Finally a ruling I agree with from the MN Supreme Court.

Minneapolis' PhotoCop program struck down
ST. PAUL (AP) - The Minnesota Supreme Court struck down Minneapolis' Stop on Red program on Thursday, saying it unfairly forced car owners to defend themselves even if they weren't driving when their vehicle ran a red light.

The decision upholds rulings from the Court of Appeals and a lower court.

The Minneapolis program involved cameras at 12 risky intersections that photographed a vehicle's license plate as it ran a red light. The owners then got tickets in the mail.

The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the program, saying it took away the presumption of innocence for car owners and raised concerns about the use of surveillance cameras.

"It was a patently un-American piece of legislation," said Howard Bass, an ACLU board member.

City officials were disappointed. Mayoral spokesman Jeremy Hanson said the program cut accidents more than 30 percent at monitored intersections.

Writing for the court, Justice Sam Hanson said PhotoCop conflicted with a statute requiring uniform traffic rules statewide and put too heavy a burden on car owners. Justice Alan Page didn't participate in the ruling because one of his relatives got a PhotoCop ticket.

Hanson's opinion also mentioned the accidents and injuries caused by red-light violations.

"Our decision is not meant to minimize those considerations," he wrote, but added that the matter should be left up to the Legislature.

A bill to let all Minnesota cities put PhotoCops at intersections has lost momentum this year, but Jeremy Hanson said Minneapolis will keep pushing for legislative approval.