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Letter: Red-light cameras violate rights

Suffolk County asked state legislators for permission to

Suffolk County asked state legislators for permission to install speed cameras in dozens of school zones -- a program that supporters said would increase safety for children and raise an estimated $6.8 million a year for the county. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Xerox

I hate those pesky red-light cameras that seem to keep popping up all over the Island. You come to a stop at a red light, then all of a sudden, flash! Government contractors now have a picture of your car and license plate in their databases.These cameras violate several constitutional principles. First, when you get a ticket you are not able to confront your accuser, as it is an inanimate object, although you may request an appearance before the Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency.

Second, the person to whom the vehicle is registered is always deemed to be the guilty party, even if he or she wasn't driving. One can only appeal this by filling out an affidavit and providing an alibi. This violates the burden of proof clause, which requires the government to present the case and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person is guilty.

Third, these cameras are constantly watching us. The idea that no matter where we travel we will always be watched is downright Orwellian. While a search or seizure in the exact definition has not occurred, this constant surveillance is a rather slippery slope.

Do these cameras make people stop at red lights? Perhaps, but is the cost an eventual police state? I'll pass.

Seth Connell, Selden

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