Video: Photo radar tickets aren't going to state legislators

Categories: News, Politics

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Photos, video below.
The cynics among us have long believed that elected officials tend to be treated better by the law than the rest of us -- and now, they have more evidence to bolster that theory.

A new report reveals that state legislators are exempted from the current photo-radar system because of what's described as a glitch in the system -- and those very same legislators appear to be responsible for fixing it.

This isn't the first time such a driving-related inequity has surfaced.

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Laura Bradford.
In January 2012, as we reported at the time, Representative Laura Bradford was stopped for making an illegal in the vicinity of the State Capitol -- and not only did the officer smell alcohol on her breath, but he also found a gun, the possession of which is a misdemeanor when the person in question is under the influence.

Rather than booking Bradford, however, the cop took an entirely different course of action seemingly dictated by the legislative license plates on her vehicle. After phoning a sergeant to ask for advice, he called a cab for Bradford and even retrieved the gun for her.

Bradford didn't skate: The officer spoke up, and the Denver Police Department subsequently admitted that the entire incident had been mishandled. This time around, though, there's nothing the cops can do about a situation that smacks of blatant favoritism.

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Senator Mike Johnston's legislative plate.
The scoop comes from CBS4's Brian Maass, who reveals that numerous photo-radar tickets racked up by state senator Mike Johnston, whose legislative license plate reads "33," were instead sent to a woman with a Colorado vanity plate bearing the same digits.

But this wasn't a simple mix-up. As Colorado Department of Revenue spokeswoman Daria Serna confirms, legislative plates are registered to a person rather than the vehicle, so they're not in the Department of Motor Vehicles system. Hence, legislators aren't sent tickets related to them.

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Johnston with Brian Maass.
To his credit, Johnston sat down with Maass to discuss the matter. During their conversation, he said he'd contacted the woman who received tickets intended for him and sent her money to cover the cost.

Johnston also makes it clear that the law as written isn't fair and suggests that something needs to be done to close the loophole -- and his comments may actually be sincere.

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Photo by Mark Manger
Then-principal Mike Johnston with Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.
A former Westword cover subject, Johnston went from being an innovative principal praised by Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign to a lawmaker behind ideas like the Summer of Safety program.

In other words, he seems like precisely the kind of person who would actually support legislation to remove a special privilege that benefits him. But whether enough of his colleagues will join this effort is another question. After all, who wouldn't love to have a license to speed?

Here's the CBS4 report.

More from our Politics archive: "Laura Bradford: Denver Police apology for special treatment step toward openness."

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17 comments
Moonstuck
Moonstuck

And not a single fuck was given that night

DougHubka
DougHubka

This is a big time News Story ?  "To his credit, Johnston sat down with Maass to discuss the matter. During their conversation, he said he'd contacted the woman who received tickets intended for him and sent her money to cover the cost.

So the issue has been resolved . So what's the big story about other than to do a typical bash the government hit job. Paula Woodward must be proud that her legacy lives on.

Mike Scott
Mike Scott

this whole thing is so deeply infuriating on so many levels

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Fun Facts --

The PRIVATE for-profit Photo-radar system does NOT even issue or mail out impotent "tickets"
-- solicitations for suckers -- if the photo is a "gender mismatch" to the registered owner. So if you and your husband/wife permanently switch cars/registrations, those tickets won't ever be sent.

Likewise for vehicles registered to Businesses/Corporations, the P-Radar system
doesn't even bother issuing or mailing a ticket. They may mail a letter to the
company, asking for help in identifying the photo of driver of the company vehicle ...
which fits nicely in the nearest trash can or shredder.

hth


Matt Mega C
Matt Mega C

I love to break the law too! And now that I know those photo radar tickets don't mean anything, I am going to go faster in my favorite places to speed.... School Zones and Construction Zones! I was going so fast once, I actually hit a lady. I think she was pregnant, but I don't care. Speeding is really really fun. F@!# the cops!!!

James Tallo
James Tallo

Kelli H is correct....a pig must actually hand you a ticket in Colorado for it to be valid. As these are mailed, photo radar tickets are NEVER valid for ANYBODY....just the dumb ones who actually pay them. I like to speed up when I see one and hold up my middle finger while passing them.

Kelli Hackett
Kelli Hackett

You don't even have to pay the photo radar tickets if you get one. Unless a cop actually serves you with the ticket, it's invalid. So who cares if some get away with it? We all could if we weren't so scared of getting in 'trouble'.

Bruce Tanner
Bruce Tanner

Conveniently designed highly manipulative system built with technology from the mindset of persons involved in "War on Drugs, War on Terror as well Financial Crisis" God bless the USA!

Levi West
Levi West

Not the only unfair advantage they have I'm sure!!!!!!

Worth Byrd
Worth Byrd

Seems like an unfair advantage due to occupation

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Mike Scott Hard to argue with that sentiment. Thanks for posting, Mike.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Matt Mega C Being elected to the legislature would probably help you make these dreams come true. Thanks for posting, Matt.

Osojames
Osojames

@Kelli Hackett     But I think you actually have to go to court to present this fact, and this costs time and money


michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Bruce Tanner Memorable post, Bruce. Thanks.

WhirledPeasPlease
WhirledPeasPlease

@Osojames , No, they are invalid unless they are served in person by a police officer within (I think) 90 days (it might be 45 days). If you go to court to try and contest it within that period, YOU WILL be served in person and, therefore, make the ticket valid. The idea is a police officer cannot give you a misdemeanor ticket unless he/she witnesses the infraction.

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