Traffic cameras rejected in Ohio ruling
HAMILTON, Ohio — The speeding cameras have gone dark in another Ohio community, the latest turned off by a string of court rulings against automated traffic enforcement.
A Butler County judge last week ordered the village of New Miami to hit stop, saying cameras were being used to violate motorists' rights to due process.
The order followed a strong rebuke of speeding cameras in a Cincinnati-area village by a judge in neighboring Hamilton County who called them a scam against motorists, and appellate court rulings against camera systems in Toledo and Cleveland.
The string of rulings against cameras is a reverse course from a few years ago when the Ohio Supreme Court upheld municipalities' ability to use them for enforcement in a 2008 Akron case, and they had withstood other court challenges in state and federal courts.
“The trend, I think, is that you have judges looking more closely at procedures used by the municipalities that may be motivated more by raising revenue than for public safety,” said Josh Engel, an attorney for motorists in the New Miami and the Elmwood Place lawsuits.
In those cases, the judges said separately that the administrative systems made it difficult for motorists to challenge the tickets. Butler County Common Pleas Judge Michael J. Sage expressed “great concerns about due process.” Bruce D'Arcus of Oxford, Ohio, was pleased to hear about the New Miami ruling. He said he recently received a mailed speeding citation, even though he knew he hadn't been driving in New Miami at the time. He said his wife apparently was driving the car, but she didn't remember going through the village just outside of this county seat the day of the citation.
“It feels a little strange,” he said of the automated enforcement system. He said the phone number on the citation was for an out-of-town, third-party service only interested in collecting his payment, not answering any questions.
He said he would be willing to reconsider his order if New Miami alters its system to give motorists a better way to appeal.
Under the system he rejected as unfair, motorists could appeal in an administrative hearing set up by the village, which Sage said had a “vested interest” in the outcome for budget reasons. Taking an appeal to court would cost a $315 filing fee to contest the $95 ticket, Engel said in court.
Wil Weisenfelder, an attorney for the village, urged the judge to hold off on ruling until the Ohio Supreme Court hears the Toledo camera case. In that suit, driver Bradley Walker didn't argue directly against camera use, but said the system usurps municipal courts and lacks due process to allow motorists their day in court.
“Walker is going to decide who wins or loses this case,” Weisenfelder told Sage.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mysteries of dark matter come to light in Science study
- A bipartisan push on toxic chemicals makes some Democrats fume
- 7 shot at Florida spring-break house party
- Run from Cuba, Americans cling to claims for seized property
- Global warming is slowing down the circulation of the oceans — with potentially dire consequences
- Republican presidential hopefuls near-unanimity on the issue of their own guns
- Attorneys: Sterilizations were part of plea deal talks
- Christie rails against high N.J. estate tax
- Pentagon shielded Chilean torture, slaying suspect
- American crash victims: U.S. government contractor, daughter
- Damaged Jersey shore pier to be rebuilt