Updated at 4 p.m. with comments from red light camera opponents.
A memo to those who have gotten caught on camera running red lights in the city of St. Louis - you'll want to pay those fines, or take them to municipal court.
In a somewhat convoluted ruling, the Missouri Court of Appeals Tuesday said that the city of St. Louis was acting within its powers as a charter city when it authorized red light cameras in November 2005. And while the judges agreed that past violators were not properly informed about their right to a court date, they said that issue must be raised first at the municipal court level. And if you've already paid the fine, you're not entitled to a refund.
"What they did is affirm the status quo," mayoral chief of staff Jeff Rainford said of judges Kurt Odenwald, Clifford Ahrens and Lawrence Mooney. "If you get a red light camera, hopefully, A, you'll learn a lesson not to run red lights anymore and B, you'll take care of it in court." He says the city has since corrected problems with the notice.
The attorney for red light camera opponents, Russell Watters, says he would be appealing the case -a nd would also be looking for ways to help those who paid their fines without being clear about their rights.
"The city's actually been in essence collecting illegal fines from the residents of the city of St. Louis, and anyone else who got these for years, but especially since Judge (Mark) Neill had already ruled they were void," Watters said.
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