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May 27, 2014

East St. Louis caught by its speed cameras

Did East St. Louis learn anything from its red light camera debacle?

The city didn't pay attention to the details on those cameras, and it hasn't on the new speeding cameras on Interstate 64. Apparently the city was so busy looking at dollar signs it didn't see the glaring warning signs that the collection process isn't legal.

The big tip-off: The tickets say the offense is not a moving violation. As St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly points out, how can speeding be a nonmoving violation? The tickets say that the violation won't be reported to the state. But if the purpose is public safety, the city should want the ticket on a driver's record.

Kelly has told the city previously that any tickets have to go through the court system, a basic tenet of our system of justice. But these tickets don't allow drivers their day in court should they want to contest it.

Kelly said the tickets are illegal and is telling people that if they got a ticket on Interstate 64 not to pay it. Get ready for the class-action lawsuit from motorists who sent in their checks already.

East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks insists there's no problem; however, the city has stopped issuing tickets while the problems are worked out. The city should have involved Kelly before the first ticket was issued, not after all the irate phone calls.

The police chief insists this isn't a money grab. But seriously, does anyone believe that?

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