HOUSTON -- While the red-light cameras have been turned off, a Houston man is launching a federal class action lawsuit against the city and Mayor Annise Parker over tickets handed out during the legal battle.
Last November, voters in Houston and Harris County elected to have the cameras turned off for good. The city turned off the cameras, but a federal judge nullified the vote, prompting Parker to turn them back on in late July.
From July 24 to August 24, the cameras were operational again. The cameras were then turned off again after city council members first passed a non-binding resolution to take the cameras down. They then took it a step further outlawing them in the City of Houston.
During the month the cameras were back on, John Strangmeier and about 15,000 others received tickets that Strangmeier and his attorneys believe were illegal.
The people and the city of Houston and Harris County voted on a referendum to remove or turn off the cameras, I m not sure exactly how it was worded, wasn t honored, said Strangmeier. In a nutshell that s it, nothing more, nothing less.
Strangmeier said the goal of the lawsuit is to prevent him and the roughly 15,000 others from having to pay their tickets, as well as receive some damage money.
But Houston City Attorney Dave Feldman doesn t think it will amount to anything.
This is a frivolous lawsuit and I am confident it will be dismissed. In keeping with the will of the voters, the cameras have been permanently turned off. However, whether it is by a police officer or captured by another mechanism, the City has the authority and legal responsibility to enforce red light violations and collect the fines from those violations. It is irresponsible to argue otherwise, said Feldman.
Meanwhile, the city continues to fight the manufacturer of the cameras, American Traffic Solutions, in court over breach-of-contract claims.