Retired judge fighting photo radar ticket

Retired judge fighting photo radar ticket »Play Video

LONGVIEW, Wash. -- Fighting a photo radar ticket is not necessarily unusual. If you're a retired judge, that's a different story.

Retired Cowlitz County Judge Jim Warme doesn't think he should pay the fine he was recently assessed. That's because the photo radar ticket doesn't show who was actually driving that speeding car, which Washington State law doesn't require.

This is all over a $144 ticket that Warme was charged with after a photo radar camera went up outside Columbia Valley Gardens Elementary School in Longview. The camera snapped the photo that led to the ticket, which was issued after the vehicle was speeding at more than 10 mph over the speed limit.

"It makes it worse that he's a judge," said Deborah Grassfield, a parent of a student at Columbia Gardens. "It makes it worse. I mean it just does. It's funny because he has some nerve to do that."

Warme refused an on-camera interview, but said off-camera he never thought him challenging the ticket would be newsworthy.

However, there's one thing about the ticket that is clear -- the person driving the van can't be identified.

That's where laws in Oregon and Washington differ. In Oregon, the driver of a car has to be identified on camera before a ticket can be issued. Longview's photo red light and radar camera ordinance follows Washington State law, which legally assumes a vehicle's registered owner is responsible for any traffic violation.

"I mean, who else would be accountable but the person who owns the car? It's ridiculous," Grassfield said.

Lisa Grenia, also a parent of a Columbia Gardens student, said the posted speed limit is lower near the school for the children's safety.

"So if you choose to go beyond that, that speed, then you should pay the consequence for getting caught," she said.

Since neither Warme nor his wife have signed affidavits saying they were not driving the car when it was caught speeding, Longview city officials contend the couple should be responsible for the speeding ticket.