System lets Colorado lawmakers avoid radar tickets

By: The Associated Press
July 12, 2013 Updated: July 12, 2013 at 1:45 pm
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DENVER— A loophole in state law has allowed Colorado state senators and representatives to avoid photo radar tickets because of special treatment given to lawmakers when they get license plates.

Most license plates are issued to specific vehicles. But license plates for lawmakers are issued to individuals and aren't registered in state computers.

Saying the process isn't fair, Denver police began considering alternatives after an investigation by KCNC-TV ( ) reported Thursday.

The city has an aggressive photo radar program that sends out millions of dollars in photo radar tickets every year. However, police have not been able to send citations to legislators whose cars carry the special plates.

The problem surfaced when Evonne Estis of Canon City began receiving photo radar tickets intended for state Sen. Mike Johnston. Police say Johnston was photographed speeding six times in about a year.

His state legislative plate bears the number "33," the district he represents, and was not in the DMV system. No tickets were sent for three of the violations.

The other three were sent to Estis, who has a vanity plate on her SUV that reads "33," her favorite number, the station reported.

"It just so happened that I was receiving the tickets," Estis said.

When KCNC told Johnston what had happened, he said the tickets were not Estis' responsibility and promised to take care of it.

"I sent her a note when I apologized, saying if she gets any photo radar tickets she should have them sent to me and I'll be happy to pay them for her," Johnston said.

Johnston said he has already paid $160 for the photo radar tickets that were inadvertently sent to Estis.

Johnston also said he favors fixing the problem so lawmakers are treated equally.


Information from: KCNC-TV,

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