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This Page is Culver City Documents - Set # 6

Added 7-15-03, updated 5-24-04:

  Culver City Trial - Settled Statement

Red Light Cameras - Culver City Standard Testimony

The document below is the judge's version of the testimony that occurred during a Culver City red light camera trial in early 2003.  Where there has been a change since 2003, it has been noted in double square brackets [[  ]].  This document was written as part of the appeals process.

Please note that the court policies and procedures depicted below apply only to Culver City tickets and the court in which they're  heard.  Other cities and courts may have very different policies and procedures.

OCR'd from the original document.  Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

This transcript may be freely copied and distributed, so long as credit is given to .

Many other cases and /or transcripts are available - see the
Index to Transcripts, Briefs, and Court Decisions.





PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF                      )         Case No. D1234567

CALIFORNIA                                              )


    Plaintiff                                                     ) ENGROSSED SETTLED STATEMENT

                                                                      )           ON APPEAL

                       v.                                           )


John Smith                                                    )


         Defendant                                           )


Appellant John Smith was cited for violating Section 21453(a) of the California Vehicle Code, failing to stop for a red light, on July 30, 2002. The citation was issued by Sgt. Michael Shank of the Culver City Police Department through the use of an automated red light camera system pursuant CVC §40518.

The Appellant requested a trial by declaration and posted bail of $270.00. [[That was the full amount of the fine, back then in 2003.]]  The Appellant was found guilty and requested a trial de novo. February 13, 2003 was set for arraignment and trial. The Appellant was advised, in writing, of his right to a speedy and public court trial by a judge or commissioner of the Court within 45 days of his arraignment, to confront and cross-examine witnesses called to testify against him, to subpoena witnesses on his behalf at no cost to him, to be represented by an attorney paid for at his own expense, at all stages of the proceedings, not to be a witness against himself. The Appellant appeared for arraignment and trial on February 3, 2003, in Division 3 of the Superior Court Culver City Branch. At that time, Appellant was arraigned and entered a plea of not guilty to the charge.

At the trial Sgt. Wolford of the Culver City Police Department was sworn and testified as follows:

The City of Culver City has automated red light camera systems that capture drivers who enter an intersection while facing a red light. This computer-based radar system takes two photos [[or 12 seconds of video]] of the vehicle. The first photograph is taken prior to the vehicle entering the intersection after the light has turned red. The second photograph is taken a second or so later after the vehicle actually enters the intersection while still in the red phase. Along with the photographs is data information relative to the infraction. The data information has the date, time, and location of occurrence, as well as the vehicle’s speed at the time the photograph was taken, how long the light had been red at the time the photograph was taken, the picture number and finally the elapsed time between the two photographs.

Technicians respond to each intersection between one and three times per week to change the film and insure that all systems are working properly. [[Doesn't apply to video tickets - the digital data moves from the camera to the camera company's facility via a dedicated phone line.]]  The evidence is then marked, logged and batched. Once the photographs are developed, they are digitized and assembled onto a notice of violation. A log file is then associated with the photographs. The log file is a permanent record of the violation information, the system’s internal calibration and a diagnostic inspection.

The City of Culver City had to comply with several vehicle code requirements before the system was implemented:

1.        Public Hearing - A public hearing was held in the Culver City City Council on 2/8/99

2.        Public Announcements - Public announcements were placed in the Times Westside section on 9/13/98, the Times Metro section on 9/1/98, the Culver City Chronicle on 9/9/98, on channels 2, 4, 7, 34, 52, and on the Culver City cable crawler and City web site.

3.        30 Day Warning Period - There was a waiting period between 10/11/98 and through 2/26/99 during which warnings only were mailed.

4.        Posted Signs - Photo enforced signs are displayed in all directions at each automated enforcement intersection in the city to identify the system’s presence.

5.        Notices of Violation - Notices of violation or citations are mailed out within 15 days as required by the vehicle code.

The intersection of East bound Washington and Beethoven is located in the City of Culver City and has such an automated enforcement system that captures drivers who enter an intersection while in the red phase. On July 30, 2002 at 1:52 P.M., the system activated producing the pictures depicted in Peoples 1. (People’s 1. The citation and photographs).

Technicians for Traffic Safety Systems respond to this intersection 2 to 3 times a week to change the film and to insure that the system is working properly. In this case, technicians were at this intersection on: July 30, 2002 in the morning prior to the time of this citation and again on July 31. (People’s 2. The Field Service Technician Inspection Report)

The film is then taken to Traffic Safety Systems where it is marked, logged and batched. After the film is developed the photographs are digitized and assembled. This process is done as standard operating procedure. (People’s 3. The Evidence Tracking Report).

After the film is assembled, the photographs are associated with a log file. Along with the record of the violation information, the log file also records the systems internal calibration and diagnostic inspection. This document shows that the system performed an internal calibration 3 minutes prior to the citation and again 14 minutes after and at both times the system was operating properly. (People’s 4. The Log File).

Directing the courts attention to the television monitor, displayed on the monitor is the negative from the first camera of the system, photo 2 A. The negative depicts a 199x Dodge Mini Van license plate No. ABC123 traveling East bound on Washington Boulevard at Beethoven in the # 2 lane behind the limit line facing a red light. The red light shown on the television monitor is the same as shown in the photograph which is People’s 1. The data strip shows that on July 30, 2002 at 1:52 P.M., Eastbound Washington at Beethoven, the Radar tracking and trigger device was tracking the vehicle depicted in the photograph at a speed of 35 miles per hour when the system activated and the first photograph was taken. The data strip shows that the light had been red for 3 tenths of a second and the elapsed time in the A photograph is 0.0 seconds as it should be.

A vehicle traveling at 35 miles per hour is traveling at 51 .45 feet per second. In 3 tenths of a second a vehicle traveling at that speed will have traveled 15 feet, thus the Dodge Van in photograph 2A would have been an additional fifteen feet further back from the limit line when the light turned red. The amber light at this intersection was 3.5 seconds. [[As of the time of this violation it was 3.5, but in November 2002 it was increased to 3.6.]]  At 35 miles per hour the vehicle would have been an additional 180 feet back when the light turned amber giving the driver a total of 195 feet to bring the vehicle to a safe stop.

This is photo 2B taken by the second camera and the elapsed time in this photo is .9 seconds meaning that this photo was taken 9 tenths of a second after the first photo and the vehicle is well out into the intersection where it would be expected to be 9 tenths of a second later. Now focusing in on the driver, there is Mr. Smith behind the wheel of the Dodge.

After reviewing and analyzing the photographic evidence, as well as, the data information, coupled with my training and experience in the function and operation of the automated enforcement equipment placed at the intersection of Washington and Beethoven, I deduced that Mr. Smith was approximately 17 feet from the limit line when the light turned red and then continued on through the intersection failing to stop for the red light, a violation of Section 21453(a) of the California Vehicle Code.

The Appellant was sworn and testified as follows:

When my witness and I went through the intersection the light was yellow the whole way. The photos could have been tampered with, I used photo shop to make the lights red, yellow and purple. The machine is fallible, all systems make mistakes. Appellant called a witness, Mr. James Jones, who was sworn and testified that he was in the car and the light was yellow all the way through the intersection. Appellant offered the testimony of Mr. Jones’ mother to say that he was truthful but that form of character evidence was not permitted by the Court.

After considering the testimony the Court found the Appellant guilty of violating Section 21453(a) of the California Vehicle Code, failing to stop for a red light. Cash bail was applied to the fine.

Appellant appealed from the judgment of the court and a conference for the preparation of an Engrossed Settled Statement was scheduled for xxxx, at 9:00 a.m., in Division 3.

Appellant filed his appeal based on the following facts:

1.        State law (VC 21455.5) improper sized signs posted at Washington/Beethoven intersection (46% too small). [[At the time of the violation  they were (allegedly) too small.  Larger signs were erected in March 2003.]] 

2.        State law (VC 21455.7) Washington/Beethoven light is too short.  [[As of the time of this violation it was 3.5, but in November 2002 it was increased to 3.6.]]

3.        These two facts were not known to the Defendant/Appellant at the time of the trial.  This evidence should be presented at a new trial. 

The Court does now settle and allow the foregoing Engrossed Settled Statement on Appeal and certifies that the same is a true and correct statement of proceedings had in the above entitled action.


DATED: __________             _______________________________

                                               RALPH A. AMADO


                                               LOS ANGELES SUPERIOR COURT


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