Issaquah named in traffic camera lawsuit
June 30, 2009
A pair of class-action lawsuits target Issaquah and more than a dozen other Washington cities for a key piece of their law enforcement arsenal: traffic cameras.The lawsuits accuse officials in Issaquah and other cities of entering into deals with camera manufacturers in order to turn a profit. Attorneys for plaintiffs in both cases want officials to refund fines collected as a result of violations caught on camera.
Issaquah Police Department Patrol Cmdr. Scott Behrbaum, who oversees the camera effort, said city officials had not yet been served with the lawsuits.
“We’ll have to wait and see,” he said.
Drivers ticketed after being caught by traffic cameras filed a pair of lawsuits last week. The plaintiffs said the infractions are illegal because state law requires fines for infractions caught on camera to be less than or equal to parking tickets issued by the same agency.
Bainbridge Island attorney Rob Williamson and Seattle attorney Edith Bowler filed the initial lawsuit June 23 in King County Superior Court. Attorneys for The Rosen Firm, of Seattle, filed the second lawsuit June 25 in King County Superior Court.
In addition to Issaquah, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma and 14 other cities are named in both suits.
When officers activated the Issaquah cameras in March, the devices were touted as a way to improve safety near four schools. The cameras were installed along Second Avenue near Clark Elementary School.
Drivers speeding in the 20 mph school zone face a $124 fine. The infraction is a noncriminal offense — similar to a parking ticket — that will not be included in the driver’s record.
The cameras are activated weekdays from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. The devices are not used during school breaks and holidays.