Red-light camera

The attorney who filed a lawsuit against the city of Killeen for its use of red-light cameras is dismissing his suit. For now, that is.

Brett Pritchard filed a lawsuit against the city on April 6 that labeled the cameras as “unconstitutional in many respects.” He received a ticket — which initially costs $75, and has a $25 late fee if not paid in time — and asked that the city dismiss his ticket. City Attorney Kathy Davis told him previously that the city wasn’t going to consider dismissing his ticket, Pritchard said Tuesday.

City officials on Tuesday did not confirm that the lawsuit has been dismissed.

The cameras take photos of cars that run red lights, and a $75 ticket is issued to the registered owner. As part of the contract — which expired Sunday — the city and Redflex had been splitting the revenue.

Now, the city has enlisted an outside law firm to help with the case. Roy L. Barrett from the law firm Naman, Howell, Smith & Lee confirmed that he’s working with the city attorney’s office, but declined to comment any further on the matter. Killeen Director of Public Information Hilary Shine also confirmed that the city is working with the firm, but denied further comment.

“The city does not comment on pending litigation,” she said in an email Tuesday.

By Pritchard’s estimate, an attorney from Naman, Howell, Smith & Lee cost the city between $1,600 and $2,000, based on what they charge and how much time he thinks they worked on the case.

Were Pritchard to pay his ticket, the city would have received either $27, $37 or $47, because of the revenue split with Redflex, the company that administers the cameras. If the city received all of the late fee, it would have taken away $72 at most.

“I can see no rational basis why the city hired outside counsel, spending my tax money, to get the same result I offered last week,” Pritchard said.

In July 2016, Fort Worth-area resident Russell Bowen went to court against the city of Richardson over an unpaid, $75 red-light camera ticket when he was not allowed to register his vehicle.

The judge ruled in his favor and awarded him $27,500 in attorney fees.

Two weeks later, Richardson announced the suspension of its red-light camera program. That ruling is currently being appealed.

Pritchard said that if that ruling is upheld, he will file another lawsuit against the city.

“I will sue the city for millions of dollars if the Richardson case is upheld,” he said. “On behalf of all the citizens that got tickets.”

254-501-7552 | sullivan@kdhnews.com

(1) comment

jcwconsult

Cities like Killeen fight really hard to prevent even one court win against their predatory for-profit ticket camera rackets. Because even one win can bring the entire racket down like a house of cards - possibly with class action suits that ask for full refunds of thousands of racketeering tickets. Slowly, all over the country, the for-profit ticket camera rackets are being viewed as the true rackets they are, and the public is "not amused". The days of these ticket camera rackets are numbered, but the cities that use them will make the burials for them be postponed as long as possible.

James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

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