Speeding van stirring controversy and class action lawsuit - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Speeding van stirring controversy and class action lawsuit

JUNO BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Some call it sneaky, but there is no doubt, it is lucrative for a local town.  The Juno Beach police department is hiding lasers and cameras to catch pictures of speeders and then sending them tickets.  One local attorney, though, says it is illegal.

It's a white van with dark tinted windows and inside you'll find a radar gun and a camera.  If you speed by, going at least 10 miles over the speed limit, you can expect to get a picture of your car in the mail with a 125-dollar ticket.  Melissa Kaufman, a jogger, told us she thought it was unfair, saying "Unless there's actually a police on scene.. Shouldn't give out tickets because they're not there.. How do they know the machine is accurate?" That's one reason why Attorney Jason Weisser filed a class action lawsuit against the Town of Juno Beach and the company that makes the van. He says it's illegal and a violation of your constitutional rights.  Weisser told our cameras, "This is America.  You're innocent until proven guilty, but they shift the burden on this."

Since the van program started in February, the city has issued more than 4-thousand tickets.  The small town doesn't even have four thousand year round residents.  Those tickets are bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars. Weisser says, "This is a money maker," but the Juno Beach Police Chief says, "If people were to drive the speed limit, the program would not make any money." Chief Dennis Weiner says the van is doing exactly what it's intended to do -- slow people down without taxing resources.  Weiners says, "It allows us to take an officer from a non productive or less productive assignment and redeploy them for community policing and crime supression."

Many residents, the Chief says, are really happy with the van because it means their streets are safer.  One bicyclist told us, "I have no qualms about slowing down traffic and getting speeders.  I think it's a good thing."  The chief also says this is not a citation that goes against your driver's license, it's actually an ordinance violation.  Therefore, it doesn't matter who is driving the car. The owner of the car is always the one who get the ticket.  Chief Weisser says, "It's not who parks the car illegally , it's the fact that the car is parked illegally."

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