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Name: People v. Rekte
Case #: E060272
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 01/08/2015
Summary

Expert’s testimony that yellow light interval time printed on red light camera photo was not accurate and did not meet mandatory state standards was sufficient to rebut the presumed reliability of the photo. Rekte received a citation by mail for running a red light (Veh. Code, § 21453). The computer-generated photographic evidence admitted during his trial contained a digital stamp indicating that the yellow light interval at that particular intersection was 3.65 seconds, which complied with state requirements. However, a defense expert testified that the print-out was inaccurate because the yellow light interval was actually 3.5 seconds, which did not comply with state requirements. The trial court found Rekte guilty of running a red light. He appealed to the appellate division of the superior court, arguing that his expert’s testimony had sufficiently rebutted the presumption established by Evidence Code sections 1552 and 1553 that the computer-generated print-out was accurate. The appellate division affirmed, and the case was transferred to the Court of Appeal. Held: Reversed. Sections 1552 and 1553 create a presumption that a print-out of computer-generated information is accurate and reliable. But the presumption is a rebuttable one affecting the burden of producing evidence. (See Evid. Code, §§ 1552, 1553.) Here, the defense expert’s testimony rebutted the presumption of reliability. Thus, the burden shifted to the prosecution to prove the reliability of the photo and the computer-generated information printed on it. However, the prosecution admitted no independent evidence. Accordingly, the trial court should have excluded the photo as an unreliable depiction of what it purported to be, and without it, there was insufficient evidence that Rekte ran a red light.