Judge upholds citizen's challenge to Red Light ordinance
POSTED: Friday, May 17, 2013 - 6:35pm
UPDATED: Saturday, May 18, 2013 - 3:24am
Las Cruces, NM (KTSM) — A Las Cruces man challenges a part of the city's red light ordinance and succeeds. It's a story we've been following since 2011. However, Cristobal Rodriguez says his battle with the city isn't over. He also claims this is not just about the $100 ticket, it's about upholding the constitution.
When Rodriguez received the citation in 2009 for speeding through Solano and North Main in Las Cruces he was at a loss. "There's no real way to challenge the system other than just pay it," Cristobal Rodriguez, an Assistant Professor at New Mexico State University told us.
When we first spoke with him in 2011, Rodriguez claimed he wasn't driving and he doesn't remember who was. To this day, he says he still can't remember. "That's not for me to say who was driving, it's for the city to prove who was indeed driving," he said.
So the Assistant Professor at NMSU challenged the city and almost four years later, a District Judge agreed with him. "Unless the city provides evidence to who is driving then they just can't automatically make the registered owner liable," he told us.
Judge Manuel Arrieta of Las Cruces upheld Rodriguez's challenge against the city. "He actually looked at the appeals process. Is the appeals process constructional in providing a fair process that is essentially following the 14th amendment?," Rodriguez asked. It's not - according to the Judge's decision.
It's been so long since he received that ticket in the mail that the camera that used to be in the intersection is no longer there. That's because the state asked the city to take them down. However, the fight against the red light cameras, at least the appeals process of it all, is not over yet.
"If I teach this stuff and I try to live by this stuff then why should I just support a system that is essentially not truly fair," Rodriguez told us.
The City' Attorney says he can't comment on pending litigation but they are planning to file a petition against the decision by June 2nd.