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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Court Rejects Constitutional Challenge to Red Light Cameras

Like many other Illinois municipalities, the Village of Schaumburg installed automated red light cameras to detect violations at various intersections within the community.  Fischetti was issued a ticket for running a red light in Schaumburg, and challenged the violation on a variety of grounds, including that the Village had no authority to adjudicate the violation through its administrative hearing process and that the Village had violated her statutory and constitutional rights and her right to trial by jury.  The circuit court found for the Village, holding that the Illinois red-light camera law expressly stated that violations could be administratively adjudicated.  The court also rejected her claim that she was entitled to a trial by jury, finding that the penalties were civil in nature, not criminal.

In Fischetti v. Village of Schaumburg, 2012 IL App (1st) 111008, decided March 23, 2012, the appellate court affirmed the trial court's decision rejecting Fischetti's challenge to the Village's red light camera regulations and process.  First, the court held that the Village had authority to use an administrative process for red light camera violations.  Although the court recognized that Section 1-2.1-1 of the Illinois Municipal Code exempts moving vehicle violations from the administrative adjudication process, language added to the Illinois Vehicle Code in 2006 created a civil, noncriminal penalty for red light camera violations and specifically provided for administrative adjudication for these violations.  The appellate court also found no due process violations where the Village notified Fischetti of the violation and offered her the opportunity to contest through mail or at a hearing.  Finally, the court determined that there is no right to jury where the offense is civil in nature, rather than criminal.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink

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