Kent County masonry contractor Donald Goldsborough has taken his fight against a red light camera ticket he received at the junction of U.S. Route 13 and Loockerman Street in Dover back in December 2010 all the way the Supreme Court of Delaware.
Supreme Court administrator Steve Tyler verified that the Supreme Court had agreed to take an opening brief from Goldsborough, who filed his brief for case, No. 20, 2013, on Monday. Now, the respondent, Schmittinger & Rodriguez, the law firm that represents the city of Dover, has 30 days to reply, Tyler said.
Goldsborough first appealed his ticket against the city of Dover with the Delaware Justice of Peace in April 2011 and lost. He paid the ticket, as ordered by Kent County Magistrate Debora Foor and acknowledged that he had taken the red light as he turned left from U.S. 13 north onto Loockerman.
But, he subsequently appealed to Kent County Judge Charles Welch of the state Court of Common Pleas and then Kent County Judge James Vaughn in the Superior Court of Delaware and lost each time. He kept going on the way to the state's highest court because his real gripe was with DelDOT for its yellow light timing at U.S. Route 13 intersections in Dover.
Goldsborough maintained in his brief that Phil Grazela, of DelDOT's Electronic Red Light Safety Program, testified erroneously when he said that the turn lane speed limit for the stretch of road in question was 25 miles per hour as opposed to the 35 mph speed limit for the rest of the lanes of that stretch of road. As such, Grazela said in court that the 3-second yellow light interval set by DelDOT was actually above and beyond the 2.4 seconds required by state guidelines.
But Goldsborough, a Smyrna resident, maintained in his brief that the 35 mph speed limit applied to all the lanes and, therefore, should follow the Federal Highway Administration guidelines that called for a 4-second yellow light interval for intersections in 35 mph speed zones. DelDOT Public Relations Deputy Manager Sandy Roumillat declined to comment on Goldsborough's case as pending litigation.
Lastly, Goldsborough said the red light ticket he paid violated his U.S. constitutional right for a criminal trial by jury since he was accused of a violating state law. His traffic light violation was treated as a civil case.
Goldsborough said in his brief that he was seeking personal reimbursement of $1,030.50 in fines and court costs and $2.7 million for fellow drivers who were also fined for red light violations in 2010 and 2011. But Goldsborough told the Dover Post it was not about the money.
"My ultimate objective is to see that light out there changed to 4 seconds, which I think would provide a safer change of light for motorists," he said. "The quicker that yellow light changes to red the quicker it turns to green the other way. It's increasing the possibility of accidents there."
Page 2 of 2 - Deputy City Solicitor William Pepper, of Schmittinger & Rodriguez, said Monday night that he had received Goldsborough's brief.
"I'm going to see if the Supreme Court will accept the brief or make him put it in the appropriate form," Pepper said.
He explained that Goldsborough did not follow the usual form for Supreme Court briefs. Otherwise, the clock started ticking for the city to respond on Monday, Pepper said.