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Ohio judge tells town its speeding-ticket blitz is 'scam' against motorists

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By The Associated Press
Thursday, March 7, 2013, 7:09 p.m.
 

An Ohio judge on Thursday ordered an end to a speeding-ticket blitz in a village that installed traffic cameras, saying it's “a scam” against motorists.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman blasted the cameras and the thousands of $105 citations that resulted.

He ruled that the cameras violate motorists' constitutional rights to due process and said Elmwood Place's enforcement is stacked against drivers.

“Elmwood Place is engaged in nothing more than a high-tech game of 3-Card Monty,” Ruehlman wrote, referring to a card game used by con artists. “It is a scam that motorists can't win.”

The suburban Cincinnati village began using the cameras in September, resulting in about 6,600 speeding citations in the first month — triple the number of village residents. Revenues that are shared with the company that operates the cameras soon topped $1 million.

Motorists and village businesses say in their lawsuit against Elmwood Place that the traffic cameras are hurting the village's image and businesses.

The lawsuit says the cameras were put into use without following Ohio law for public notice on new ordinances. The plaintiffs say it's unconstitutionally difficult to challenge the citations, and Ruehlman agreed in granting a permanent injunction against enforcement of the village ordinance that created an “automated speed- enforcement program.”

Village police Chief William Peskin said Elmwood Place will appeal the ruling. But in the meantime, it is halting use of the traffic cameras.

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