The city of Dover has filed a motion in Delaware Supreme Court to affirm the lower courts' decision against a Kent County masonry contractor that took 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.
The Delaware Supreme Court had agreed to hear Donald Goldsborough's case after losing appeals at the Justice of the Peace, the Court of Common Pleas and Kent County Superior Court. Goldsborough filed an appeal with the state's highest court on Feb. 25, 2013 for his case, No. 13, 2013.
Goldsborough, a Smyrna resident, maintained that the 35 miles per hour speed limit for the stretch of road in question applied to all the lanes and that the state erroneously claimed the speed limit for the turn lanes at the Route 13 and Loockerman Street intersection was 25 mph. Therefore, DelDOT should follow the Federal Highway Administration guidelines that called for a 4-second yellow light interval for intersections in 35 mph speed zones, Goldsborough said, among other things.
Dover Deputy City Solicitor William Pepper responded on Feb. 27 and asked the state Supreme Court to uphold the lower courts' decisions against Goldsborough based on his legal opinion that the issue on appeal had been settled by Delaware law. Pepper said Goldsborough's quest to have a four-second amber light established at U.S. Route 13 traffic lights and to have those fined for red lights in Dover reimbursed $2.7 million for fines collected in 2010 and 2011 were not fairly presented to the lower courts and could not, therefore, be presented to Delaware Supreme Court.
Following a similar legal argument, Pepper, of the Schmittinger & Rodriguez law firm, also said Goldsborough's new evidence, namely photos of the 35 mph signs on U.S. Route 13 near its junction with Loockerman Street, could not be submitted to the Supreme Court and Goldsborough's contention that he was denied a trial by jury guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution was also not presented to any of the three lower courts. Furthermore, Pepper stated in his response that Goldsborough filed his first motion for a new trial in Justice of the Peace Court 19 days after he was found responsible for the red light ticket, nine days later than the Justice of the Peace allowed.
"The issue on appeal is clearly controlled by settled Delaware law," Pepper wrote.
Pepper mailed two copies of the motion on Feb. 27 to Goldsborough.
Goldsborough received the copies of the motion on Feb. 28 and learned upon going to court that he had to ask Supreme Court for permission to respond to Pepper.
"The court has already agreed to hear the case and accepted partial payment to do so," Goldsborough said.
He also noted that the admission of new evidence was crucial to his case, precisely because it was not immediately available. Then, when he produced it, Goldsborough said he was not allowed to enter it as evidence.
Page 2 of 2 - 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.
"… Judge Foor based her decision at least partially on the fact that the photographs which I provided did not provide enough evidence to convince her that the speed limit was 35 mph in the turn lane," Goldsborough wrote in his response to Pepper. "I believe this court should have the opportunity in this case to consider 'newly discovered material evidence.'"
Goldsborough had subsequently appealed Foor's decision 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 in part because of his gripe with DelDOT for its yellow light timing at U.S. Route 13 intersections in Dover.
Now that Goldsborough had responded to Pepper's motion to affirm the lower courts ruling, Pepper would have 20 days to file an answer to Goldsborough's response, state Supreme Court administrator Steve Tyler said. A motion to deny could come quickly or take up to 30 days, he said.
Conversely, if the state Supreme Court granted Pepper's request to affirm, then Goldsborough would have 20 days to ask for a re-argument of the case, Tyler said.
"If they deny the motion to re-argue, then the case is over."