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Speed Camera Slap Down!

Ohio judge Robert P. Ruehlman hands down scathing ruling in speed camera lawsuit.

 

DECISION

The Court finds that the ordinance fails to provide due process guarantees to any person receiving a Notice of Liability, from The Village of Elmwood Place.

Revised Code 4511.094 requires that traffic law photo-monitoring devices to enforce traffic laws cannot be used in a village, unless a sign is erected within that village, warningmotorists that such a monitoring device is operating. The Chief of the Elmwood Place Police Department testified that it was possible for a motorist to enter the village and go through a speed enforcement area without ever passing a warning sign.

Furthermore, when a speed monitoring device records a violation, a motorist is mailed a Notice of Liability. The violation is based on a report and a photograph from the speed monitoring unit. The report contains the speed of the vehicle indicating that the vehicle was traveling faster than the speed limit. The photograph shows the car and its license plate number.

The owner of the vehicle is then sent a Notice of Liability and is told to pay a civil penalty of $105.00. If the owner of the vehicle wants to contest the liability, he or she must pay $25.00 to the Village of Elrnwood and request a hearing before a hearing ofiicer and there is no assurance that the fee will be returned if the appeal is successful. However, the hearing is nothing more than a sham!

The so called witness for Elmwood Place testifies from a report produced by the company that owns the speed monitoring unit. This witness has no personal knowledge of the speeding violation and therefore, their testimony is based solely on hearsay. The accused motorist has no ability to cross-examine the witness because the witness was not present when the violation occurred. There is no opportunity to obtain any discovery about the device or to¬† subpoena any witnesses that may have knowledge of the device. In fact, the device is calibrated once a year; even though it may have been subjected to 12 months of varying amounts of rain, snow, sun, storms, ice, wind and lightning. Moreover, the device was not calibrated by a certified Police Officer, but rather it was calibrated by Optotraffic, the corporation that owns thedevice. Remember, Optotraffic has a financial stake in this game. I used the term “game” because Elmwood Place is engaged in nothing more than a high-tech game of 3 CARD MONTY. It is a scam that the motorists can’t win. The entire case against the motorist is stacked because the speed monitoring device is calibrated and controlled by Optotraffic. Remember, Optotraffic had already received approximately $500,000.00 at the time of the January 2013 hearing, before this court.

To compound this total disregard for due process, Elmwood Place has another scheme up its sleeve. If a motorist tries to convince a hearing officer that he or she was not the driver of the offending vehicle, the ordinance requires that the owner making such a claim provide the name and address of the driver of the vehicle. If the driver was the owner’s spouse, the ordinance requires the owner to testify against his or her spouse, in violation of the spousal immunity statute Revised Code 2917.02 (D).

The Court renders Judgment in favor of the Plaintiffs and finds that the ordinance is invalid and unenforceable. A permanent injunction is granted to the Plaintiffs prohibiting further enforcement of the ordinance, by the Defendants.

Court costs, other reasonable expenses and attorney fees are to be assessed against the Defendants.

2 Comments

  1. guest wrote:

    Your testimony against the use of these camera’s in our town at numerous council meetings was a victory for Belmar taxpayers! Thanks Dave.

    Friday, March 29, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink
  2. admin wrote:

    Thanks for remembering!

    Friday, March 29, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

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