jeffmacewen wrote:I really want someone to explain to me why they care at all if there are cameras enforcing the law instead of cops.
I see your question as the same argument that others use in different cases:
Why do you care if we can wiretap terrorists without a warrant? If you're not a terrorist, don't worry about it.
Why do you care if we can demand suspected illegal immigrants provide proof of citizenship? Even if you "look" hispanic, if you're a citizen, don't worry about it.
Why do you care if cameras enforce the law? Don't speed or run red lights and don't worry about it.
Mistakes happen. People can be falsely accused of something. That's why we have a legal system that provides rights to the defendant. Law enforcement uses many tools to solve crimes. As you point out, many of those tools are from profit-driven companies. (Not just labs, but the manufacturers of radar guns or breathalyzers, for example). But they are tools that are used to corroborate evidence against the defendant. And in many cases, those tools/labs/etc. and their procedures are scrutinized in court.
Photo traffic enforcement removes the trained law enforcement officer altogether. In its place, there's a camera and some private-industry employee working on behalf of the state. If the officer was still in the mix, and he used the camera as a tool to gather evidence against you, I'd be less bothered by it. But there's no witnessing officer involved anymore.
If I ever get caught by one of the cameras, I'd like to go to court and ask whomever signed the ticket to describe the physical appearance of the driver of the vehicle. Height, weight, eye color, hair color, etc.
Because that photo is definitely a good piece of evidence against somebody, but there's a lot of people whose faces look similar enough that there could be a mistake made. A face-shot shouldn't be definitive evidence alone. A car registered in the name of the person whose photo resembles the face of the driver? More convincing evidence. Add in a sworn officer as a witness and you've got a solid case.
In the case of a simple traffic citation ... big whoop. Somebody might wrongly be out $200. But its a dangerous legal precedent, and I'm not comfortable with it.