Did a Broward County Judge Just Decriminalize Red-Light Running?

Broward County Judge Fred Berman has declared police officers writing tickets to drivers running red lights is unconstitutional -- at least in his court.

Berman's ruling is in response to red-light cameras, saying it's not fair for police and cameras to co-exist in ticketing drivers for running red lights because they both carry different penalties.

The judge cites the double-standard as a violation of both the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution, which has already caused a stink over at the attorney general's office.

"In our view, Judge Berman did not apply the appropriate standard of review," attorney general's spokeswoman Jennifer Krell Davis told Local 10. "From here, we will be weighing all of our options to challenge his ruling, including an appeal to the Circuit Court."


Berman's ruling could lead to a stampede of traffic-ticket lawyers in his courtroom, or even throughout the courthouse to see if other judges follow suit on the decision.

His reasoning seems to be entirely rational though -- if you're caught running a red light by a cop, you'll likely have to pay a fine and points will go against your license. For a traffic camera, the fine is significantly lower and no points go against your license.

Berman says the law can't go both ways.

If his ruling catches on in the county, expect cities to make a choice -- either leave the red-light cameras in, or expect the courts to throw out any red-light-running tickets written up by cops.

As a public service announcement from New Times, we still recommend that you not run through red lights to find out what happens.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley