Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pam Bondi wants a say in dismissed Brooksville red-light camera cases

Brooksville has cameras monitoring 16 approaches at eight intersections. This one is on U.S. 41 near Wiscon Road.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times (2012)

Brooksville has cameras monitoring 16 approaches at eight intersections. This one is on U.S. 41 near Wiscon Road.

BROOKSVILLE — Motorists with pending red-light camera citations rejoiced this month when a Hernando County judge decided to toss out right-on-red cases that came before him.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, however, was not pleased.

Bondi's office has filed a motion asking County Judge Donald E. Scaglione to set aside his orders dismissing 31 right-on-red cases from the city of Brooksville. Scaglione threw out the cases during his May 13 red-light camera docket on the grounds that the enforcement process for right-on-red cases is unconstitutional.

According to Bondi's May 23 motion, state law requires the attorney general to be notified and given an opportunity to be heard when a party alleges that a state law is unconstitutional. The motion asks Scaglione to order the 31 defendants to put their constitutional challenges in writing, then set a hearing to consider the challenges.

"(A) deprivation of such is a departure from the essential requirements of the law and due process," the motion says.

A spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office declined to comment on the motion, but said it's the first time that a right-on-red challenge has been raised in central Florida.

Scaglione also declined to comment. But local attorneys say they expect he will schedule a single hearing to give Bondi's office, the affected defendants and their attorneys the chance to present arguments. If Scaglione doesn't change his mind and lets his order stand, Bondi's office can appeal to the 5th District Court of Appeal.

In the meantime, nothing changes, but the number of affected cases is expected to increase. Scaglione is slated to hear another red-light camera docket on Monday.

"He's got to go through the process, but I don't think he's going to change his mind," said Brooksville attorney Kristie Ruppe, who represented a defendant in one of the May 13 cases. "I think his reasoning is solid."

The city of Brooksville has cameras monitoring 16 approaches at eight intersections. Scaglione is one of two county judges who hear uniform traffic citation cases.

On May 7, Scaglione issued an order stating why he would begin dismissing right-on-red cases. The order only applies to cases heard in his courtroom and does not affect cases he heard previously.

Scaglione called the portion of the state law dealing with right-on-red violations "vague (and) arbitrary and capricious." Because of that, he wrote, enforcing violations is unconstitutional and a violation of due process rights.

As part of the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act governing traffic camera programs, the Florida Legislature in 2010 created a defense that says a right turn on red without stopping is permissible if the turn is made "in a careful and prudent manner." But the law's failure to define those terms leads to arbitrary rulings, Scaglione wrote.

Because cities and counties come up with their own definitions, Scaglione wrote, "There is no consistency … between jurisdiction boundaries."

Finally, Scaglione contends, the current law violates the due process rights of citizens because a rolling right turn on red can result in two different outcomes depending on whether an officer stops a driver or the turn is caught on camera.

On May 13, during his first red-light camera docket after issuing the order, Scaglione warned the 31 defendants that his order could be appealed and overturned, in which case they would wind up back in court.

Peyton Hyslop, who represented roughly a third of the defendants on the docket, noted that the uniform traffic citations are brought by the state.

"So it's kind of ludicrous for the attorney general to say she doesn't know what's going on in court when the state of Florida is the one that filed the cases," Hyslop said. "Now they're saying, 'We don't like what happened, so let us have a chance to come,' when they didn't think it was worth their time to be there to begin with."

Reach Tony Marrero at or (352) 848-1431. Follow @tmarrerotimes on Twitter.

Pam Bondi wants a say in dismissed Brooksville red-light camera cases 05/30/13 [Last modified: Thursday, May 30, 2013 10:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Former CEO of Winn-Dixie parent joining Hong Kong company


    The former CEO of the Jacksonville-based parent of Winn-Dixie grocery stores, Ian McLeod, has landed a new leadership role in Hong Kong. He is joining the pan-Asian based Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd. as group chief executive.

    Ian McLeod, who is stepping down as the CEO of the parent company of Winn-Dixie, has been hired by Dairy Farm International Holdings. 
[Photo courtesy of Southeastern Grocers]
  2. Eckerd Kids: Teens in group foster homes must be allowed to keep phones


    TAMPA — For many teens still reeling from being taken into foster care, a cell phone is a lifeline, child advocates say.

    Eckerd Kids, the agency that runs child welfare in Tampa Bay, will in January require agencies that run group foster homes to allow children to use cell phones. Some group homes are concerned that children may use phones for unathorized contract with their parents or other adults or to post pictures of other foster children on social media
  3. Hillsborough Democrats call Confederate monument vote a continuation of white supremacy


    TAMPA — Two days after Hillsborough County commissioners decided not to touch a Confederate monument in downtown Tampa, Hillsborough County Democrats have decided to weigh in.

    On Friday afternoon, Hillsborough County Democrats decried a vote by the county commission not to remove the Confederate monument in downtown Tampa.
  4. For starters: Ramus to DL, Peterson back, no further moves


    We were expecting a flurry of roster moves this afternoon and we got one. OF Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.

    Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.
  5. Editorial: Failure to invest in transit means fewer HART routes


    It was simple economics that forced HART, Hillsborough County's mass transit agency, to cut its bus routes. The agency will focus its resources on the more crowded urban core, limiting service in the suburbs in an effort to get more bang for the buck. These are the hard choices communities must make when they refuse to …

    Hillsborough Area Regional Transit is cutting bus routes from 41 to 34. Those in more rural areas will find it harder to catch a bus.