Los Angeles Appeals Court Throws out Red Light Camera Conviction

The use of red light cameras in California to issue tickets to motorists based on photo evidence has been dealt another setback. On January 23, 2012, the Second Appellate District of the California Court of Appeals, which is based in Los Angeles, decided the case of People v. Borzakian, and threw out a red light camera ticket that was issued by the Beverly Hills police department.  In its opinion, the court discussed at length another red light camera ticket case (People v. Khaled) in which an Orange County appeals court recently threw out a red light camera ticket conviction on hearsay and foundational grounds.

The court noted that the maintenance logs should have been excluded from evidence because the officer who testified on behalf of the Beverly Hills Police Department could not lay the necessary foundation.  This was because the City of Beverly Hills had contracted the responsibility of maintaining the cameras to a company called Redflex, but nobody from Redflex appeared at trial to testify as to the maintenance logs.

The court further held that once the maintenance logs were excluded, the photographs had to be excluded as well.  Once the maintenance logs and the photographs were excluded, there was a total lack of evidence to support the conviction.  Thus, the court held, the conviction must be set aside.