EFF Joins Effort to Restrict Automated License Plate Readers in California

The Ticket Assassin welcomes EFF into the fight against automated enforcement. It only took them twenty five years to join the fray.

One year ago, the California State Auditor released a damning report on the use of automated license plate readers (ALPRs) by local law enforcement agencies that confirmed concerns EFF has raised for years. Police are using these camera systems to collect enormous amounts of sensitive data on Californians’ travel patterns. Yet they often haven’t followed the basic requirements of a 2015 state law, S.B. 34, passed to protect privacy and civil liberties from ALPRs. While the auditor only conducted a deep-dive into four jurisdictions—Los Angeles, Fresno, Sacramento County and Marin County—all were found to be noncompliant. Investigators concluded that the problem was likely widespread among the hundreds of local agencies using the technology.

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Home surveillance camera shows officer lied on report when charging man with major crimes during traffic stop

Watch the video.

The Ticket Assassin repeats his recommendation that you get a dashcam that shows the front and rear of your vehicle. Also, your odds of getting a citation go way, way up if you exit your vehicle during a traffic stop. Don’t do it.

Read (and print out) the Ticket Assassin’s Visor Guide for Traffic Stops.

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LA lawmaker: Bus dash cams could curb parking scofflaws who tie up traffic

More damn cameras.

Pay attention where you park, people. The Ticket Assassin can beat just about any moving violation, but parking tickets are another kettle of fish. They are very difficult to beat.


OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 14: A new AC Transit Tempo bus is seen along International Boulevard in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

OAKLAND, CA – SEPTEMBER 14: A new AC Transit Tempo bus is seen along International Boulevard in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

Drivers who park illegally at bus stops or in transit-only lanes could get ticketed more often if a proposal in California’s state Legislature becomes law.

The bill from Asm. Richard Bloom, D-Los Angeles, allows bus agencies to install automated cameras on the front of their coaches, which could capture the license plate of any car parked in bus stops or dedicated bus lanes.

The vehicle’s owner would get a ticket in the mail and, Bloom and the bill’s supporters hope, learn their lesson not to block the bus.

Those cameras are already in use on some Bay Area buses. AC Transit has issued 588 citations for $110 a pop to drivers who stopped in the bus-only lanes of the Tempo line, which began service from downtown Oakland to San Leandro along International Boulevard last summer, said agency spokesman Robert Lyles.

San Francisco’s Muni buses also have cameras, but state law only allows those two agencies to use the technology, and limits their use to enforcement of the bus-only lanes.

Bloom’s legislation, which is sponsored by the LA Metro transit system, would let any bus agency install cameras and expand where they can be used to include curbside stops. The bill, AB 917, was introduced last month and is now before the Assembly’s transportation committee.

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Reddit Question: Lost all my traffic ticket info??

Q: I scanned and saved a copy of my ticket but you can’t read it unless you embargo it and even doing that the ticket is barely ledgeble. I lost the hard copy along with all the letters O received from the Beverly Hills Court…OMG I don’t know what I should do? I have a court date coming up in the next week or 2. What should I do? Who should I call? I’m freaking out even tho they are fixit ticks only. Any advice would be so appreciated.

A: Look it up on the court website. If you can’t find it, contact the court. Or go down to the court and ask the court clerk to look up the docket number.

Two weeks is plenty of time to submit a written not guilty plea by mail and request a Trial by Written Declaration.

Brutal review of San Diego traffic court

George Mitrovich is having none of San Diego traffic court:

Have you been to Traffic Court? Let me presume you haven’t. Great. Because you don’t want to go there. You will lose. The system is set up for you to lose. And, as systems go, this one is virtually fail safe.

Absent seeing an in-depth study of cases that come before Traffic Court, which I doubt exists, because it’s not a media thing, the odds of you winning are 99-1.

In conversations with attorneys, I have yet to find one who thinks my 99-1 odds are wrong. But let’s say I am slightly wrong, that the odds of a citizen winning in Traffic Court are 90-1 or even 80-1, does that change the inherent inequity? No.

The Traffic Court is the gift that keeps on giving to San Diego. Income derived by the city from fines and penalties in fiscal year 2014 was projected at $29.3 million. In a city with budget issues, $29.3 million, even if only 2.5 percent of the city’s total budget, is hardly insignificant.

And, there are additional benefits derived, specifically by police officers who are paid time and a half while in court – and to me police are always, “officers”, never “cops”, which I deem derogatory.

If police officers are to be paid time and a half, let them be paid time and a half while on active duty, not sitting around Traffic Court waiting for their case to be called; there is sufficient danger for police on the streets – but not likely in Traffic Court.

And no, this isn’t about me, but someone I know who carefully prepared their defense on a traffic violation; a defense with video evidence against the issuing officer, quickly dismissed by the hearing officer at Traffic Court.

The individual who dared to contest the citation was in court for nearly three hours before being heard and dismissed in minutes, guilty as charged. The city had its money. The police officer his time and a half. The citizen was out $332.

In this case there is cause to believe the police officer was not wholly forthcoming in his testimony; a polite way of saying he probably lied about where his black and white was when he decided a traffic violation occurred – a red light infraction on a right hand turn signal, mind you.

Thus I am weighing whether to file, as allowed by California Law, a public records request with the Traffic Court to investigate the ratio of citizens’ success in having their cases dismissed – and specifically to file for the records of the hearing commissioner in the case described, and other cases that commissioner has heard.

If I find I’m wrong, that the ratio isn’t 99-1, that it’s only 90-1 or 80-1, because fair is fair, and I’m nothing if not fair, I will duly report same – and apologize.

(There is a Web site devoted to helping citizens fight traffic courts. It claims to have helped more than 300,000 Californians alone. It’s worth checking out: https://ticketassassin.com/.)

I will end this by disclosing that I was stopped on a Saturday morning in Kensington, not by one, but two black and white police cars. Yes, that is not a misprint, not one black and white, but two (did you know Kensington is a high crime area, I live there and didn’t.)

The officer approached. I rolled down my window. He asked, was I using my cell phone? “No.” “Do you mind if I look at your cell phone?” I wasn’t required to comply, but knowing I had not been talking and driving, I handed it over. He looked at it, seeing no record of a recent call, told me that obviously I had deleted the call. That was irritating

So I told him I had indeed been talking, that while driving I often use the time to practice my remarks for speeches or sermons. I then told him I was speaking that afternoon at the ordination into the Christian ministry of a dear and beloved friend –
Herb Johnson of the San Diego Rescue Mission – and was practicing what I hoped to say on that Holy occasion.

He clearly did not believe me. Annoyed, yes, I was annoyed, it’s an Irish/Serbian thing, I told him, “Officer, you have two choices. Either believe me or write the ticket.” He wrote the ticket.

That was his mistake.

When the case finally came to trial in Traffic Court on Clairemont Mesa Blvd. (you know that ugly, hideous building, with its hearing rooms in trailers), I was prepared.
I had my phone records from Verizon, proving I had not been talking on my cell phone.

The hearing commissioner heard the policeman state his reasons for the citation, and having reviewed my evidence, quickly said, “You have failed to prove your case. I find in the defendant’s behalf.”

Was I elated “justice was served?”

Hardly, I knew I had not been talking on my cell phone, but the police officer, too arrogant and too cynical by half, having stopped me, flashing red lights and all, felt he had to write the ticket.

Even now, three years later, thinking about it while composing these words, it still annoys, even though on the day of the hearing, I had been exceedingly polite to the young officer, because that’s me, but politeness is not what he deserved.

Yes, I won and the cop deservedly lost. But in Traffic Court that day, he was being paid time and a half. No one was paying me for my nearly four lost hours.

Democracy is a great thing. Maybe someday it will come to San Diego’s traffic court.

George Mitrovich is a San Diego civic leader. He may be reached at, gmitro35@gmail.com.

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Lane splitting legalized in California

By Keith Goble, http://www.landlinemag.com/

The practice of driving motorcycles between lanes of California freeway traffic to bypass congestion will soon be legal. California is the only state in the country that allows so-called lane splitting with motorcycles.

State law neither permits nor forbids the practice of riding motorcycles between rows of stopped or slowed traffic.

In 2013 the California Highway Patrol and California Department of Motor Vehicles posted on their websites and provided printed materials informing motorcyclists about the safety guidelines for the practice. The information was soon removed after a complaint that the guidelines could be misinterpreted as enforceable laws.

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Should some Californians lose ‘license to drink’?

By Beau Kilmer, The San Diego Union-Tribune

With traffic deaths climbing in the state, Californians should be thrilled that policymakers in Sacramento are discussing how to reduce impaired driving. This topic may be of special interest to San Diego County, where DUI arrests over the July Fourth weekend were up nearly 25 percent compared to last year.

In California, many efforts to reduce repeat drunken driving focus on the driving — such as restricting when (and if) offenders can drive, increasing penalties for subsequent DUI convictions and requiring offenders in some counties to install an interlock ignition device that prevents an automobile from starting if the driver has been drinking.

California also requires DUI offenders to attend education programs and its judges can order convicted drunken drivers to undergo drunken diverse treatment. A few counties even have designated court dockets that focus on getting DUI offenders into treatment and monitoring their progress.

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Fontana woman thanks police officer who gave her a ticket — and saved her life

By ALEJANDRO CANO, Fontana Herald News

When Officer Luis Valenzuela of the Fontana Police Department stopped Rhonda Lantz in mid-June for not wearing a seat belt, she was not especially pleased. But her feelings about the incident soon changed dramatically.

Lantz was ticketed by Valenzuela as part of the “Click it or Ticket” campaign on June 15. Ten days later, Lantz was involved in a terrible vehicle accident, but she survived because she was now wearing a seat belt — the very tool that she had avoided using previously throughout her life because she said it chokes her.

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Lady Gaga ‘Finally’ Gets Her Driver’s License

Dave Quinn, People.com

Lady Gaga is now a licensed driver.

After “years of driving with a learner’s permit” and “an adult present,” the 30-year-old singer and actress passed her road test in California, she shared on Friday.

“Thelma and Puhleaaaze,” Gaga captioned an Instagram shot of her and her friend, explaining her new license. “I’M FREE. Rollin’ with the homies,” she added.

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