A Lynnwood traffic-enforcement camera. (Dan Bates / Herald file)

A Lynnwood traffic-enforcement camera. (Dan Bates / Herald file)

Lynnwood prevails in red-light camera court case

A judge found no proof that automated camera tickets violated the plaintiffs’ civil rights.

LYNNWOOD — A federal judge has dismissed a man’s lawsuit that claimed Lynnwood’s traffic-enforcement cameras violated his civil rights.

Ian Jordan, of Lake Forest Park, did not have legal standing in the case, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones wrote in his decision. Jordan did not prove that he had suffered harm nor was he in danger of being harmed, the judge found.

Jordan had asked the court to refund thousands of traffic-enforcement tickets issued by Lynnwood in certain years. Federal court was not the appropriate venue for some of Jordan’s arguments, because those citations had been resolved in Lynnwood Municipal Court, the judge said. He also was not convinced that the city’s ticketing system violated anyone’s rights.

Jones’ nine-page decision was issued Jan. 22. In recent weeks, Jordan’s attorney and city officials did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

In court papers, the city sought the dismissal, calling Jordan’s claims “illogical” and “meritless.”

The lawsuit was prompted by Jordan getting a camera ticket in 2016. He was accused of running a red light at 196th Street SW and 36th Avenue W. He later paid a mitigated $85 fine.

In the lawsuit, he raised questions about whether the city was following a state law that required it to post the citation and crash data for intersections with enforcement cameras. The city since has started doing that, acknowledging Jordan’s reminder. The available reports now include 2017 as well.

The city told the judge that Jordan failed to link the previously missing reports, which it described as “an alleged technical violation,” with a constitutional issue.

Lynnwood has held a contract with the maker of the cameras since 2006. The contract is based on an agreement between the same company and the city of Seattle.

At recent meetings, the Lynnwood City Council has been discussing what to do pending the future of Seattle’s contract. Seattle has adopted a number of short-term extensions, the most recent of which goes through 2018, documents show. The same is true for Lynnwood.

The red-light camera contract last was listed on the Lynnwood City Council agenda for a Feb. 21 work session. The school-zone cameras are under a separate contract.

Both kinds of the devices are profitable.

From 2007 through 2015, the city collected $19.2 million in gross camera revenue. It pays about $648,000 annually to lease the devices, according to documents recently provided to the council.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @rikkiking.

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