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News / City Life

Judge rules that all red light and speed camera tickets are 'void'

Judge rules that all red light and speed camera tickets are 'void'
Photograph: Wikimedia Commons

If you've been pinged with a red-light or speed camera ticket since 2003, you could soon be owed a refund. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, a ruling out of the Cook County Circuit Court on Friday found that Chicago denied due process to motorists who were ticketed by the automated cameras, and that those tickets are now void. 

If upheld, the decision would be a near critical blow to the controversial program that's cost Chicagoans millions of dollars over the past decade. It isn't the first time the city's gotten into hot water over the way it's handled the red-light and speed camera programs. Last year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office sued the city's former red-light camera operator, claiming the whole program stemmed from a bribery scandal under Mayor Richard M. Daley's administration. An investigation by the Tribune also found that the city was guilty of shortening yellow light times at red light camera intersections. Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson later argued that the city never shortened yellow light times, it merely changed the standards for ticketing—a completely legal decision made in the name of public safety, according to StreetsBlog Chicago.

All told, the program has been a mess since it launched, and Friday's court case could be a near-knockout blow. The Sun-Times reports that the plaintiffs' lawyer is going to request a class action lawsuit for motorists who were unjustly ticketed since the red light cameras first launched. They're also seeking an injunction that would temporarily stop the city from enforcing outstanding red light and speed camera tickets. 

This comes at a time when the city is strapped for cash and desperate for revenue to pay off massive, state-mandated pensions that it's on the hook for. But it looks like this gravy train could be coming to a screeching halt. 

This post was edited to include additional information about the city's modification of yellow light times.

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Mary Jane T

I still haven't received any monies for the many tickets I received. Where and who do I contact?

Kimberly S

Would LOVE to know how many here have received Speed Camera tickets for speeds of exactly eleven miles/hr over the limit. (That's where the fine goes to $100.) I got one - it looked suspicious. I talked to a co-worker who has had a few - all exactly 11 miles/hr over the limit..... What is going on? 

Nora V

Will this be for the suburbs as well?

Jason B

Booted my car over red light tickets then I could not get an administrative hearing. Many of the red light ticket violations happened when I stopped outside the camera angle and it looked like I didn't come to a complete stop before turning right. I paid over $1,200 in fines including the boot they installed on my car in addition to missing work. Criminals. 

Dana L

I caught one a few years ago, but in Fort Worth, Tx. I wonder if this will go nationwide. I think they're nothing but trouble. Used to be able to count to 5 on yellow but now lucky to hit 3. Sure coukd use my $80 bucks!

Jace B

@Dana L a case in richardson tx has recently been won...using the same legal premise; denial of due process... the guy won damages of 80,000 dollars.  i think the story was in the dallas morning news, not sure. the city of richardson has suspended their red light cameras, the city of garland suspended theirs, and i think arlington also has discontinued use of i think it is having an affect dana.... only thing is; the city of dallas as yet has no plans to suspend theirs. but we can always hope :) 

Sylvia D

How do we go about getting our refund?

David T

They just took my tax return to pay off them tickets that i didn't deserve. 800+

Dan H


Rafael G

How do I get my money back?

Stan S

We'll see. I think this is BS. When do the powers that be ever admit that they're wrong and give money back to innocent people?.... NEVER!!!.... I won't believe it until I see it!

Robin L

The judge got one of the red light tickets. That is why this is now an issue.

Jace B

@Stan S believe it stan;  a case here in texas has been recently won...the guy won damages in the amount of 80,000 dollars. the same premise as this one; denial of due process. it was in the city of richardson tx..and they now have suspended the use of the red light cameras. although they don't have boot enforcement here like chicago, more cities in the dallas , fort worth area are discontinuing use of them... the richardson tx case was the most recent...but i am sad to say, the city of dallas itself as yet has no plans to discontinue theirs... so  i understand your scepticism . you have every reason to doubt...but i thought i would encourage you with news happening down here :) 

Ashley M

I want to know also how to get my money back, please put me in contact with the lawyers with this email address

Jessie L

how do we get our refund? I've paid thousands.. does this include boot money since they boot cars over red light tickets?