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Author Topic: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland  (Read 9058 times)

cpzilliacus

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D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« on: August 05, 2014, 05:03:20 AM »

WTOP Radio: Ticketbuster: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland

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CAPITOL HEIGHTS, Md. -- New traffic cameras installed over the last year in D.C. are now ticketing drivers for red-light running, speeding, blocking the box and more.

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However, a WTOP Ticketbuster investigation has uncovered one of those cameras was placed in Prince George's County, Maryland, which could be illegal under D.C. law.

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During a months-long investigation, D.C. officials have not denied the camera might technically be sitting in Maryland, yet they dispute the suggestion that it violates D.C. law.

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The speed camera is where East Capitol Street, Southern Avenue and Central Avenue converge near the Capitol Heights Metro station.

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Joanne Brown, of Bowie, brought the issue to WTOP Ticketbuster and AAA Mid-Atlantic after receiving three tickets from the camera.
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mtantillo

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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2014, 08:05:51 PM »

For a camera that DC thinks didn't violate any laws, DC's MPD sure removed the camera pretty quickly. The story broke in this morning's news, and the camera was being taken down by evening rush hour. Wonder if Maryland SHA had anything to do with that?
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1995hoo

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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2014, 08:39:58 PM »

Shame it'd likely cost more to bring a class-action suit than they probably collected in tickets.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2014, 10:43:49 PM »

For a camera that DC thinks didn't violate any laws, DC's MPD sure removed the camera pretty quickly. The story broke in this morning's news, and the camera was being taken down by evening rush hour. Wonder if Maryland SHA had anything to do with that?

Since it was on SHA right-of-way (not DDOT property), and there were non-standard (for Maryland) signs warning of photo radar ahead, I think SHA may have politely told D.C. to remove their unpermitted signs and equipment from Maryland property.
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SP Cook

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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2014, 06:42:50 AM »

Quote
During a months-long investigation, D.C. officials have not denied the camera might technically be sitting in Maryland, yet they dispute the suggestion that it violates D.C. law.

These geniuses need a basic civics class. 

DC law does not apply in MD.  It is IRRELEVANT what DC law says.  In MD, they are NOT the government.  They have NO authority there.  They have the same status there as if I put up such a camera and tried to random tax people.

Further, the action violates the Civil Rights Act.  They are acting, under the color of legal authority, to violate the civil rights of citizens. 

A few years ago, NY's idiot pols sent cops over to a NJ mall to snoop on plate numbers and get people for violation of the use tax.  NJ's gov (not the current one) had them arrested.  They were not cops in NJ.  They were just people in violation of various privacy statutes.

And before someone says "mutual aid" or "hot pursuit", neither apply.

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The Nature Boy

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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2014, 07:48:34 PM »

Quote
During a months-long investigation, D.C. officials have not denied the camera might technically be sitting in Maryland, yet they dispute the suggestion that it violates D.C. law.

These geniuses need a basic civics class. 

DC law does not apply in MD.  It is IRRELEVANT what DC law says.  In MD, they are NOT the government.  They have NO authority there.  They have the same status there as if I put up such a camera and tried to random tax people.

Further, the action violates the Civil Rights Act.  They are acting, under the color of legal authority, to violate the civil rights of citizens. 

A few years ago, NY's idiot pols sent cops over to a NJ mall to snoop on plate numbers and get people for violation of the use tax.  NJ's gov (not the current one) had them arrested.  They were not cops in NJ.  They were just people in violation of various privacy statutes.

And before someone says "mutual aid" or "hot pursuit", neither apply.

In the same vein, I've heard rumors that Massachusetts asked NH merchants to collect sales tax from Mass shoppers. The NH merchants politely told them to f off.
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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2014, 02:26:55 PM »

A few years ago, NY's idiot pols sent cops over to a NJ mall to snoop on plate numbers and get people for violation of the use tax.  NJ's gov (not the current one) had them arrested.  They were not cops in NJ.  They were just people in violation of various privacy statutes.

How would that work anyway?  I mean the NY cops getting Use Tax "violators" (not NJ having them arrested)??
Admittedly, I don't know how it works in NY, but here in PA the Use Tax gets paid once a year when filing the state income tax, so it could be quite some time before someone would technically be in violation.  Also, would they "sit" on a car and then demand a search of bags or receipts to find out what/how much should be subject to the tax when the owner leaves the mall?  Would that require a warrant? It seems like a waste of police resources.
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1995hoo

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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2014, 02:37:02 PM »

The Virginia ABC used to send agents into DC who would watch the liquor stores for cars with Virginia plates whose owners bought more than a gallon of liquor, then use a radio to contact ABC agents back in Virginia to give them the plate numbers so they could bust them for violating state law by bringing in more than the legal limit. It's constitutional to bust people for that sort of thing (once they've crossed the state line, that is) because the Twenty-First Amendment makes it illegal to import alcohol into a state for beverage purposes in violation of the laws thereof, and the amendment also gives Congress and the states concurrent power to enforce it, but it's still a dickish move to do that sort of thing.
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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2014, 02:46:38 PM »

NJ will bust those with fireworks in the car, as all fireworks are illegal in NJ.  They can be found in some PA stores and parking lots keeping an eye on things, especially around the 4th of July.
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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2014, 04:28:07 PM »

I've heard about operations like that involving liquor, and it IS a dick move, but since the law is being broken then and there crossing the state line, it seems a bit different that staking out a mall for items that aren't booze.

Is it a gallon per person per crossing, or per vehicle?
Also, do you know if there is a per-time (such as per day, week, etc...), or is it just a per crossing limit? 
If you bought, say 3 gallons, parked right in front of the border (assuming a crossing not on an interstate.), got out then walked one bottle over, came back, walked another over, then repeated for the last one, then put them back in the car and continued on, technically you never crossed with more than a gallon at a time.  I only thought of that cause here in PA, (without getting too long-winded), a bar can only sell so many 6-packs to a customer in a transaction (it's really so many ounces), but it's fine if you buy a few, take them to the car, walk back in, buy a few more, etc....

Obviously, this wouldn't be very plausible in the DC/VA situation with the Potomac being the border, just thinking about dumb laws and technicalities. 
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agentsteel53

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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2014, 04:35:15 PM »

California state law says the limit resets every 30 days.  the only place it's particularly enforced is coming in from Mexico; and even there I've managed to bring in 1.5L (instead of 1L) without any issue.
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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2014, 06:03:32 PM »

California state law says the limit resets every 30 days.  the only place it's particularly enforced is coming in from Mexico; and even there I've managed to bring in 1.5L (instead of 1L) without any issue.

Supposedly US Customs will enforce the limit applied by the state in which you enter the country, but in my experience they've never cared, and I've been quite seriously over the limit several times when coming back from Europe (on one trip, I actually bought a duffel bag in Edinburgh just to carry home all the whisky I bought).



Regarding Mr_Northside's questions, I don't know what Virginia's precise limitations are because I've never bothered to pay close attention, other than that I know the statute is still inexplicably written in terms of the obsolete "gallon" unit ("obsolete" because both wine and liquor are sold by the litre or fraction thereof). I've been way above the limit any number of times over the years when I've gone to liquor stores in DC and I've never had a problem.

(It matters because in Virginia we have state stores for liquor. DC has privately-owned liquor stores, so they often have a wider selection and better prices. The state stores have improved a bit in recent years, but if you're a serious Scotch whisky drinker you'll find a far better selection in DC. I don't drink much liquor any more, though—usually when I buy it it's because we're having visitors.)
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SP Cook

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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2014, 07:43:11 PM »


How would that work anyway?  I mean the NY cops getting Use Tax "violators" (not NJ having them arrested)??
Admittedly, I don't know how it works in NY, but here in PA the Use Tax gets paid once a year when filing the state income tax, so it could be quite some time before someone would technically be in violation. 

It works the same way.  Apparently the idea was to just film people with NY plates putting bags in their cars, then wait for them to do as 99.9% of people do, which is put down zero for use tax owed the next April and then zap them. 
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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2014, 07:46:48 PM »

I remember hearing that NC Highway Patrol set up road blocks along some roads leading from SC during the 4th with the express purpose of catching people with fireworks. Dirty, if true.
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SP Cook

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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2014, 07:04:08 AM »

I remember hearing that NC Highway Patrol set up road blocks along some roads leading from SC during the 4th with the express purpose of catching people with fireworks. Dirty, if true.

A couple of years ago the WV State Police Turnpike division (the Turnpike is "served" by a separate group of toll paid cops, basically an "F-Troop" of guys who either have done stupid or illegal crap such that they cannot be called to court to testify, as the lawyers know the backstory, or who are simply too stupid to do anything important, so they are set to random tax motorists 100% of their time) ran this "operation smokebuster".  Lots of elaborate schemes to catch people who had bought cigs in NC.   Speeding tickets, but I might (wink wink) let you go if I can search the car.  Broken tail lights.  Even fake wrecks to slow traffic so they look at manifest. 

Until they caused a real wreck.  Because these geniuses were trying to catch people taking cigs THROUGH WV to Ohio, Penna, NY, or Ontario, there was no intent to deliver in WV, it all resulted in a minor fine here.  They were talked into it by Ohio cops, without any orders from above.  Gov blew a gasket and told them all to get back to work.

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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2014, 09:13:54 AM »

A couple of years ago the WV State Police Turnpike division (the Turnpike is "served" by a separate group of toll paid cops, basically an "F-Troop" of guys who either have done stupid or illegal crap such that they cannot be called to court to testify, as the lawyers know the backstory, or who are simply too stupid to do anything important, so they are set to random tax motorists 100% of their time) ran this "operation smokebuster".  Lots of elaborate schemes to catch people who had bought cigs in NC.   Speeding tickets, but I might (wink wink) let you go if I can search the car.  Broken tail lights.  Even fake wrecks to slow traffic so they look at manifest. 

So patrolling the WV Turnpike is a punishment of sorts of the WV State Police?  If I read that correctly, that's about the exact opposite of the NJ Turnpike.  It was true at one point and may still be true, but a State Trooper would not be transferred to the NJ Turnpike voluntarily; he/she would need to specifically apply to work the NJ Turnpike, and I believe undergo advanced training for such as well.

Back to the transporting liquor issue: PA has state stores as well, and all the neighboring state's liquor stores are very happy to accept the business that PA's residents bring.  I know there's some limitation of what residents can bring back to PA, but I can't recall a story where it was ever enforced.

NJ also has high cigarette taxes, sending people to PA to purchase cigs.  Legally, someone can bring back 2 cartons.  Unlike the fireworks example above though, there's been no real effort to crack down on people who went above their limit...although if you happen to get stopped for a traffic violation and have a few cases of cigs in the back seat, you probably will find yourself in a bit of trouble.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2014, 10:26:49 AM »

The Virginia ABC used to send agents into DC who would watch the liquor stores for cars with Virginia plates whose owners bought more than a gallon of liquor, then use a radio to contact ABC agents back in Virginia to give them the plate numbers so they could bust them for violating state law by bringing in more than the legal limit. It's constitutional to bust people for that sort of thing (once they've crossed the state line, that is) because the Twenty-First Amendment makes it illegal to import alcohol into a state for beverage purposes in violation of the laws thereof, and the amendment also gives Congress and the states concurrent power to enforce it, but it's still a dickish move to do that sort of thing.

Montgomery County, Maryland used to do the same thing with Maryland-plated vehicles who loaded up with refreshment at liquor stores on the D.C. side of the line (Montgomery County has the only county-owned alcohol monopoly that I am aware of in the United States).

A notorious example was the Morris Miller liquor store located at Georgia Avenue, N.W. and Eastern Avenue, a few steps from Montgomery County.  People that loaded up their vehicle with a few cases of bottles could expect to be stopped as soon as they drove north on Georgia Avenue (U.S. 29) into Maryland.
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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2014, 10:30:49 AM »

Quote
During a months-long investigation, D.C. officials have not denied the camera might technically be sitting in Maryland, yet they dispute the suggestion that it violates D.C. law.

These geniuses need a basic civics class. 

DC law does not apply in MD.  It is IRRELEVANT what DC law says.  In MD, they are NOT the government.  They have NO authority there.  They have the same status there as if I put up such a camera and tried to random tax people.

Worth underscoring that the entire street where the ticketed alleged violations occurred is in D.C., so to the extent drivers violated the speed limit, it was a D.C. law they were violating.  The questions are (1) whether D.C. law permits the introduction of evidence obtained from a neighboring state, and (2) whether Maryland law allowed D.C. to put a speed camera on its soil to issue tickets for violations of D.C. law on a D.C. street. 

Apparently (2) is a problem, especially if Maryland SHA took offense to a camera on its property generating revenue for a non-Maryland jurisdiction.  (Prince George's County, where the camera was mounted, also uses traffic cameras.)  But (1) is debatable, and it does not necessarily follow that the rights of D.C. drivers were violated by the camera placement, even if Maryland's rights were violated.  (Leaving aside the suckitude of speed cameras in both D.C. and Maryland, wherever the cameras are placed and whichever roads the cameras monitor.)

Thankfully, I live on the other side of the Potomac, where red light cameras are an issue but speed cameras are still prohibited. 
« Last Edit: August 16, 2014, 10:32:58 AM by oscar »
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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2014, 10:32:29 AM »

I remember Morris Miller. Is that place still there? Haven't been over there in a long time. If memory serves, Maryland authorities could sit on their own side of the state line staking out that store, too.

(They used to have a huge sale once or twice a year and my father would go over there to stock up.)
« Last Edit: August 16, 2014, 10:43:30 AM by 1995hoo »
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cpzilliacus

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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2014, 10:55:09 AM »

Apparently (2) is a problem, especially if Maryland SHA took offense to a camera on its property generating revenue for a non-Maryland jurisdiction.  (Prince George's County, where the camera was mounted, also uses traffic cameras.)  But (1) is debatable, and it does not necessarily follow that the rights of D.C. drivers were violated by the camera placement, even if Maryland's rights were violated.  (Leaving aside the suckitude of speed cameras in both D.C. and Maryland, wherever the cameras are placed and whichever roads the cameras monitor.)

Maryland SHA does not mind neighboring states putting up temporary signs and the like on its roads, and gladly gives permission for same (consider VDOT-spec construction ahead signs on the Maryland side of the American Legion Bridge as one recent example).

If the signs are to be permanent, then SHA usually prefers to fabricate its own Maryland-spec permanent signs and install them, but there are exceptions.  Before the Wilson Bridge was reconstructed, there were several VDOT-owned DMS units on the Maryland side of the bridge.

In the case of the D.C. speed cameras on Md. 214 (East Capitol Street), it appears that nobody from D.C. ever asked Maryland for permission to install the cameras, or to install the D.C.-spec photo-enforced signs on westbound Md. 214 approaching the D.C. border.  Those are both no-no's.  So the signage was illegal, the installation of the camera was illegal, which to me says that any tickets issued by that camera are also illegal.

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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2014, 11:00:20 AM »


So patrolling the WV Turnpike is a punishment of sorts of the WV State Police?  If I read that correctly, that's about the exact opposite of the NJ Turnpike. 

Oh, yes definitely.  In WV, the state police are assigned, more or less, to a particular county.  They do whatever they do in said county, which would range from random tax work on the local interstate or corridor, to drugs, to general criminal work, to whatever.  And they are paid out of tax money.  The Turnpike constitutes a separate assignment.  Paid out of toll money (not just their salary, but the cars belong to the Turnpike, and they (you and me motorist) even pay a "fee" to HQ to cover the pro rata share of the brass's salaries) .   The local state police in the Turnpike counties do not go on the Turnpike and have a totally separate operation.  Different chain of command, different building, totally different, like any other county.

Screw ups get sent to the Turnpike.  Obviously this means they spend 99.9% on random tax duties and actually go to court maybe once or twice per year, with the odd nutter that wants to fight city hall.  We (you and me taxpayer) paid off the family of a wife beater cop who was sent to the Turnpike, rather than be fired, who then finally killed his wife.  $1M.  Lots of such stories out there.  Wife beaters, suspect beaters, drunks, general low IQers, political disagreers, etc.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2014, 11:48:21 AM »

Oh, yes definitely.  In WV, the state police are assigned, more or less, to a particular county.  They do whatever they do in said county, which would range from random tax work on the local interstate or corridor, to drugs, to general criminal work, to whatever.  And they are paid out of tax money.  The Turnpike constitutes a separate assignment.  Paid out of toll money (not just their salary, but the cars belong to the Turnpike, and they (you and me motorist) even pay a "fee" to HQ to cover the pro rata share of the brass's salaries) .   The local state police in the Turnpike counties do not go on the Turnpike and have a totally separate operation.  Different chain of command, different building, totally different, like any other county.

I know that police cars used by state police in at least some other states are also owned by the toll road authority, including Maryland and New Jersey.
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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2014, 12:01:58 PM »

I know that police cars used by state police in at least some other states are also owned by the toll road authority, including Maryland and New Jersey.
It's definitely true in NJ.  State police that patrol the NJ Turnpike and GSP even have Turnpike Authority plates on the vehicles, as opposed to State Police plates that are normally on trooper vehicles.

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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #23 on: August 16, 2014, 03:34:42 PM »

In WV, the state police are assigned, more or less, to a particular county.  They do whatever they do in said county, which would range from random tax work on the local interstate or corridor, to drugs, to general criminal work, to whatever.  And they are paid out of tax money.

West Virginia has more state police posts, stations, precincts or whatever term one might want to use, than just about any state I've ever been in. Kentucky has a number of posts (16, I think) and the post areas are grouped by counties. There's one post headquarters in the post area (it's possible some posts may have more than one HQ building or an auxiliary/satellite post HQ, I don't know.).

Seems to me that WV has at least one HQ building per county, maybe more.
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Re: D.C. police operate speed camera in Maryland
« Reply #24 on: August 16, 2014, 05:57:40 PM »

The Thruway also has their own state police troop.
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