I'm asking specifically about the validity of a conviction based on an allegation of "failure to appear" for a traffic camera violation.
Let's say that "Lizzie" receives a citation via USPS First Class mail for a traffic camera infraction. She responds in a timely manner by signing and submitting the "certificate of innocence" that was included with the citation. The form is returned via USPS First Class mail, the same method used by the court, within the 30 days required by the statute.
§ ORS 810.436 (7)(a) states:
A registered owner of a vehicle may respond by mail to a citation issued under subsection (1) of this section by submitting, within 30 days from the mailing of the citation, a certificate of innocence swearing or affirming that the owner was not the driver of the vehicle and by providing a photocopy of the owner’s driver license. A jurisdiction that receives a certificate of innocence under this paragraph shall dismiss the citation without requiring a court appearance by the registered owner or any other information from the registered owner other than the swearing or affirmation and the photocopy. The citation may be reissued only once, only to the registered owner and only if the jurisdiction verifies that the registered owner appears to have been the driver at the time of the violation. A registered owner may not submit a certificate of innocence in response to a reissued citation.
Let's say that over a year later Lizzie receives, (again via USPS...) a notification of conviction and default judgement against her for failure to appear. There is no specific reason given for the allegation, only a list of possibilities:
- You did not file a response to your citation.
- You filed a response, but your response was missing information and could not be processed.
- You did not appear at the court hearing you requested.
Each one of these is rebuttable. (even if proof of delivery is absent, a sworn statement of fact ought to override an unspecified, unsubstantiated, and anonymous allegation from the boilerplate language of a form letter, right?)
Is there a requirement for the court to state the specific reason for a conviction in order for the conviction to be valid? How can one appeal if the basis of the conviction is unknown, with only suggested or possible reasons presented in multiple choice format?