Judge rules Cocoa Beach red-light cam contract unlawful

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COCOA BEACH, Fla. —

A Brevard County judge recently ruled that Cocoa Beach's contract with its red-light camera company is unlawful.

Local attorney Sean Cutshall has been fighting red-light camera tickets for some time. He appealed the second ticket Kristi Abbot received and got her citation reduced.

"They would turn yellow and you had minute to either slam on your breaks or go through it," Abbot said.

In another case, Cutshall fought against the red-light camera tickets and it led to a judge's ruling that said Cocoa Beach's contract with American Traffic Solutions violates Florida law.

"I think I was so angry that this was what we were doing as a community," Abbot said.

According to the court documents, Cocoa Beach's contract guaranteed the city would recover enough revenue from the red-light cameras to cover the monthly fee. If enough revenue wasn't coming in, ATS agreed to reduce its monthly fee. The judge ruled that the fee amount cannot be based of the number of tickets issued.

"There's the incentive for American Traffic Solutions to issue citations because if they don't, they aren't getting paid," Cutshall said.

City leaders said they're under contract to keep the red-light cameras running until 2015 and it would cost $200,000 to break the contract early. Cutshall said the ruling will set a precedent for other Cocoa Beach drivers trying to fight their tickets.

A spokesperson for the city of Cocoa Beach said the city received the judge's ruling Tuesday and the city attorney is exploring options. The city attorney will provide the commission with an update Thursday at the regular meeting.

The spokesperson also said the cameras were never intended to be used as a revenue generator, but to protect citizens and visitors.