Arnold’s red light camera law ruled unconstitutional

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ARNOLD, MO (KTVI)-- The appeals court for Missouri’s eastern district ruled Tuesday that Arnold’s red light camera law is unconstitutional.

Arnold was the first city in Missouri to use red-light cameras.

The case now heads to the Missouri Supreme Court.

The attorney for the city of Arnold said that the red light camera safety program is a proven, effective tool that is improving driver behavior in Arnold.

The statement also says there have been no red light running fatalities in the eight years after the cameras were installed.

Court Documents


  • ByeByeToTheRite

    These are good developments in getting rid of this unconstitutional infringement into our rights to justice, but the audacity with which these governments are pursuing this, and the money they are spending to do so – OUR money – is appalling. So their argument is that, because it helps public safety and saves lives, it is then OKAY to be an unconstitutional infringement? Wow, I thought that argument died a long time ago with gun laws – sure, it would also save lives and help public safety to completely ban guns. But the Constitution says otherwise. Well, no different here. I don’t care if 100 people are killed at red lights WITHOUT these cameras, it doesn’t matter – there is NO proof a driver violated the camera – END OF STORY, Arnold. If it’s that serious a problem, then station cops there to watch and pull people over – oh, not quite THAT bad a problem they’ll say? The only reason Arnold and others like these cameras is the MONEY it brings in so they have more to give the rich tax breaks. You know, the same thing driving almost all government actions these days.

  • Brent

    Kinda like the Unconstitutional “Check Points” that law enforcement agencies regularly set up all over Missouri! Wish someone would challenge those as a violation of unreasonable searches against the 4th amendment to the constitution!

    • joethejuggler

      4th Amendment challenges of sobriety checkpoints have been made for decades now. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled sobriety checkpoints don’t violate the 4th Amendment as long as they pass a balancing test (basically that the inconvenience to drivers must be minor and the potential public interest served must be great). Remember, the 4th Amendment only prohibits “unreasonable” searches and seizures.

  • Paul

    Even before Tuesday, most people here in Arnold did not pay the tickets. Arnold never issued warrants or really even enforced the law, at least in my experience and hearing from people I know. They would much rather get revenue from speed traps on Sunday morning, getting all the churchgoers.

    • joethejuggler

      Yep. If you don’t voluntarily pay, it’s very unlikely that the City will come after you or pursue it further. On the other hand, my thinking is that if you got caught red handed (ahem) running a red light, isn’t paying the ticket the moral thing to do?

  • Timothy

    We have about 10 of those here in Knoxville, TN and let me tell ya, best thing ever. Some of the most busy places have cut down on wreaks. Its super simple here, you run the red light, get a ticket in the mail. Don’t like it? You can challenge it but it also takes a video of you committing the act as well so your probably going to be paying more in the long run than $50 that doesn’t really count as a ticket. People pay it, no one complains.

    • Happy to not be Timothy

      Man shut up, nobody likes getting a ticket and wasting money. Just agree with every body else and stop trying to be all happy go lucky, the cup is half full kind of guy.

  • Carol Watson

    One thing I’ve noticed, at night time, is when you go through a green light at 141 and jeffco, the camera at that intersection flashes. I would think that is a potential for an accident, as it has startled me on several occassions. Has anyone else noticed this? it freaks me out, as I’m one of the dummies that paid a $110 fine. I have to admit I am guilty of running the light, as it changed as I was going through the intersection. It was a very short yellow light and changed to red immediately. The other traffic lights in Arnold seem to have a longer yellow light timer! I hope they have to pay back every fine they collected as a red light camera picture at this location!!

    I do support the police officers in Arnold. They have a dangerous and unthankful job. I have found these officers to be very caring, helpful, and professional. Thank you for all you do to keep us safe!

  • Joe Welling

    This article is unclear on some points, and flat out wrong on one.

    The E.D. decision ruled the Arnold ordinance unconstitutional because it is a criminal ordinance. It did not rule that red light camera ordinances in general are unconstitutional. It has held them to be constitutional already. It requires that the ordinances be civil not criminal; that they not be for the sole purpose of raising revenue (though mixed purpose of raising revenue and promoting safety is OK); and they cleared up a problem with the way St. Louis used to issue summonses (they have to make it clear that they can plead not guilty and challenge it in court). Also, if it did get to court, the City would have to get the data entry person (employee of the red light camera contractor) to testify.

    The article is wrong to state that this case (Brunner v. Arnold) is heading for the MO Supreme Court. The case is remanded (sent back to the district court) on the question of whether or not they can get the money back. For the same question in the St. Louis case (where the ordinance was not a criminal one) the answer was no–you can’t get back that money. So the case is headed back down to the district court. For it to reach the MO Supreme Court, it would have to come back up through the E.D. Court of Appeals again.

    • joethejuggler

      To clarify, the court recognized that even on the getting their money back question, this case is different because the ordinance was a criminal ordinance. Appellants made an argument based on a similar case in Illinois that the E.D. seemed to accept. It might indeed end up going to the MO Supreme Court, but that’s not where it’s headed now.

  • Lisa

    I received a red light ticket in the mail after taking my son to Cardinal Glennon, to find out if he had bone cancer. Not only was I an emotional wreck, the construction on Grand Ave. was just crazy. However, I did pay the ticket for the fear of having my license taken away when I needed them most. Thanks city of St.louis for making a sressful week even worse.

    • joethejuggler

      I’m very sorry about your son, and I hope it turned out not to be cancer. We’re quite proud of our hospitals in the City of St. Louis. If you ran a red light though, you really can’t blame the City.

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