PJI Victory: Court of Appeal Issues Stay in Red-Light Camera Initiative Case

Riverside, CA – The California Court of Appeal issued a ruling late Friday that puts on hold a lower court decision and allows a citizen initiative to move forward in Murrieta. 

The stay by the Fourth District Court of Appeal of Riverside Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia’s Aug. 3 ruling against the initiative  means that local elections officials have been ordered  to continue to prepare the initiative for the November 2012 ballot while the appellate court takes a closer look at it.   

The proponents of the local initiative to shut down red light cameras in the city are represented by San Diego attorney Pete Lepiscopo, who is acting as an affiliate attorney of Pacific Justice Institute in the case.  “I am pleased that the Court of Appeal has protected the people’s rights to make their own decisions at the ballot box,” said Lepiscopo. 

Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, commented, “This ruling is a victory for not only the residents of Murrieta, but also for civic-minded citizens across America.  From the beginning, this case has been about the fundamental right of hard-working citizens to gather signatures and take direct action when they believe their government is exceeding its authority.  We look forward to further opportunities to defend democracy in the Court of Appeal and beyond.”

After citizens gathered more than 4,000 signatures to get their initiative on the ballot in Murrieta, a former local traffic bureaucrat filed suit to stop the initiative.  His attorneys are arguing that the state legislature delegated decisions about red-light cameras only to local elected officials–not local voters.