TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS
Superior Court of the State of California
For the County of Los Angeles, Beverly
Hills Branch Court
Hon. Hugh Bobys, Commissioner
Thursday, June 19, 2003
THE COURT [Los Angeles Superior Court
Commissioner Hugh Bobys]: Once Deputy
Porche has completed his presentation, the court will inquire if anyone
wishes to attend traffic school. And at
that point if you wish to attend you should have a pretty good idea of
why you were issued your citation. If you
want to go to traffic school and you're eligible all you have to do it
ask, and off you will go, to go to traffic school.
when you complete traffic school the citation is dismissed, you don't
have a point on your record, and if it's a first time 8-hour traffic
school, it's also masked on your record so that your insurance company
doesn't find out about the violation. So,
you have that opportunity at that point to go to traffic school, no
You're entitled to go to first time
traffic school as a matter of right, once every 18 months. And
the 18-month period is measured between the dates that you received
your citation. So if you haven't been to traffic school on another citation
that was issued less than 18 months before the ticket you're appearing
on, you're eligible for a first time 8-hour traffic school, and that's
your right to request that - before trial.
[Second Traffic School]
You also may be eligible - it's solely
at the court's discretion - for a second time 12-hour traffic school.
The second time 12-hour traffic school
is not an automatic right. You don't have
right to that at all, and it doesn't have the same benefits as a first
time traffic school, in that although the citation is dismissed when
you complete it and you don't have the point on your record, it's not
masked, so that your insurance rates might still go up. You
might even say probably will still go up because most insurance
companies do not recognize the second time 12-hour traffic school; and
since they know you received the ticket they will raise your rates. But again, that's between you and your insurance
company. I'm pretty lenient about allowing
people to attend that traffic school if you ask at the end of Deputy
Porche's presentation. So, there's traffic
After that, when we've competed that,
those of you who wish to go to traffic school will be out of here and
[The Trial Process]
Then we will conduct the rest of your
trial for those of you who remain. We will
be calling you up individually at that time for the balance of your
When you come up, Deputy Porche will
be making the second part of his testimony. At
that point he'll be testifying to specifics relating to your violation
- the date, time, intersection, direction of travel, the various
elements that are specific to your case.
Once he's completed that portion of
his testimony, you will have the opportunity first to voice or express
any objections that you may have to any of the testimony that has been
previously given. Because of the way we
handle these trials you will not have the opportunity to object while
Deputy Porche is making his presentation. So
the court deems that all objections are reserved. That
means that you may make them when you come forward. And
if your objection or objections are sustained, you may make a motion to
strike and the court, if it feels it is appropriate, will strike that
testimony which was found to be objectionable and it will be as if that
testimony was never given. So you can make
that motion if you wish.
Following that you will have the
opportunity to cross-examine Deputy Porche. And
that means that you'll be able to ask him any questions that you'd like
to ask him relating to any of the
that he will have given up to that point in the proceedings this
morning. Cross-examination is your right,
you don't have to cross-examine if you don't, but if you do elect to
cross-examine, please do not argue with the deputy. And
try to keep your questions intelligible, short and to the point, so
that we can all understand what they are.
Once you have completed your
cross-examination you'll have the opportunity to present a defense. That means that you can give up your right to
remain silent and you may testify if you so desire. If
you have any witnesses here, you can bring them forward, and we will
hear what they have to say. If you have
exhibits that you've brought, you can show them first to the deputy,
and then the court will view them.
Let me speak very briefly about
defenses in these cases. There is one
defense that I call "the always win never lose defense," pretty much an
absolute defense in these tickets, and that defense is if you're not
driver of the vehicle. Deputy Porche has
two things that he has to prove to this court, by proof beyond a
reasonable doubt this morning in each of your cases. First,
he must prove that a vehicle went through a red light. Second,
he must prove that you, the person cited, were the driver of
the car. The primary way that he proves
that you were the driver is with the photograph or the photographs. If the photographs are not photographs of you
driving the car he has not met his burden of proof, you're not guilty,
end of case, we don't waste any time on those cases. So,
if that is the situation in your case, if you are not the driver,
hopefully you may already have told Deputy Porche that. Because
once again, that's one absolute defense to use in these citations.
Are there other defenses, you might
ask. And I will tell you that this court
does recognize equity or fairness defenses, and they usually involve
situations which are apparent in the photographs that one might
consider, perhaps, a valid excuse or reason for failing to stop at a
light. They're usually apparent in the
photographs, I'll tell you that.
That's about it. Does
anyone have any questions about the procedure, only, this morning? No,
Deputy Porche, do you have any motions?
[Deputy Porche's Standard
DEPUTY PORCHE [Los Angeles County
Deputy Sheriff Zenon Porche]: A
motion to dismiss against Marco [ ], identification.
THE COURT: Marco
[ ], you're excused sir. Matter is
If you'll just listen carefully to
Deputy Porche now, and please follow along on your own documents.
DEPUTY PORCHE: I'm
Deputy Zenon Porche. I'm the photo
enforcement coordinator for the City of West Hollywood and I've been in
that position since May of 1999. Since
I've issued over 80,000 citations and handled over 3600 court cases.
I was formally trained at the then
Lockheed Martin facility in San Diego where I was familiarized with the
system and I've subsequently taken three courses in the photo
[camera brand name] at their technical facility in Arizona.
I'll start by telling you that it is
Vehicle Code Section 21455.5 that gives government entities the
authority to utilize an automated system to enforce Vehicle Code
21453(a) - that’s running a red light and that's why you're all here.
[Criteria the City Must
Before they can do that there's
several criteria they must meet. One of
which is that they must work in conjunction with law enforcement. That's where I come in. Either
myself or another officer will review each and every citation. At which time we will approve that citation or
disapprove that citation. No one can tell
us to approve or disprove any citations. We
operate the system and we are the ultimate authority.
Another piece of criteria that cities
must meet. They must hold what's called a
public hearing. The City of West Hollywood
held its public hearing in March of 1999. Here's
a certified record from the City of West Hollywood certifying that that
event did in fact take place.
Another piece of criteria they must
meet. They must notify their residents
the system is in fact coming to town. The
City of West Hollywood chose to make up information pamphlets and sent
them to each and every resident. Here's a
certified record of the type of pamphlet that went to residents. If you are a resident of the
City West Hollywood you should have received one.
In addition to this notification there
were two news conferences on channel 4, one on channel 2, channel 34,
channel 9, MTV news, and news briefings
released to the local City of West Hollywood paper, the LA Times, and
the Beverly Press.
Another piece of criteria they must
meet - they have an option - they have to post signs that look like
here. It's a white sign, with a tri-faced
traffic signal on it, "photo enforcement" inscribed beneath. They have an option, they can post
at all entrances to the cities that have photo enforcement available or
they can post these signs at all approaches to intersections that are
enforced by the system. The City of West
Hollywood chose to post these signs at all approaches at the enforced
intersections. Here's certified records
from the City of West Hollywood certifying that that work was completed
in a timely fashion. The first phase was
completed April of 1999 and second phase in May of 2000.
The last piece of criteria they must
meet, they must hold what's called a warning period. A
thirty-day warning period. That means that
for a period of 30 days all those caught by the system that are
perceived to have run a red light would simply receive a warning notice
as opposed to a citation with a fine attached.
In May of 1999 the intersection of
Crescent Heights and Fountain was fully implemented. All
those caught by the system to have run a red light simply received a
warning notice as opposed to a citation with a fine attached. Here's a certified
record from the City of West Hollywood which accounts for the citations
issued during the warning phase.
Now currently we contract with a
vendor called ACS. They're the contractor. They're required to do several things. One of which, they're required to come out and
do the structures, they'll actually [inaudible] the intersections,
they'll erect the poles.
They'll place down the loops. Loop detectors are the sensors that detect
your vehicle, and I'll explain to you in more detail what their role is.
Eliminates Some Citations]
They're required to process citations. What I mean by
processing the citation is, I set forth parameters as far as the
citations that I'm going to approve. They
apply my parameters to all the citations. They
do a viewing. Once they've applied my
criteria, they'll do an elimination process. The
remaining citations are then forwarded to me at which time I will
either approve those citations or disapprove those citations.
They're currently required to go out
three times a week for maintenance. What I
mean by maintenance is if you examine the packets I handed out to you,
you'll see that there are two technician logs attached. They
should be dated on or about the day you received your citation. After you examine those logs you'll see that
there's a list of responsibilities attached to [inaudible]. I'll briefly take you through the
responsibilities of a technician.
Upon arriving at the location, they
have to insure that those signs are visible and posted. They're
going to examine what we call the camera housing, and make sure there's
no damage to it. The camera housing is
encloses the camera that photographed you. It
sits on top of a ten-foot pole. They're
going to lower this camera housing, open the rear, at which time
be viewing the display. At that time
they'll immediately test those cameras and start filling out those logs
that are in your possession. They're going
to press what's called a function key, which is going to give them a
number of information. They're going to
get date and time; they're get to get any errors in the system, the
number of passes.
They're going to make sure that the
signal that that camera's monitoring is synchronized with the camera. They're going to make sure that the loops that
detect your vehicle are in good communication with the camera that
your photograph. On the back of this plate
is what is called loop detectors. As the
cars pass over those loops, there's little lights that flicker. If there's something wrong they will remain
They will remove and replace what's
called the memory card and the film. The
memory card is digitized information that relates to all your
violations. They will remove those items
and replace them. After servicing they're
going to re-test the
Handling of Tickets]
The memory card and the film are
transported to the ACS facility and stored in fireproof secured
cabinets. The logs in your possession are
only copies. The originals are sent to my
office where I
will examine them, verify them, sign them, file the originals away, and
make copies. That's what you have in your
In addition to the processing done by
the vendor, we do our own processing in West Hollywood. We
verify all of our own citations. We
compare numbers at the end of the month. [Inaudible]
citations I have approved and the numbers even match up.
In addition to the servicing done by
the technicians, myself or another officer will visit each and every
camera 2-3 times per month at which time we will do our own testing and
verifying all the camera settings. If
there's a problem and we're capable of repairing that problem we'll go
ahead and take care of it. If not, we'll
contact the vendor.
Now, currently the system utilizes a
self-calibrating system - its own internal checks-and-balances system. What that means is, internally it's checked by
a 1 MHz processor and a 8 MHz crystal. They
check each other. They make sure that
they're within specification. In
other words, that 8 MHz processor is making sure that that 1 MHz crys
That 8 MHz crystal's making sure that that 1 MHz processor is
processing at 1 MHz and vice versa. If
there's a problem, if they're out of synchronization, they have to be
accurate to 1/1000 of a second. If they're
not, the system is designed to shut down, it's not going to work. If there's any problem at all, everything isn't functioning appropriately, the system is going to shut
down, it's not going to work, you're not going to get a photograph.
[The Loops, and Triggering
Currently the system we utilize - I'm
getting into how your photographs are taken - we use what
is called ground inductive loops.
means that embedded into the asphalt, (inaudible) inches deep, are
electrical wires, coiled around 3 times, and embedded. There's
two loops, or sensors, in each direction of travel, one before the
other. Typically speaking, as you're
approaching the intersection, the first loop you're going to come
is going to be before the intersection, before that limit line where
you're supposed to be stopping, going to be approximately 15 feet,
that's typical, 15-16 feet, then the second loop is going to be 3-5
feet from that one.
After these loops are coiled around
and embedded, they are then transferred to the other side - they are
laid underground and go to the opposite side of the street, where
they're connected to a power source. They
receive a constant flow of electricity. What
happens is, as these electrical wires receive electrical flow, they
form an electromagnetic field. What
is, as cars pass over the electromagnetic field, the field is broken. That's how the system knows your car is
coming, is it senses that disturbance in the electromagnetic field.
However, the systems can only take a
photograph of you if the light is red. Why? Because the camera that photograph you only
receives a signal from the red light to go active to take a photograph
under certain conditions. That's it. Can't take a photograph on a green, can't take
a photograph on a yellow. To suggest that
this system is going to take a photograph on a green light or a yellow
light is like saying that when you turn on the bathroom lights, your
kitchen lights are going to come on. Same
principles are at work here, doesn't work any other way.
Now what happens when you're in
violation, and it snaps you? These chairs
are going represent the loops embedded in the ground. I'm
traveling towards you. This white line,
this border between us, is going to be the limit line where you're
supposed to stop, which is the first white line you're going to come
across. (Inaudible) we're going to have
the crosswalk, and then we're going to have the intersection. And these loops are before that.
First of all the light has to be red
and you have to be behind these loops or sensors. Once
the light turns red and you continue to travel, you're over this loop
here, the first sensor. The system detects
your car. As you continue to go forward
between the two loops, the system performs a time-distance-speed
calculation. It says you're traveling fast
enough where in all likelihood you're going to run that red light. So what happens, it will snap your photograph
right here, as you begin to cross over that second loop, which is where
all of you are in that first photograph [inaudible].
You haven't committed a violation at
that point. You are all five to six feet
from the limit line where you're supposed to stop.
light is red, but no violation, you have yet to cross the limit line. Incidentally, this will snap your picture based
on the speed, 15, 18, 19 mph. We set that. We set those speeds, because if we didn't set
those speeds, we would photograph everybody. So
we set the speed at which we believe in all likelihood you're not going
to stop within this proximity to the limit line. OK?
Granted some people manage to stop,
some people manage to stop, they're fine, manage to stop, come to a
screeching halt, there's no violation. The
photograph will be taken, but we need two photographs. So
what happens is, based upon your speed the system estimates how long
it's going to take you to travel what we call the interval distance. That's going to place you into the
intersection. That's going to vary from
one intersection to the next, just like the speeds do. Let's
just take 10 meters.
Let's say, during this process here,
going over the loops, we estimate your speed at 30 mph. Let's
say it's a ten-meter interval. Based on 30
mph it's going to take that car one second to travel ten meters. So what happens is, it automatically snaps a
second photograph after one second has expired. So
if you continue to travel we are going to see that you continued to
travel, it's going to place you [inaudible] in the intersection. Therefore, a violation has occurred. We have one [photograph] against a red light
before you crossed the white line and a second one as you traveled in
This is the way it happens
over-and-over again at every single intersection. This
is the only way it happens. This is the
only way it can happen. Nobody is ever
going to prove that it has happened or can happen any other way. OK? Right over
that loop. OK?
[The Data Boxes]
Now, you've all received your
photographs in the mail. I'm sure you've
noticed the little black boxes. These are
called data boxes. What happens is,
underneath the camera that photographs you there's a second shutter. It's called a data box shutter. What
happens is as your photograph is being taken, that data box shutter
will simultaneously open and photograph the data box which lies
underneath that data box shutter. And
it will superimpose its image on your violation photograph as your
violation is occurring, and tells information about your violation. And I'm going to go over those numbers with
Let's go to the first photograph, the
one before you crossed the limit line, against that red light. Up here, you'll have the date and the time. The day and the month will be flipped around
because it's European style.
Next to that, down here, it says 2Y35. The 2 tells us the loop number that detected
your car. It's not the lane number. But you can refer to it as the lane number. It so happens that loop numbers and lane
numbers correspond. The number 1 loop is
the number 1 lane and the number 2 loop is in the number 2 lane.
Next to this is Y35. This
system times the yellow over and over again just as with the red, and
it places that number on the data box. This
system does not determine the duration of the yellow light. Yellow
lights, simply measures the existing yellow light.
all of our yellow lights are set by the traffic engineers of the city,
they're set to 3.5 or 3.6 seconds, depending on the location.
Even though we have a light set at
let's say 3.6 secs, every yellow light has a plus or minus of one tenth
of a second per cycle. This system will
measure that. So in other words, we have a
light set at 3.6 seconds, sometimes it'll read 3.7, sometimes it'll
3.5. It will pick that up. Some
people like to suggest that they had a short yellow, 2 seconds or
whatever it may be. This system will pick
that up. It will show that.
Next to that, R002. This represents the red. This tells how long the light was red by the
time that first photograph was taken. In this photograph it is two tenths of a
second. The large numbers here represent
whole seconds, the small numbers represent tenths of a second. That tells you how long this person - in other
words - back here somewhere before these loops, the light turns red,
continue to go, the car is picked up, the photograph is taken, that
tells how long the light had been red by this point. This
photograph is two tenths of a second.
Next to that, 014, this is the number
of violations on this roll of film.
Next to that it says 3111, that's
simply the location code of the camera that photographed you. All of your violations are going to begin with
31. Depending on the location. (Inaudible.) The
last two digits are going to be different. Maybe
3112, 3141, 3142, depending upon the location.
[Data Box, Second Photo]
That's it for the first photograph. Let's go to the second photograph. The numbers have changed.
you have date and time. Once again, second
photograph, this is you in the intersection.
Here where there was once a Y there
are now whole seconds, and this is broken down into hundredths of a
second. This is the time difference
between the two photos.
Next to that, R014, still representing
the red. This is the total time length the
light had been red, or from the time the light turned red to the time
this photograph was taken. This photograph
says 1.4 seconds.
14 right here - the number of
violations on this roll of film. These
numbers should correspond from one photograph to the next.
Next to that, it says V=29. As I mentioned to you, this system performs a
time-distance-speed calculation, and records your speed on the data box. However, this is the speed that you were
traveling as you traveling over the loops, right here, in the first
photograph. It's not the speed you're traveling here [in the second
photograph]. We don't know how fast you're
traveling here. You may have sped up, you
may have slowed down.
That's it for the data box. Now in closing -
All of our intersections are
configured with what I call a certain amount of grace distance. That means that if you're within a certain
amount of distance from the limit line to the leading edge of the loop,
if you're within that distance, the light turns red, the system can't
pick you up. Typically it's 15 feet, we
have locations it's actually 19 feet, it's northbound Fairfax and
If you're within that distance, let's
say you're right here, within 14 feet of this limit line, the light
turns red [inaudible], it can't pick you up. Why? Because it cannot perform the
time-distance-speed calculation on you. Has
to get clear. The light has to be red and
it has to go over. Has to read that car,
do an appropriate time-distance-speed calculation, because the profiles
[inaudible] they have to match.
In addition to this, with the
exception of the Santa Monica location and northbound Fairfax at
Fountain, we've programmed all the cameras to have a tenth of second
delay. That means that a tenth of a second
is going to expire before the camera systems are going to go active. How does that translate into this?
Let's say you're within 18 feet of the
intersection, the first loop, [inaudible] 15 feet, the light turns red,
and you're traveling 35 mph, that means you travel 5 feet in one tenth
of a second, the light goes red, by the time that tenth of a second has
expired, you've traveled 5 feet, that's going to place you on top of or
beyond this first loop. [Inaudible] since
it can't do an appropriate time and speed calculation.
In actuality you all have a one tenth
of a second delay. In other words, the
first photograph isn't going to be taken unless the tenth of a second
delay has expired at any intersection. So
When I say we have it set to a tenth of a second delay, you actually
have two tenths of a second, because that first photograph is going to
be taken two tenths of a second or better.
So, everybody has a tenth of a second
delay built in, just that some are just set to zero. The
first photograph in any place can only be taken after one tenth has
Now, some of you will look at your
photographs, and see the proximity you're within the limit line, 5 or 6
feet, and see two tenths of a second has expired, and say: "Gee
I can't stop in that time, look at the time see [inaudible], I can't
stop in two tenths of a second."
Well, we know you're not going to
stop, that's why we photographed you. But
in two tenths of a second [inaudible], if you're traveling 35 mph, you
traveled 10 feet, that's going to place your car back here somewhere,
approx 25 feet from the intersection. If
you're traveling 35 mph, you're 25 feet, [inaudible] you're not going
stop either. But you have to take into
consideration that before that light turned red, you had that 3.5 or
yellow light and it's going to place your car 200 feet on the other
side of the intersection. Giving all of
plenty of enough time to stop [inaudible]. Even
if you don't, you have a little a little grace area that it's not going
to pick you up.
Now does anybody have any questions?
grace area doesn't apply to Fairfax/Fountain?
DEPUTY PORCHE: You
have 19 feet there. Northbound Fairfax and
asking about that 100-millisecond grace period.
DEPUTY PORCHE: It's
there, we have it set to zero.
there is no grace period on that and the Santa Monica lights?
DEPUTY PORCHE: Mechanically
speaking, the way the software is written, if it's set to zero, it
doesn't see zero. That means the first
photograph has to be taken after a tenth of a second. It's
written in software. There's "greater than" values. Software
is just like any other mathematical equation.
In other words, whatever your delay is
set, the camera says what's greater than that is when I want to start
photographing. If we have it set to zero,
the next number it's going to see is one. So,
if we have it set to one, the next number it's going to see is two. And that's how
question is then, what was the difference between the northbound
Fairfax and the Santa Monica lights and the other lights?
DEPUTY PORCHE: I'm
the one that took the delay out. [Inaudible.] We don't put a tenth of second --
THE COURT: Sir,
is that because your citation was issued at that intersection?
THE COURT: Then
you can ask that during the rest of your trial, when you cross-examine
DEPUTY PORCHE: Any
is the 2Y, the unit before the Y?
DEPUTY PORCHE: It's
going to be a one or a two. That's the
loop number that detected your car. Just
reiterate, the number 1 loop's the number 1 lane, the number 2 loop's
number after the Y, 3.5 or 6 or 7, tells how long the light was yellow
before it turned [inaudible].
saying that most of the intersections with cameras are 3.6 seconds?
DEPUTY PORCHE: 3.5
or 3.6, depending on where they are.
said that it does a time and speed calculation. That
speed is programmed into the camera?
DEPUTY PORCHE: It
does a time-distance-speed calculation, and then we say if it's
traveling X speed, we take a photograph. We
can set that to zero too, but everybody that will come to a stop at the
red light is going to be photographed, so we have to make a cutoff
it the same speed across the board?
DEPUTY PORCHE: Like
I said, 15, 18 or 19 mph depending on the intersection.
if somebody's approaching at 5 mph, and runs the red light, his
picture's not going to be taken?
DEPUTY PORCHE: Not
going to be taken.
THE COURT: OK. Does anybody want to go to traffic school at
do [gives name].
we still go to trial, can we still get traffic school?
THE COURT: No
guarantees, basically at my sole discretion.
[Two more people ask for traffic
[The judge steps off the bench for a
THE COURT: Is
there anyone else that wanted to go to traffic school? No? OK.
[The court issues bench warrant for
O.R. defendant who failed to appear, then calls first case.]
[To Be Continued…]
[Details of some of the cases will be
added here, later.]