant or by persons designated by this section. If service by mail is unsuccessful, it may be attempted again or other methods authorized by these sections of this title or by statute may be used.
Tennessee Code 55-10-207. Traffic citation in lieu of arrest.
(a) (1) Whenever a person is arrested for a violation of any provision of this chapter or chapter 8, 9, or 50 of this title or 55-12-139, punishable as a misdemeanor, and such person is not required to be taken before a magistrate or judge as provided in 55-10-203, the arresting officer shall issue a traffic citation to such person in lieu of arrest, continued custody and the taking of the arrested person before a magistrate, except as provided in subsection (f).
(2) A law enforcement officer at the scene of a traffic accident may issue a written traffic citation to the driver or drivers of any vehicles involved in such accident when, based on personal investigation, the officer has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that such person or persons have committed an offense under the provisions of this chapter or chapter 8, 9 or 50 of this title.
(3) Whenever a person is arrested for a violation of any provision of chapter 4, part 4 of this title that is punishable as a misdemeanor, the arresting officer may issue a traffic citation to such person in lieu of arrest, continued custody and the taking of the arrested person before a magistrate.
(b) The citation shall demand the person cited to appear in court at a stated time and it shall state the name and address of the person cited, the name of the issuing officer, and the offense charged. Unless the person cited requests an earlier date, the time specified on the citation to appear shall be as fixed by the arresting officer. The citation shall give notice to the person cited that failure to appear as ordered is punishable as contempt of court. The citation shall be executed in triplicate, the original to be delivered to the court specified therein, one (1) copy to be given to the person cited, and one (1) copy to be retained by the officer issuing the citation.
(c) The original citation delivered to the court shall be sworn to by the issuing officer before a magistrate or official lawfully assigned such duty by a magistrate. The person cited shall signify the acceptance of the citation and the agreement to appear in court as directed by signing the citation.
(d) Whenever a traffic citation has been prepared, accepted, and the original citation delivered to the court as provided herein, the original citation delivered to the court shall constitute a complaint to which the person cited must answer and the officer issuing the citation shall not be required to file any other affidavit of complaint with the court.
(e) If the person cited has not paid the traffic citation upon submission to fine as provided in this section and the person cited fails to appear in court at the time specified, or such later date as may be fixed by the court, the court may issue a warrant for such person's arrest or may declare a judgment of forfeiture for the offense charged. The judgment of forfeiture shall in no case be more than the total amount of fine and costs prescribed by law for the offense and may be collected in the manner provided in 40-24-105.
(f) The provisions of this section shall not be applicable to any person arrested for a violation of any of the offenses enumerated in 55-10-203, or to any person arrested for a violation of any provision of this chapter or chapter 8, 9 or 50 of this title which is punishable by a fine of more than fifty dollars ($50.00) or by imprisonment for more than thirty (30) days. The provisions of this section shall not supersede the provisions of 40-7-118, nor shall they require the use of a traffic citation in lieu of arrest in any of the circumstances specified in 40-7-118(c).
RULE 101. SCOPE
These rules shall govern evidence rulings in all trial courts of Tennessee except as otherwise provided by statute or rules of the Supreme Court of Tennessee.
Advisory Commission Comment
These rules apply in all trials, including those in general sessions and juvenile courts. Some hearings, however, are not controlled solely by these rules. Preliminary proceedings and sentencing proceedings often involve hearsay not admissible under traditional exceptions. See, for example, T.C.A. § 40-35-209(b) and T.R.Juv.P. 15(b), 16(a), and 32(f). Administrative hearings are not governed exclusively by these rules; see T.C.A. § 4-5-313(1). The Tennessee Claims Commission, on the other hand, incorporates the Tennessee Rules of Evidence through internal Rule 43.
RULE 411. LIABILITY INSURANCE
Evidence that a person was or was not insured against liability is not admissible upon issues of negligence or other wrongful conduct. This rule does not require the exclusion of evidence of insurance against liability when offered for another purpose, such as proof of agency, ownership, or control, or bias or prejudice of a witness.
Advisory Commission Comment
The rule restates Tennessee common law.
Article VI. Witnesses
RULE 602. LACK OF PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE
A witness may not testify to a matter unless evidence is introduced sufficient to support a finding that the witness has personal knowledge of the matter. Evidence to prove personal knowledge may, but need not, consist of the witness's own testimony. This rule is subject to the provisions of Rule 703 relating to opinion testimony by expert witnesses.
Advisory Commission Comment
Basic to relevancy concepts is that a witness must know about the subject matter of testimony. This is the familiar requirement of first-hand knowledge.
Under Rule 703, experts may base an opinion on the factual findings of others. Also, party admissions need not be based on first-hand knowledge.
Article IX. Authentication
RULE 901. REQUIREMENT OF AUTHENTICATION OR IDENTIFICATION
(a) General Provision. The requirement of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility is satisfied by evidence sufficient to the court to support a finding by the trier of fact that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.
(b) Illustrations. By way of illustration only, and not by way of limitation, the following are examples of authentication or identification conforming with the requirements of this rule:
(1) Testimony of Witness With Knowledge. Testimony that a matter is what it is claimed to be.
(2) Nonexpert Opinion on Handwriting. Nonexpert opinion as to the genuineness of handwriting, based upon familiarity not acquired for purposes of the litigation.
(3) Comparison by Trier of Fact or Expert Witness. Comparison by trier of fact or by expert witnesses with specimens which have been authenticated.
(4) Distinctive Characteristics and the Like. Appearance, contents, substance, internal patterns, or other distinctive characteristics, taken in conjunction with circumstances.
(5) Voice Identification. Identification of a voice, whether heard firsthand or through mechanical or electronic transmission or recording, by opinion based upon hearing the voice at any time under circumstances connecting it with the alleged speaker.
(6) Telephone Conversations. Telephone conversations, by evidence that a call was made to the number assigned at the time by a telephone company to a particular person or business if (A), in the case of a person, circumstances including self-identification show the person answering to be the one called or (B), in the case of the business, the call was made to a place of business and the conversation related to business reasonably transacted over the telephone.
(7) Public Records or Reports. Evidence that a writing authorized by law to be recorded or filed and in fact recorded or filed in a public office (or a purported public record, report, statement, or data compilation in any form) is from the public office where items of this nature are kept.
(8) Ancient Documents or Data Compilation. Evidence that a document or data compilation in any form (A) is in such condition as to create no suspicion concerning its authenticity, (B) was in a place where, if authentic, it would likely be, and (C) has been in existence thirty years or more at the time it is offered.
(9) Process or System. Evidence describing a process or system used to produce a result and showing that the process or system produces an accurate result.
(10) Methods Provided by Statute or Rule. Any method of authentication or identification provided by Act of Congress or the Tennessee Legislature or by other rules prescribed by the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Advisory Commission Comment
Section (a) makes the trial judge arbiter of authentication issues, as does the common law.
Subsection (b)(3) lets the trier of fact or an expert compare exemplars and questioned documents. The proposed draft corrects the mistake in Franklin v. Franklin, 90 Tenn. 44, 16 S.W. 557 (1891), where the Supreme Court construed T.C.A. § 24-7-108 to disallow expert comparison of a disputed document with the purported forger's exemplar. See Amburn v. State, 553 S.W.2d 922 (Tenn.Crim.App.1977), criticizing Franklin.
Subsection (b)(4) simply makes common sense. Without drawing the boundaries of practical possibilities, the rule allows proof to the court of a myriad of distinctive characteristics that may convince the judge that a questioned document is authentic enough to let the jury consider it.
Subsection (b)(9) treats authentication of computer documents. All that the lawyer need do is introduce evidence satisfying the court that the computer system produces accurate information.
Article X. Contents Of Writings, Recordings, And Photographs
RULE 1007. TESTIMONY OR WRITTEN ADMISSION OF PARTY
Contents of writings, recordings, or photographs may be proved by the testimony, deposition, or written admission of the party against whom offered, without accounting for nonproduction of the original.
Advisory Commission Comment
This rule dispenses with the original document requirement in the circumstances described. Note that the proposed rule requires an unsworn statement of the contents of a document to be in writing.
Red-light cameras are all over Washington--and coming to a city near you. The science behind them is bad and the police are using them to make money, not save lives. It's much worse than you thought. Part 1 in a series.
by Matt Labash
OVER THE LAST DECADE, the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department has become a joke even sadder than the city's man-eating potholes or crack-smoking mayors. Various reports have them losing seven percent of their police cars, failing to close one-third of their homicide investigations, and towing legally parked cars, then failing to tell citizens the whereabouts of their vehicles. But according to the department's propagandists, if D.C. residents have a "principal public safety" concern--a concern greater than arson, auto theft, robbery, sexual assault, and homicide, all of which have risen since 1999--it is traffic safety. And if there is any traffic safety concern that concerns D.C. residents most--more than, say, drunk driving--it is speeding and red-light running. And here, the citizens are in luck. Because the D.C. police are on the case. Sort of. Actually, their automated enforcement technology is on the case.
To those not familiar with automated enforcement technology, give it time--you will be. Not only has this technology, used in Europe for decades, arrived in this country, but it is reaping millions of dollars in revenue for municipalities in the baldest cash grab by cities since they sued gun manufacturers for making guns that shoot people. As their respective names suggest, red-light cameras and photo radar are designed to photograph motorists who enter intersections after the light turns red or who speed above a certain threshold.
While systems vary according to municipality and contractor, motorists can expect to receive a photo of themselves committing the infraction, which is printed on a traffic citation they receive in the mail. Fines range from $30 for driving up to 10 mph over the speed limit in the District, to $271 for running a red light in California. In some states, license points are assessed, making automated enforcement the gift that keeps on giving in the form of higher insurance premiums.
The cities, naturally, are wary of being called greedheads. In D.C., which has most enthusiastically embraced the technology, with its 39 red-light cameras and 6 photo radar units, champions like Police Chief Charles Ramsey have said, "It isn't about revenue making. It's about saving lives." To prove it, the department's website displays gauzy pictures of children. When anybody suggests otherwise, Ramsey quickly returns fire. After the Washington Times denounced the use of photo radar as a Gestapo tactic, Ramsey wrote a spleen-venting letter to the editor, informing the paper that he sensitizes his officers by taking them to the Holocaust Museum.
To measure Ramsey's claim that the technology isn't about generating revenue--despite the District's collecting $15,569,721 in fines after two and a half years of red light camera use--I go on a ride-along, or rather, a sit-along, with D.C. police. On a muggy August morning, during the sleepy off-time just after rush hour, I lounge in an unmarked Crown Victoria in Northeast D.C. with Sgt. James McCoy and Officer D.J. Cephas. The car is one of five mobile photo radar units currently sweeping the city, along with one stationary unmanned unit. While red-light cameras are unmanned, permanently posted like all-seeing birdhouses at intersections, photo radar can either be shuttled around in police cars or stationed solo, without human supervision. (The District has promised their red-light cameras will also double as photo radar units, meaning motorists will eventually be dinged for clearing an intersection too fast, or for not clearing it fast enough.)
The space where the vehicle's shotgun seat used to be is now occupied by a giant T-bar bolted to the floor, on which is mounted a Gatso Radar 24 camera control unit, a data memory card, and all manner of technical doodads. With all their Doppler radar talk, the officers sound like meteorologists with guns. But their police car is not really a police car in any conventional sense. "It doesn't have any police equipment," explains McCoy, "no siren, no police radio."
In fact, these working cops aren't technically working cops. They're off-duty cops, getting paid overtime that is covered by the city's camera contractor, Lockheed Martin IMS. At the time of my outing, Lockheed is responsible for maintaining the equipment, processing the data, and sending out the citations--which entitles them to $32.50 out of every $75 red-light-camera ticket and $29 of every photo-radar ticket. (Since then, Lockheed sold their national automated enforcement business to Affiliated Computer Services in Dallas, with the same profit arrangement applying.) Proponents of the system like to point out that the whole operation doesn't cost taxpayers a dime. Cynics could contend that it's cost taxpayers and commuters quite a few dimes. As of February 2002, D.C.'s red-light camera not only collected over $15 million since August of 1999, but its photo radar program, which has only been in operation for seven months, has already netted the District a cool $9,041,295.
Other than the missing seat and police equipment, Sgt. McCoy finds that these cars "have all the amenities--the lumbar controls, a stereo with cassette player--a lot of things we don't have in a police car." Comfort is, after all, paramount in a job that requires you to do almost nothing. The officer's only real task is to aim the radar, which shoots a 5 degree-wide, 22 ft.-high beam across the street that bounces off passing cars, back to a slotted wave-guide antenna triggering the camera. Police additionally set a speed threshold--today's will net only people going at least 11 mph over the speed limit (though the officers are unclear whether the speed limit is 25 or 30 mph at our location). After these preliminaries, the only remaining concern is making sure you have enough coffee to wash down your bearclaw.
McCoy says conventional traffic patrolling is labor intensive, forcing officers to pull people over, "run their names, so on and so forth." Photo radar, he says, is quite the opposite. "You come in, set it up, sit back, read a magazine." When the camera begins its work, Officer Cephas erupts in dark laughter. Though today the equipment is aimed only at receding traffic, Cephas offers, "This thing can get everybody going in both directions." "Ca-Chzzzt! Ca-Chzzzt!" he says, mimicking the whirring of the camera, which sounds like a horde of paparazzi covering a movie premiere.
When asked if they would pull over most of the people the camera is shooting, the officers say no. "Thing is," says Cephas, "the speed limit's 25, but people just constantly drive with the flow of traffic." "We know everybody drives over the speed limit," adds McCoy, "so you have some tolerance." At that moment, a fellow officer whizzes by, waving. "No discrimination here," says McCoy pointing to the camera, which likely just captured their colleague racking up a citation. While emergency vehicles are supposed to be exempt from paying fines, even ambulance drivers and fire trucks get tickets. (The Washington Times recently reported that a raft of tickets earned by D.C. police has actually slowed their response time on calls.) "If George Bush comes through here," laughs Cephas, "he's gonna get it too."
After only half an hour, the camera has clicked pictures that could result in 100 citations, though today is the last day of a month-long warning period (fines won't be issued for another week). McCoy says it would take a human cop roughly two-and-a-half days of brisk patrolling to generate that many tickets. After such an excursion, one can see Chief Ramsey's point, that automated enforcement frees up police to carry out other important tasks, such as going on cable television to talk about how they've had no breaks in the Chandra Levy case.
Like the film shot by red-light cameras, photo radar film is sent to a processing center run by Lockheed Martin IMS. Though the weapons manufacturer, whose IMS division was the largest automated enforcement vendor in the nation, sold the division to Affiliated Computer Services for $800 million, if Lockheed's projections hold, ACS will reap $44 million from D.C.-generated tickets by 2004 (the city itself will pull in $117 million). It is at this center that the vendor elves, or "image specialists," not only develop film, but decide which pictures warrant citations. Internal Lockheed documents reveal that their camera's success rate can be as low as 42 percent (other vendors fall as low as 33 percent)--meaning that pictures must be tossed for reasons ranging from "data errors" to "clarity of [license] plate." From there, success rates drop even further. After vendors send out the tickets--which may or may not be subject to police review before being issued, depending on the city--it has been estimated by an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study that the registered owner of the vehicle--the one ticketed after a vendor matches a plate number to a DMV record--is the actual driver of the car only 72 percent of the time.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it must be noted, is one of the staunchest advocates of automated enforcement, and views the 72 percent figure as a triumph. To which any reasonable person might ask, what other law enforcement tool snags the wrong guy over one-fourth of the time, and is still considered a success?
Just to recap, consider: A private company is given police power to ticket citizens, has a monetary interest in generating as many tickets as possible, and, despite its low success rate, is often allowed to do so with minimal or no police supervision.
It would seem that a trip to Lockheed IMS's processing center was in order to watch its employees fulfill their constabulary duties. But when I ask D.C. police spokesman Kevin Morison for a tour, he must check with Lockheed, though the police are purportedly running the operation. A few days later, Morison regretfully informs me that Lockheed said no--"They had privacy concerns." Morison at least plays at being oblivious to the richness of a vendor's claiming to be concerned about your privacy after taking a picture of your car and in some instances whoever's in your car, tapping into your DMV records, levying a fine against you, then mailing the whole care package to your house (in Italy, a senator's marriage faltered when his wife spotted his mistress in a photo radar citation).
But Morison is not completely unhelpful. He says that during the first eight days of photo radar use last August, 13,844 highway motorists and 9,574 motorists in residential areas were photographed for potential citations--the equivalent of 4 percent of D.C.'s entire population. To put that in perspective, D.C. police issued only 10,000 speeding tickets in all of 2000. Considering that citations can run up to $200 a throw, citizens might be forgiven any cynicism regarding Chief Ramsey's statement that automated enforcement "isn't about revenue making, it's about saving lives."
2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5
THE EAR IS HERE
Knoxville police chief Sterling Owen, who has held the job for a little more than two months now, says KPD will be using a different method of deploying officers around the city. An analysis of calls for service has resulted in the city being divided into two sectors - east and west - with I-75 being the dividing line.
Captain Paul Fish, a 30-year veteran, is commander of the east sector. He will retire in January.
"This will allow us to have more officers on the street at the places and times where they are most needed," Owen said. He said that KPD has 365 to 375 officers on the force, and that 415 is the authorized level. Fifteen cadets are currently enrolled in the academy, and Owen said he is hoping to add another 42 officers in the spring.
Owen spoke Monday to Fountain City Town Hall and Wednesday to Fountain City Business and Professional Association.
The new chief will initiate a Web site to put the names of suspects into public circulation, as well as crime statistics and community issues. The cost will be borne by an advertiser, Fleenor Security Services.
Owen may revise scheduling for officers as well, and he wants to change the graphics of new police cars.
KPD has launched a $4 million project to build a track for driver training. "We'll put water on pads to teach driving in wet conditions for traffic stops and pursuits," he said. The track will be available to the Sheriff's Office and the city fire department. It might be available for corporate customers on a lease basis. It will be built with money from fines.
Lights, cameras, action!
This time next year, if city officials get their way, some parent of a teenaged driver is going to get a citation in the mail and will have to decide whether to just surrender the dough or go down to City Court and try to talk the judge out of levying a fine because the kid rolled the family car through a red light.
Police chief Sterling Owen IV said it will take a City Council vote to shift legal responsibility from the vehicle driver to the owner, but he sounded enthusiastic last week when he talked about the plan to put cameras on traffic lights.
"They'll be a deterrent to running red lights. They'll be a deterrent to accidents. They'll even enable us to monitor the intersections via a live-feed real time option," Owen told the crowd at Fountain City Town Hall.
He said the idea was well-received by a committee that has been working on traffic calming issues, primarily in neighborhoods. A couple of Fountain City skeptics muttered something about "Big Brother" and money grabbing schemes, but most of the group seemed ready to accept the notion of red light cameras.
At least one member of the traffic calming taskforce, City Council member Bob Becker, is downright enthusiastic about it:
"I think it's a good idea," Becker said. "It can free up the police to do other things, and what my mind says is these cameras are the right thing to do right now."
Neither Owen nor Becker knows who came up with the idea of using the red light cams in Knoxville, but an Internet search shows that Redflex Traffic Systems and Nestor Traffic Systems, the two vendors who are bidding to supply the cameras to the city at no cost in return for splitting the take from the fines, set up booths and give presentations at national gatherings like League of Cities meetings. Given the city's well-publicized need for revenue to support its money-losing convention center, cynics who think the red light cameras might be more about siphoning cash out of motorists' pockets than catching bad drivers might be forgiven their suspicions.
The vendors say red light violations decrease dramatically when the cameras are installed. Critics say this claim begs the question of how the cameras pay for themselves if the number of violators drop.
"What the vendors say is you can put up warning signs, and there are still people going to go through the red light," Becker said. "One of the vendors started out talking about all the public awareness stuff."
The critics also point to problems like faulty sensors, privacy violations and even increases in rear-end collisions at locations where cameras have been installed, caused by drivers who slam on their brakes to keep from running red lights. Cameras have been vandalized and even shot out, and now, some have discovered a new product called Photoblocker, a clear spray that can makes license tags so hyper-reflective that camera flashes render them unreadable.
Becker said he is more concerned with catching speeders than red light-runners, and he said he will be interested in hearing about the cameras' continuous-feed capacity which would allow monitoring certain locations for speeders.
"We didn't get as much information on that, but it's a similar concept - set up a couple of cameras on the road, hook up to radar gun, get the license plate number, send them a ticket. We think we can deal with speeding in neighborhoods pretty well with speed humps, things like that; but you get a problem on roads like Lonas or Woodland. Having a camera or two at those locations would slow people down."
Owen said that Germantown, an affluent community outside Memphis, is the only Tennessee city that is using the cameras.
Running a red light carries a $50 fine. Owen projects an initial installation of cameras at six intersections. He said no points would be attached to the vehicle driver or owner.
Congressman Ron Paul
"Mr. Speaker, my subject today is whether America is a police state. If we are, what are we going to do about it? Most police states, surprisingly, come about through the democratic process with majority support. The masses are easily led to believe that security and liberty are mutually exclusive, and demand for security far exceeds that for liberty. Our government already keeps close tabs on just about everything we do and requires official permission for nearly all of our activities. One might take a look at our Capitol for any evidence of a police state. We see: barricades, metal detectors, police, military soldiers at times, dogs, ID badges required for every move, vehicles checked at airports and throughout the Capitol. The people are totally disarmed, except for the police and the criminals. But worse yet, surveillance cameras in Washington are everywhere to ensure our safety. Like gun control, people control hurts law-abiding citizens much more than the law-breakers. Centralized control and regulations are required in a police state. Not only do we need a license to drive, but we also need special belts, bags, buzzers, seats and environmentally dictated speed limits. Or a policeman will be pulling us over to levy a fine, and he will be toting a gun for sure. Let's reject the police state."
"I don't trust government. And neither should our citizens."
"Attorney General John Ashcroft has embarked on a bizarre promotional
tour to counter growing public opposition to the 'Patriot' Act. The Act
contains over 500 pages of detailed legalese, the full text of which was
neither read nor made available to Congress before it was voted on, which
by itself should have convinced members to vote against it. This is no
reason to hand Big Brother the keys to unlock our e-mail diaries, open our
ATM records, read our medical records, or translate our international
"You will be happy to learn that the former head of the KGB (the secret
police of the former Soviet Union), General Yevgeni Primakov, has been
hired as a consultant by the US Department of Homeland Security."
"My message to America this morning, then, is this: If YOU fit this
definition of a 'terrorist', fear the United States, for YOU WILL lose
your liberty! We have engaged in a deliberate campaign of arrest and
detention of law breakers."
"The term `domestic terrorism' means activities that involve acts
dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the
United States or of any State."
"As used in this part, unless the context otherwise requires:
"After my car broke down on the Interstate highway in Nashville,
Tennessee, Metro police towed and impounded my car and issued me a parking
citation for 'violating the Homeland Security Act'."
"Centralization of the means of communications and transportation in
the hands of the State."