Red Light Camera Refund: Woman Finds Typo That Invalidates Millions Of Dollars In Fines

Nathan Francis

A woman ticketed for running a red light with a camera got her fine dismissed after doing some digging and finding a newspaper typo from seven years ago.

The discovery by Bay Area woman Keisha Dunleavy may mean thousands of others could have their fines dismissed as well, leading to millions of dollars worth of refunds.

Dunleavy was caught on a red light camera running through a light in Newark, California. But she did some digging, going all the way back to 2006 to find the original public announcement about the camera's installation.

It read, "a camera has been installed at the intersection of Cedar Boulevard and Mowry Avenue to capture vehicles that run the red light as they travel east on both streets." But as Dunleavy argued to a court commissioner, Cedar Boulevard runs north and south. Because a proper legal notice needed to be given to the public, the judge decided to dismiss her ticket.

“I had a great judge. I did a lot of legwork. I’m really happy with the outcome,” said Dunlevy.

Some are now arguing that Newark finding invalidates other red light camera tickets as well, an estimated $4 million to $5 million in collective fines.

Dunleavy's bold court move comes amid a growing backlash against red light cameras. This month, Iowa City city council voted to repeal an ordinance that allowed red light cameras. The bill would also disallow the use of cameras that record vehicles or license plate numbers.

The red light ban in Iowa City was proposed by, a civil rights organization that advocates for an end to what it terms “traffic surveillance."

Keisha Dunleavy isn't the only one to get tickets from a red light camera dismissed. Last year officials in New Jersey determined that red light cameras weren't calibrated properly and were giving hundreds of unwarranted tickets.