Injustice! I get a mail-in ticket for not running a red light

What is it with me and red lights lately?

In the November 17 blog "No Justification for Denver Police Ticket Trap Near DCPA on Saturday Night," I wrote about a traffic ticket set-up at the intersection of Glenarm and Colfax, where three traffic officers lined up to snare people who turned right on red at a spot where the sign forbidding this is virtually impossible to see in the dark. I grudgingly paid that fine, even though I recognized it as a scam. Then, yesterday, I received a notice in the mail fining me "$75 for "DISOBEDIENCE TO TRAFFIC SIGNAL -- RED LIGHT" eight days earlier at 6th and Lincoln. Only problem: I didn't break any laws -- and the city's own video and photographs (like the one above) prove it.

On that Sunday morning, I was heading to the office in my primo 1994 Geo Prizm to pick something up at the office that I'd forgotten to grab during the week. As I approached 6th and Lincoln, the light started to change, and while I initially thought I could make it through in time, I realized otherwise at the last minute and hit my brakes pretty hard -- hard enough to trigger a blinding flash from cameras set up at the intersection. However, I didn't run the light -- a contention confirmed by the photos sent to me with the ticket, as well as a video on the website accessible using a code provided along with the paperwork. The footage shows clearly that I came to a complete stop alongside two other cars in the intersection.

So why the holy hell did I get this ticket? I can only speculate that the triggering mechanism on the camera isn't accurate enough to differentiate between cars that go through the red light and those that stop short but do so suddenly. Whatever the case, I now have to take a "Not Guilty Plea" form to the Denver County Court, Traffic Division, to schedule a "Final Hearing date."

You can bet I'll update my quest for justice here. After all, if I'm going to get a ticket for going through a red light, I'd at least like to experience the pleasure of actually doing so. -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts