Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco judge sets aside ruling on red-light camera citation

NEW PORT RICHEY — A county judge who ruled red-light cameras unconstitutional has taken a step back to let a higher court step in.

Pasco County Judge Anne Wansboro had tossed out a citation Feb. 17 against Thomas Filippone. He had argued that the state red-light camera law was unconstitutional because it put the burden of proof on defendants to identify the driver who ran the light in their car.

But after the charge was dropped, attorneys for Port Richey and New Port Richey, which both have red-light cameras along U.S. 19, said they were not notified of the challenge or given the chance to argue in favor of the law. Neither was the Florida Attorney General's Office, which is required to be contacted when a state law's constitutionality faces a court challenge.

The Attorney General's Office filed a motion to intervene and asked the judge to set aside dismissing Filippone's ticket, which he received after a camera snapped a picture of his Nissan Altima running a red light on U.S. 19 in Port Richey.

Wansboro granted the request on April 20. In a joint ruling with County Judge Candy VanderCar, who presided in a separate red-light case, Wansboro said the attorney general is an "indispensable party" and is "entitled to be heard."

She also said she wanted to wait for a circuit court panel to decide an appeal in a separate red-light camera case filed by Gerald White, a retired police officer who also received a citation.

White has argued the law violated the equal protection clause because a red-light camera citation carries different fines than a police traffic stop.

Red-light cameras have been controversial since they first went up.

At stake are millions of dollars in revenue for local governments that collect the $158 civil citations. So far, court rulings have been mixed. Last year, three Hillsborough judges ruled that the county and Temple Terrace are using valid methods of enforcing tickets and collecting fines.

Port Richey City Attorney Joe Poblick said the city is satisfied with Wansboro setting aside her ruling and thinks the red-light cameras will be upheld on appeal.

"I'm confident that the city was within the bounds of constitutionality of the statute," he said.

Filippone said his case should not be linked to White's because they raise different issues. He also said a county judge has the right to rule on constitutionality.

"The constitution has not changed. Nothing has changed from February to April," he said.

However, Filippone, a former New Jersey lawyer who said he plans to take his challenge to the state's highest court if necessary, plans to ask that he be allowed to intervene as it may affect his case.

"I think I should have standing," he said. "If the court is going to hear arguments in Mr. White's case, I think I should be there, too."

Pasco judge sets aside ruling on red-light camera citation 04/26/12 [Last modified: Thursday, April 26, 2012 7:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Plan your weekend Aug. 18-20: Elvis in concert, Jason Aldean, Monster Jam Triple Threat, Sing-Along Grease


    Plan your weekend

    The king

    Elvis: Live in Concert: This year marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, and Ruth Eckerd Hall will have a Graceland-produced Elvis concert on a movie screen, accompanied by a full live orchestra. Graceland calls it the closest audiences …

    Handout photos of Elvis: Live in Concert, a tour spectacle featuring a live orchestra backing the voice of Elvis Presley, projected onto a movie screen. The tour comes to Ruth Eckerd Hall on 8/18/17. Credit: Graceland.
  2. Woman convicted in murder of 18-year-old with cerebral palsy gets lighter term


    TAMPA — Linda Bonck, a 90-pound Chamberlain High School senior with cerebral palsy, lived near Tampa's Lowry Park. She struggled to walk and talk but was known for being friendly and trusting of strangers until she vanished one day in 1992.

    Georgia Miller, 39, was convicted for the 1992 murder of Linda Bonck, an 18-year-old Chamberlain High School student who had cerebral palsy. Originally sentenced to life in prison, Miller was resentenced Wednesday to 65 years, the result of U.S. and Florida Supreme Court decisions that found it unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life. With gain time, Miller will be released from prison in the next six years. [Florida Department of Corrections]
  3. Boynton Beach woman arrested on DUI, child abuse charges


    A Boynton Beach woman was arrested Saturday and faces DUI and child abuse charges after she blew a .200 on a breath test with an unbuckled child in the backseat, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

    Brandy Lerma, 31 of Boynton Beach, was arrested on DUI and child abuse charges on Saturday. [Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Editorial: Why can't Hillsborough commissioners move Confederate monument?


    The violence in Charlottesville, Va., crystallized for much of the nation the danger of refusing to address painful symbols of the past. But not so in Hillsborough County, where the County Commission on Wednesday reversed itself yet again and left open the possibility of leaving a Confederate monument outside the …

  5. Former WTSP employee sues station's parent companies for gender discrimination


    A former director at WTSP-Ch. 10 has sued the station's parent companies, claiming she was the victim of gender discrimination.