Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg deputy city attorney beats red light camera ticket

Video provided by St. Petersburg police shows Deputy City Attorney Mark Winn making a right turn on a red light.

St. Petersburg Police Department

Video provided by St. Petersburg police shows Deputy City Attorney Mark Winn making a right turn on a red light.

ST. PETERSBURG — While the debate raged last week about violations from red-light cameras in Pinellas County, the city's chief assistant attorney found himself challenging a ticket of his own.

A magistrate found Mark Winn not guilty last week of making a right turn on red while driving 12 mph at 38th Avenue N and 66th Street N.

Winn said he used a simple defense, supported by the video of him making the turn on July 22.

His brake lights were on as he made the turn, no traffic was approaching and no pedestrians were in the crosswalk, he said.

Winn, 58, said he didn't seek special treatment or boast that he was a city attorney. "I think the system worked exactly the way it was supposed to," he said about the five-minute hearing. "I told the judge my story."

Florida law says violations "may not be issued for failure to stop at a red light if the driver is making a right-hand turn in a careful and prudent manner at an intersection where right-hand turns are permissible."

The video showed "careful and prudent" behavior and that he slowed even more while turning, Winn said, adding: "I was driving slower than 12 mph."

The retired officers who decide whether to issue a violation look at whether traffic or pedestrians are in danger when cars go through the intersections, said police spokesman Bill Proffitt. He described the process as a judgment call.

This isn't Winn's first victory with a camera violation.

A judge dismissed a citation in March 2012 when a camera caught Winn going through a red light four months earlier at 22nd Avenue N and Fourth Street.

In the first 13 months of the camera program, police issued only seven violations for drivers traveling less than 12 mph. But 520 were issued to drivers going 12 mph.

More than 11,000 violations went to drivers going between 13 mph and 19 mph, according to Matt Florell, a camera critic who frequently produces reports on St. Petersburg's program.

Last week Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court Ken Burke urged six Pinellas cities to stop issuing red-light camera violations until flaws with the program are fixed because the state law doesn't treat violators equally.

Bills filed this legislative session could reform the camera program. For now, the bills seek to make it easier to contest red-light camera violations by putting a greater burden of proof on governments. The bills also would ban the practice of ticketing motorists who turn right on red.

Mark Puente can be reached at mpuente@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

See the right turn

To see video of Mark Winn's red-light violation, go to tampabay.com and look for "Links in the Times."

St. Petersburg deputy city attorney beats red light camera ticket 03/05/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 11:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hernando commissioners question sheriff's accounting of federal inmate dollars

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — As Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis and his staff presented his proposed 2017-18 budget earlier this month, county Commissioner Steve Champion threw out an unexpected question.

    Sheriff Al Nienhuis and the county fought over his department’s budget last year.
  2. Unused county property in Pasco could soon sprout community gardens

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Unused property in Pasco County may soon sprout community gardens that beautify neighborhoods and promote healthier lifestyles among residents, thanks to an ordinance passed unanimously Tuesday by the County Commission.

    A new Pasco ordinance allows the public to build community gardens and farms on county-owned property and also provides design, operations and maintenance standards for them.
  3. Treasure Island city manager search to start from scratch

    Local Government

    TREASURE ISLAND — City commissioners, disappointed with the number and quality of applicants for city manager, decided Tuesday to start over and hire an executive search firm.

    Treasure Island Commissioner Ken Keys thought adding former Madeira Beach city manager Shane Crawford to the pool would "bring a little too much drama.''
  4. Family escapes fire that destroys New Tampa home

    Fire

    A family is safe after an overnight fire destroyed a single-story home in New Tampa on Thursday, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.

    An overnight house fire destroyed a home at 10265 Estuary Dr in New Tampa on Thursday. The family's smoke detectors helped everyone get out of the house safely, fire officials said. [Tampa Fire Rescue]
  5. Forecast: Hot, humid conditions across Tampa Bay with less rain in wake of Tropical Storm Cindy

    Weather

    Drier air will push into the Tampa Bay area in the wake of Tropical Storm Cindy, providing a little relief from the rain — but not the heat and humidity.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]