VA Governor vetos bill allowing drivers to appeal red-light camera tickets

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With one single swipe of his pen, Governor Terry McAuliffe this week crushed the hopes of drivers wanting to fight their red-light camera tickets.

The governor vetoed a bill that would have allowed drivers to appeal their red-light camera cases to circuit court, based on fairness alone.

Right now, you have to prove your constitutional rights have been infringed upon, with individual judges making the decision.

“I feel people should fight it; it shouldn't be a cash cow revenue,” said David Butler, a Navy sailor who is the only driver so far in Hampton Roads that succeeded in beating his red-light camera ticket.

He didn’t pay his $50 fine in the mail. Instead he chose to go before a judge at Norfolk General District Court, armed with evidence from a NewsChannel 3 investigation, showing the city lowered yellow light times the day red light cameras went live.

“I went to the judge with your report,” said Butler. “He didn’t believe it was fair and acquitted me of charge.”

After this veto, though, fairness alone isn't enough.

If another driver chooses to go to court, and doesn't win in front of a General District judge that's the last stop on the road to justice.

So, why did Governor McAuliffe veto it? The bill was supported by both Democrats and Republicans in the Virginia House and Senate.

According to the governor, he doesn't want "cases of limited financial impact" clogging up the judicial system.


  • amanda

    I have an idea that wouldn’t “clog” the judicial system… either increase the yellow light time OR completely get rid of the red light cameras… so glad that I don’t live in that area anymore.

  • Scott Shepherd Barnett

    Everyone seems to be on power trip these days, Governors, judges, President, council members all the way down to the dog catchers, or any other individual can not do that, Did they forget they are elected officials and can be removed my vote or force if necessary by the people. These guys and gals who are to big for their breeches just need to really understand who they work for they are employed by the people they harass, intimidate, etc and think no one can touch them. I bet all his tickets have been erased from the books and hidden under the table.

  • Gary Moeller

    Sorry, but McAuliffe doesn’t have the right to refuse citizens the right of due process. I hope someone sues him on those grounds!

  • Aaron

    This has nothing to do with wanting to prevent clogging of the judicial system. This is a frustrated attempt by greedy, corrupt men in high places who are angry that 1 person managed to keep their 50 dollars. What do you expect from a place where yellow light times were shortened? Virginia attempts to get away with taking away as many basic rights as possible. You can be fined in Virginia beach for using profanity. Isn’t that free speech? I was stationed in Virginia and I would never want to go back. They tax you for owning a vehicle but allow the cities and towns to be run down. They call it the state “for lovers” even though there is nothing even remotely romantic about it. I hate Virginia. This article is no surprise to me.

  • Jacqueline Campbell

    “Cases of limited financial impact” that cracked me up! Sorry governor that you don’t view 50 or 100 dollars as a lot of money, to some it makes the difference between groceries for the week and going hungry and to take that money it such a ridiculous manner, which should be outlawed in the first place, and then take away any chance of appealing it? What a joke you are sir.

  • Randy Cadmus

    It’s not the end of the road. It’s unconstitutional. Someone should draft a motion for declaratory judgement in circuit court. Allow the circuit court to deny your lawsuit and then appeal it in the virginia appeals courts. If the Supreme Court of Virginia strikes it down then it becomes a federal question.

  • James Walker

    Governor McAuliffe just became a for-profit business partner with the money grab red light camera companies. He put revenue ahead of fairness, justice, due process, etc.

    This is one of the most despicable vetos ever done.

    James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

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