Friday, November 17, 2017
News Roundup

St. Petersburg deputy city attorney beats red light camera ticket

RECOMMENDED READING


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 [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

Comments
Thanksgiving sides beyond the classics: corn casserole, Brussels sprouts salad, pecan pie carrots

Thanksgiving sides beyond the classics: corn casserole, Brussels sprouts salad, pecan pie carrots

There are probably a handful of essentials, things you must have on the Thanksgiving table lest some family members begin to riot. But I find there are often a couple of slots open for new things, chances to get weird or creative or, gasp, healthy. ...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Report: NFL investigating Jameis Winston for allegedly groping Uber driver

Report: NFL investigating Jameis Winston for allegedly groping Uber driver

The NFL is investigating Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, according to BuzzFeed News.The report is based on a letter sent by the NFL this week to a female Uber driver, who is accusing Winston of grabbing her crotch in March 2016 in Sc...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Tesla’s latest creation: An electric big rig that can travel 500 miles on a single charge

Tesla’s latest creation: An electric big rig that can travel 500 miles on a single charge

The Washington PostThe main course was expected: a pair of sleek silver Tesla semi-trucks that get 500 miles per charge, go from zero to 60 mph in five seconds and — if the hype is to be believed — promise to single-handedly transform the commercial ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

How are we doing?That was the Big Question posed more than once this past week in Tampa Bay. First, the Tampa Bay Partnership and USF debuted in-depth and new ways to measure Tampa Bay across a wide range of indicators to gauge whether we are gaining...
Updated: 1 hour ago
We ask Tampa Bay startup leaders how best to advance entrepreneurial ecosystem

We ask Tampa Bay startup leaders how best to advance entrepreneurial ecosystem

What one thing could be added to the Tampa Bay startup community to help it grow and prosper?The Tampa Bay Times reached out to these leading area entrepreneurs and startup experts for answers.RELATED COVERAGE: Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? D...
Updated: 1 hour ago
19 digital billboards now spread word of reward in Seminole Heights killings

19 digital billboards now spread word of reward in Seminole Heights killings

TAMPA — To help spread the word about reward money offered in connection with four unsolved shooting deaths in Seminole Heights, two billboard companies have donated the use of a combined 19 digital billboards.On Thursday, police announced the reward...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Top 5 at noon: New billboards tout Seminole Heights rewards; Christmas comes to downtown Tampa; and more

Top 5 at noon: New billboards tout Seminole Heights rewards; Christmas comes to downtown Tampa; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:19 DIGITAL BILLBOARDS NOW SPREAD WORD OF REWARD IN SEMINOLE HEIGHTS KILLINGSTo help spread the word about reward money offered in connection with four unsolved shooting deaths in Seminole Heig...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

The tough hit Florida jobs took from Hurricane Irma was not long lived, as predicted by economists. The state added 125,300 jobs in October, almost breaking even from the 127,400 job it lost in September. According to state figures released Friday, t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Joe Henderson: Require coding in schools? How about pushing technical skills

Joe Henderson: Require coding in schools? How about pushing technical skills

As if public schools don’t have enough headaches, Apple CEO Tim Cook recently interjected himself into the debate about how best to train young minds.In an interview with French media outlet Konbini, Cook said, "I think coding should be required in e...
Updated: 3 hours ago