Two men cited in separate instances for failing to stop at red light camera locations in Greenville, NC filed declaratory judgment actions arguing that the city’s red light camera enforcement program violated the state constitution. Among other claims, the men argued that the program violated the Fines and Forfeitures Clause contained in Article IX, Section 7 of the North Carolina Constitution because the local school board received less than the clear proceeds of the civil penalties the city collected for violations. The Court of Appeals in Fearrington v. City of Greenville, 2022 NCCOA 158, __ N.C. App. __ (2022), agreed, holding that the funding framework violated the state constitution.
Being married to me is hard. My husband makes an off-hand comment about how the city must need money since the police are pulling people over left and right for speeding on the road he travels to work. What does he get in response? A lecture on the state’s uniform court system and the fines and forfeitures clause of our state constitution. Thankfully, he is a patient man. He took it so well that I thought I’d share the finer points of that discussion with you.