When An Irresistible Force Meets The Immovable Object: Baltimore Lawyer Challenges Speed Camera Ticket For Non-Moving Car

220px-Red-light-camera-springfield-ohiomd-speed-cameras-more-er.jpgThe Baltimore Police force may be irresistible but it may have met the immovable object in lawyer Daniel Doty. Doty was a bit surprised when he received a $40 speed camera ticket for going 38 mph in a 25-mph zone. The problem is that Doty was not moving at all, as the picture clearly showed. The case highlights objections around country as cities increasingly rely on speed cameras for revenue and, reportedly, have been tolerating cameras with skewed pro-ticket settings.

Doty’s four-door Mazda wagon was shown idling at a red light in two pictures with his red brake lights on. A video shows the car motionless but the camera registering a speeding car on April 24 in Northeast Baltimore. The Baltimore Sun has done a series on at least seven camera found to be producing false readings.

The city’s speed camera contractor, Xerox State and Local Solutions, insists that there are two layers of review of every ticket in its company and then a Baltimore police officer reviews the citation before approving it for issuance to the vehicle owner. The officer swears or affirms that the car was going at least 12 mph over the speed limit “based on inspection of the recorded images.”

Obviously, these reviews are perfunctory and meaningless if this case is any measure.

The city has 83 speed cameras and 81 red light cameras.

Source: Baltimore Sun

24 thoughts on “When An Irresistible Force Meets The Immovable Object: Baltimore Lawyer Challenges Speed Camera Ticket For Non-Moving Car”

  1. A followup, which proves the point of my first comment:


    Unlike Baltimore City, whose speed camera system supplies motorists with two precise, time-stamped photos as evidence that they were violating the law, Baltimore County, Howard County and the State Highway Administration give motorists pictures with times rounded off to the second, proving only that the vehicle drove past the camera, a Baltimore Sun review has found.


    The Sun has published a series of articles in recent weeks revealing numerous erroneous speed camera tickets, focusing primarily on the system in Baltimore City. To prove that speeding tickets were issued in error, it used pictures from the cameras to measure the distance that vehicles traveled and then compared that distance to each picture’s time stamps, which were recorded down to the thousandth of a second.

    If a vehicle traveled 30 feet in half a second, for instance, its speed translated to 41 mph. If it traveled that same distance in 3-tenths of a second, it was going 68 mph.

    The newspaper quickly began receiving complaints from motorists beyond the city who felt unfairly accused. But when it tried to analyze their tickets, it found that the other jurisdictions rounded time off to the second, which often resulted in two photographs stamped with identical times, making verification of the speed impossible.


    “It was so people could contest the ticket,” says Baltimore Del. Maggie McIntosh, a Democrat, of the photo and time requirement and the legislature’s purpose in writing it into the law. “I remember it well. It was to verify the speed and to set up a scenario that they could contest it in court.”

  2. This is no different than asset forfeiture laws. Both may have been enacted to punish lawbreakers, but both have been used as generators of revenue by corrupt cops (a redundancy if there ever was one) and corrupt governments. When governments create laws and systems that make corruption possible, no one should be surprised that it happens.

    As long as people are physically able to drive fast, they will, regardless of the law. Most speeders stupidly believe they “have a right to go fast”. No, they don’t. Driving is a privilege and should be taken away from those who endanger others’ lives.

    If you really want to hit speeders in their pocketbooks, don’t ticket them. Build speed bumps every 100 to 200 meters, as well as traffic circles and chicanes. The idiots will pay more attention to car damage they have to fix than speeding tickets.


    Gov. Martin O’Malley said Tuesday that state law bars speed camera contractors from being paid based on the number of citations issued or paid — a so-called bounty system approach used by Baltimore City, Baltimore County and elsewhere in Maryland.

    “The law says you’re not supposed to charge by volume. I don’t think we should charge by volume,” O’Malley said. “If any county is, they need to change their program.”

  3. You can’t discuss this without a look at its driving force. The anti-tax movement in the US has made it difficult for local and State governments to raise needed revenues, so they have resorted to an entire system of “hidden” taxation. Among these the “ticketing” industry has become a great money maker. In most cases this industry dispenses with protections we would normally expect as citizens. In tandem with this is the use of “contracting out” services because the myth spread by these self-same anti-tax advocates is that private industry can do it cheaper/better than government. The usual result of this has been that private industry, which needs ever expanding profits to meet corporate needs, cannot and does not do it cheaper and better. In this case this was shown in both the article and in both David B.’s and OS’s comments, that this is ultimately a boondoggle that tramples individual rights.

    One of the other traffic related issues that is the result of this anti-tax and anti-government mindset is the re-institution of private toll roads. I said re-institution because “toll roads” began under Feudalism, where local land Barons would charge people to pass through their venues. As I’ve continually written here, I believe there is a strong movement afoot to return us to a Feudalistic state.

    We see the “contracting out” of public roads in two forms today. The first is in the actual leasing of highways for private firms to manage. Universally, this has only increased costs to the public and has not been a bonanza to local revenue. The second is in the ever increasing use of tolled “Express Lanes” coming into a City with heavy rush hour traffic. Many of these are privately operated and their existence sets up a two tier category of motorist. The top tier can afford the expense because they have the money to pay for a quicker commute. The bottom tier are the people who can’t afford it and really are the peasants in this process.

    This doesn’t even get into the toll bridge and highway toll process. I driving on Interstate 95 from Florida to New York there are no tolls whatsoever between South Florida and Maryland. This is as it should be since our Interstate Highway system was built by the Eisenhower Administration as an aid to both business and the military and is still supported by Federal Funds. Once you hit Maryland though things become expensive. As an example it takes about fifteen minutes to drive through Delaware and costs $8.00 to do so.

    As long as we’re on the subject it brings to mind New York City, where the cost of driving between the five boroughs has become outrageous. The cost one way of the bridges between the Bronx and Queens for instance is $6.50 on the Triborough (now RFK) Bridge. The fact is this has always been a toll bridge, whose toll was supposed to end in 1956 when it would be paid up. The Bridge was paid for on time but the tolls kept increasing. It is run by an independent entity called the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) which is responsible for most major bridges and tunnels in NYC and parts of New Jersey. This is a semi-independent Agency that generates enormous revenues and maintains its own police force. Historically it has been a greedy and corrupt institution created by an evil man named Robert Moses who unashamedly catered to the wealthy. It has become a satrap of nepotism and in reality answers to no elected official. If you want to understand the nature of American municipal corruption, Robert Caro’s book about Robert Moses “The Power Broker” will tell you all you need to know.

    Although the above didn’t directly deal with the topic at hand I believe it is part and parcel. While justified as a means of protecting public safety, the reality is that theses camera’s are revenue raising propositions and as with most revenue raising i the US they fall disproportionately on those least able to afford them.

  4. “there are two layers of review of every ticket”
    There’s the ink and then there’s the rubber stamp, that’s two levels right there.

  5. On these camera speeding cases the state has a problem if the victim insists on a trial and the judge tells the state to call its first witness. Some schmuck gets on the stand and starts talking about what the camerra said. Ojection, hearsay. Now there is a sort of similar case in the Supreme Court which I call the Hearsay of The Dog case. A K-9 cop walks up to a car and the dog barks. The cops search the car on the basis of the “Alert”. In court the defense should be Hearsay of The Dog and not the dumb schmuck objections which are now in the Supreme Court. Let’s suppose the dog was a human named Jimmy Durante with a good nose. If the witness said that Durante winked when he smelled the car then there would be an objection. If the witness said that Jimmy Durante barked there would be an objection. If the witness said that Jimmy Durante “said” that there was drugs in the car then the objection would be Hearsay. Put Jimmy on the stand for Christ sake. If they put me on the stand I would bring my Dogalogue Machine and the printout would be quite legible for judge and jury.

    I got one of those tickets for driving my glind guys cars through a red light. There was no yellow light in between the green and the red. The camera had the red light in view but no previous views of yellow. My objection was: Green Light, Yellow Light, Red Light in that order. Sustained. But I got another ticket for driving without a license and blind guy’s defense that my dog license should suffice went unheard.

  6. I continue to observe that the notion of actually avoidable mistakes having actually happened is a actually testable, and scientifically-refutable-if-false, hypothesis.

    I continue to observe that the notion that actually avoidable mistakes have actually happened is the neurological basis of authoritarianism, and that authoritarianism is the cause and result of the neurologically-damaging “infant-child discontinuity” that is so severely neurologically damaging as to render people who internalize the authoritarianism of the infant-child discontinuity functionally amnestic for their lived experience prior to said discontinuity.

    I happen to reside in Wisconsin. From the Wisconsin Legislature web site, Article I, Section 18, of the Wisconsin Constitution:

    Freedom of worship; liberty of conscience; state
    religion; public funds. SECTION 18. [As amended Nov. 1982]
    The right of every person to worship Almighty God according
    to the dictates of conscience shall never be infringed; nor shall
    any person be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of
    worship, or to maintain any ministry, without consent; nor shall
    any control of, or interference with, the rights of conscience be
    permitted, or any preference be given by law to any religious
    establishments or modes of worship; nor shall any money be
    drawn from the treasury for the benefit of religious societies, or
    religious or theological seminaries. [1979 J.R. 36, 1981 J.R. 29,
    vote Nov. 1982]

    If I am to abide in Wisconsin in accord with the Wisconsin Constitution, it appears to me that my conscience cannot not have dictates. Furthermore, for me to abide in Wisconsin in accord with the Wisconsin Constitution, it appears to me that I need to know and understand the dictates of my conscience. Additionally, it appears to me that I need to know and understand not only the dictates of my conscience; I also need to know and understand my conscience itself or I cannot know and understand for sure that I am living according to the dictates of my conscience.

    The dictates of my conscience are:
    1. My conscience has two, and only two, dictates, of which this is the first.
    2. My conscience dictates that all dictates are authoritarian and abusive, and therefore dictates that these two, the only two, dictates of my conscience, are not dictates.

    My conscience is that aspect of the neurological process of my life that directs my internal and external conduct, and it works in accord with the following five existential principles:
    1. If it is helpful, it is right.
    2. If it is right, it is helpful.
    3. If it is wrong, it is hurtful.
    4. If it is hurtful, it is wrong.
    5. It is right to learn what is hurtful and how to avoid what is hurtful, because it is helpful to understand how to avoid what is hurtful; therefore, actual wrongdoing is actually an eternity-transcending impossibility.

    My conscience thereby directs both my inner and my outer conduct in accord with the following existential basis principle:

    Whatever happens, as it happens, is necessary and sufficient.

    I find that the actual demonstrating of the actual happening of any actually avoidable accident or actually avoidable mistake is actually an eternal absolute impossibility.

    My work is based on a variation of the null-hypothesis/alternate-hypothesis method as was used by Galileo to refute Aristotelian physics and as was used, via the Michelson-Morley Experiment, to refute the existence of the luminiferious ether.

    It seems to me that: A college freshman physics major understanding of Heisenberg Indeterminacy and a college freshman biology major understanding of the all-or-none-law of synaptic transmission will inform a person of the directly observable fact that the process of synaptic transmission in a neural network of hundreds of millions of synapses has enough iffyness to allow human “mental” creativity and that iffyness also refutes the traditional adversarial legalistic notion of accountability.

    In the search for a way to refute the finding(s) of my research, I have studied:

    Robert Kane, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Free Will, Second Edition, 2011.

    Marmor, Andrei (2012-04-23). The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Law (Routledge Philosophy Companions) . Taylor & Francis. Kindle Edition.

    R. Paul Olson, MDiv, PhD, ed., Religious Theories of Personality and Psychotherapy: East Meets West, 2002

    Richard Swineburne, ed., Free Will and Modern Science, 2011

    Michael S. Gazzaniga, Who’s In Charge? : Free Will and the Science of the Brain, 2011

    Benjamin LIbet, MInd Time : The Temporal Factor in Consciousness, 2004.

    Absent refutation of LIbet’s finding that the “unconscious mind” makes a decision something in the range of half a second before the “conscious mind” becomes aware of the decision already made may be among the most effective neurology-based refutations of the legal fiction of accountability thus far in the annals of science.

    In the total absence of one or more actual demonstrations of the actual happening of an actually avoidable accident or mistake, I shall persist in my autism-based observation that the notion of the actual happening of an actually avoidable accident or mistake is a social-cultural fiction in the form of a scientifically refuted pre-scientific hypothesis, one grounded in the neurological trauma of the inextricable terror of authoritarian coercion.

    Having given a terse (hence, incomplete) account of my conscience and its dictates, perhaps the following will provide a way to understand my conscientious objection to the adversarial system of law and jurisprudence, in terms of my finding its authoritarianism to be no less damaging to individual people than to human society at large, from Marmor:

    Another argument against limited protection of civil disobedience turns on the idea that, in a liberal democracy, the legislature is better placed than individual citizens to account for all of the reasons that bear upon the right guidance to follow (Horder 2004: 224). This assertion is dubious on empirical grounds. It is doubtful that legislatures are invariably better placed than, say, environmentalists or soldiers to account for all of the reasons whether and how to protect the environment or to go to war, particularly when legislatures must contend with well-funded lobbying groups with opposing views. Moreover, even if the legislature were best placed in all cases to assess the relevant reasons, it could still benefit from pointed minority opposition to ensure that it remains alive to all of the salient reasons for and against a given policy. There is a distinctive social value in conscientious dissent and disobedience. These practices contribute centrally to the democratic exchange of ideas by forcing the champions of dominant opinion to reflect upon and defend their views. Following Mill, it may well be that, if there are persons willing to contest a received opinion, we should thank them for it, open our minds to listen to them and rejoice that there is someone to do for us what we otherwise ought to do ourselves (Mill 1859, ch. 2). And when their causes are well founded and their actions justified, these dissenters serve society not only by questioning, but by inhibiting departures from justice and correcting departures when they occur, thereby acting as a stabilizing force within society (cf. Rawls 1971: 383). In performing such services, society’s dissenters and disobedients may prove to exemplify truly responsible citizenship and civic virtue. Richard Dagger argues that: To be virtuous … is to perform well a socially necessary or important role. This does not mean that the virtuous person must always go along with the prevailing views or attitudes. On the contrary, Socrates and John Stuart Mill have persuaded many people to believe that questioning and challenging the prevailing views are among the highest forms of virtue. (1997: 14) It is in this spirit that we should understand the best of conscientious dissent and disobedience (Brownlee forthcoming).

    Marmor, Andrei (2012-04-23). The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Law (Routledge Philosophy Companions) (p. 536). Taylor & Francis. Kindle Edition.

    My continuing to draw attention to the apparent absolute absence of the demonstrated existence of any actually avoidable accident ever having happened is my form of conscientious dissent with respect to social norms that are of apparent pre-historic origin (no one now living had anything to do with the origins of the norms that I find are shatteringly abusive to children, and therefore, no one now living has any liability or culpability for said norms).

    I find that, in accord with Wisconsin statutes, i am a mandatory child abuse reporter. I find that the implementation of Wisconsin statutes denies to me the practical ability to report the child abuse I observe.

    I find that this puts me in an unconscionable moral and ethical conflict, one not of my making and one contrary to my will and in discord with my conscience.

    One accident or mistake actually demonstrated to have both actually happened and actually have been avoidable through having actually been demonstrated to have been avoided, such that the actual demonstration of the happening of the accident did not happen, and I shall revise the dictates of my conscience, and thereby revise my conscience to be in accord with the demonstrated fact of actually avoidable accidents or mistakes having happened.

    Refuted hypotheticals are not demonstrations.

    There are now two “systems” in place and functioning for the solving of human conduct issues.

    One is ancient, superstitious, purely hypothetical, and apparently well-falsified through the findings of biological science (including social sciences as biological phenomena), especially during the last few hundred years. This ancient system is authoritarian, based on such cultural fictions as, “the law is what the court says it is.”

    The other is recent, based on testable, refutable-if-false hypotheses, and includes the findings of biological science, it is authoritative because it welcomes refutation of hypotheses that are falsifiable, and is based on careful, accurate observation, as, “the law is what is observed to actually work in the pubic safety interest through avoiding abuse in every identified form.

    Some years ago, I became a deacon in a church congregation that has a “Christian” tradition; it is my understanding that, in this congregation, of which I am a member, in the absence of formal excommunication from the diaconate, “once a deacon, always a deacon.” I have not been formally excommunicated from the diaconate. That said, as a deacon, I find the orthodox notion of original sin to be of the nature of a contemporary biological heresy, and I do so as conscientious objection.

    To that which abuses children, my conscience unrelentingly objects.

    I object conscientiously because I observe that abused children have a demonstrated proclivity to become parents who abuse their children, such that those abused children have a proclivity to become parents who abuse their children, doing so generation after generation, perhaps until someone objects to child abuse both effectively and conscientiously.

  7. Oh yeah, this has been a big deal around here for awhile.

    I think the only way they will learn with such obviously wrong cases is if the people end up suing the city to get the money they lost when taking off to argue their case. Eventually they’ll get tired of paying that out if people start winning.

  8. Money is the end of all constitutional rights. Speeding tickets are just the beginning.

  9. One small community in our area installed speed cameras. The first year the take from those cameras ran into seven figures. The procedure was tested in court, and the municipality had to refund hundreds of thousands of dollars in ill-gotten gains. The city is now in a world of hurt because the cameras had to be turned off, in addition to the massive refund checks they had to write.

    The state legislature has proposed that any traffic control camera operation has to be housed inside the state, operated and maintained by technicians inside the state. Currently a contractor three-quarters of the way across the US operates them, effectively placing them outside subpoena range if they are contested.

    One local man had his truck stolen, and later received a traffic ticket from Texas, where the truck was recovered after the car thief abandoned it. He tried repeatedly to contest the ticket by certified mail. Those tickets are treated as a civil court matter. They were threatening him with all kinds of sanctions if he did not pay the $100+ ticket. He had about given up, when the local sheriff personally called the chief of police in the Texas city and got the ticket dropped. I also gather our sheriff gave the Texas police chief quite an earful.

  10. “reviews are perfunctory and meaningless”

    Yeah, but police, ya know. Uniforms, guns, points on you license. So shut up, pay up or you might just get tasered.

  11. I hate thse cameras. Thy do not deter people from speeding or going thru red lights. They are simply a money making machine fr municipalities.

  12. Red light cameras are nothing more than money generating lottery for the States and counties. Instead of the lottery playing citizen getting half of the proceeds, the contacting camera company does.

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