Utah Supreme Court Allows Take-Back On Red Light Testimony

Video evidence is now stronger than mere testimony in Utah traffic cases. A divided state Supreme Court on Thursday overturned lower court judges who insisted that testimony, once given, cannot be taken back. The justices had under consideration the case of Luis Luna who sued his sister Maria after he was injured riding with her. The suit was quickly thrown out because he said his sister had the right-of-way just before the collision, which several judges saw as a fatal admission.

“Under the approach the district court employed, and the court of appeals endorsed, if Luis testified the light was green, and Maria agreed, it was green,” Justice John A. Pearce wrote for the Supreme Court majority. “Even if Luis could offer traffic camera video showing that the light was red, and could buttress that video with the testimony of twenty-seven nuns on their way home from Mass attesting that the light was red, Luis could still not defeat summary judgment and let a trier of fact decide what color the light really was.”

Luis Luna was in the passenger seat as Maria Luna proceeded into a Salt Lake City intersection and motorist Antonio Arias entered from the other direction. The cars collided. Arias insisted that he was the one with the green light. During a deposition, Luis Luna also was emphatic that it was his sister that had the green light.