The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Drivers Sue City Claiming Red Light Cameras Are Illegal

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Apr 19, 2012 8:00PM

Two drivers have filed a lawsuit against the city claiming the red light cameras are illegal because the city doesn't have authority to use cameras as traffic enforcement. The lawsuit says the city has claimed "home rule authority" to enforce the "Automated Red Light Camera Program," but the state has never given "home rule authority" to any municipality "to adopt alternative enforcement mechanisms for traffic violations."

“These fines were collected without legal authority and, under principles of equity, the city has no right to retain them in good conscience,” the lawsuit states. The Sun-Times writes:

“[E]ven if the enabling law is valid and does now allow municipalities like Chicago to adopt red light camera ordinances as defined, that law cannot be used to breathe life into Chicago’s void 2003 ordinance or validate Chicago’s Red Light Camera Program, which was unauthorized by law at its inception and has remained so at all time up to this date,” the suit states, which leaves a question about why the city didn’t re-enact the red-light camera ordinance once the state legislature gave it the green light.

If the plaintiffs get a judge to declare the program illegal, the city would have to return all red light camera fines that drivers have paid. It was filed as a class action lawsuit, so other plaintiffs may join if they have received red light tickets.