Las Cruces man wins red light camera ticket appeal

Judge: appeals process denies due process

Las Cruces man wins red light camera ticket appeal

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Ever wondered if fighting a red light camera ticket is worth it?

One Las Cruces man did and he won.

"I was surprised. To be honest, when you haven't heard anything in about two years," said Cristobal Rodriguez.

Rodriguez received a red light camera ticket for speeding in Las Cruces, but he said he was not driving his car that day. He decided to use his law background and fight the ticket in court.

"In this situation, who indeed is driving is not for the registered owner to say. It's more about the city providing that evidence so if you appeal and question that, you need to prove to me who was driving," Rodriguez told ABC-7.

Years after filing his appeal and making arguments in District Court, Rodriguez received the judge's 31-page decision.

The judge ruled that Rodriguez was denied due process for a variety of errors by the City of Las Cruces.

The judge wrote that Rodriguez was not given the chance to cross-examine a key witness: the technician who tests and calibrates the cameras. Without that information, the judge ruled the evidence submitted by the city claiming the cameras are accurate was not admissable.

"What the judge says essentially is the city is overstepping its authority through a number of errors. (The city) is not providing a fair process. That's what the 14th Amendment is about, providing a fair process for one to protect themselves from any law," Rodriguez said.

The judge also wrote that without that evidence, the photos and video of Rodriguez's car going through the intersection did not implicate him of any violation.

Rodriguez thinks this decision could "green light" more appeals.

"It can be used to argue in the appeal process that it is unconstitutional and it can be referenced as that," he said.

Rodriguez hopes this will make the city re-evaluate the appeals process for red light camera tickets.

Las Cruces Assistant City Attorney Rusty Babington told ABC-7 he could not comment on the judge's decision. He said the city is reviewing the decision and deciding whether or not to file an appeal. The city has 30 days from the date of the decision to do so.

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