In Litigation, News & Updates

The Florida Supreme Court will hear cases from the Third and Fifth District Court of Appeal to determine the legality of red light camera ordinances in Aventura and Orlando. The Third and Fifth Districts issued conflicting opinions on whether the red light cameras circumvented Florida’s Uniform Traffic Control Law. In Aventura v. Masone, the Third District ruled that the City of Aventura’s red-light camera program was a valid and enforceable program that was not preempted by state law. Specifically, the Court found that Aventura properly invoked its broad home rule and police powers to regulate red light camera violations on its own roads through the use of red light camera powers, and to issue citations and collect fines under its code enforcement powers. The Court further found that Chapter 316 did not expressly preempt the City’s police powers in this area of traffic regulation. In City of Orlando v. Udowychenko, the Fifth District held that the city’s red light camera ordinance expressly and impliedly conflicted with state law because it enforced conduct specifically prescribed by state law.

Because the Florida Legislature passed a law making red-light camera violations a state violation, any decision by the Florida Supreme Court will not affect tickets issued after July 2010. If the Court rules that red-light camera programs unlawfully preempt state law, the decision would invalidate more than two years of violations issued by Aventura and Orlando.

The Florida Supreme Court has yet to announce a date for oral arguments.

WSH attorneys have extensive experience defending municipalities in challenges to their red-light camera systems. WSH Partner-in-Charge Michael S. Popok and Partner Edward G. Guedes successfully defended the City of Aventura in the Masone case at both the trial level and before the Third District. Our Litigation Division has represented several South Florida municipalities in red-light camera litigation. Our Appellate Practice Group routinely handles constitutional challenges before appellate courts at the State and federal level.

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