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Ohio judge turns off speed cameras, calling them a 'scam'

From the biggest cities to the smallest towns, thousands of people across the U.S. receive a nasty surprise while leafing through their daily mail: a speeding ticket. What makes it so particularly frustrating is that many of these speeding tickets are not issued by an actual human being, but rather by a sophisticated camera system designed to detect even the slightest infraction.

Interestingly, the citizens of Elmwood Place, a small village in Ohio, recently mounted a substantial legal challenge against their town's newly installed speed cameras, seeking to rid themselves of this costly nuisance once and for all.

Specifically, Elmwood Place motorists and business owners filed a lawsuit alleging 1) that the cameras are harming local businesses since motorists are avoiding driving in the village 2) are not installed in accordance with state law and 3) violate motorists' due process rights.

The speed cameras were originally installed back in July by Optotraffic LLC, a Maryland-based company. Under the terms of the agreement, Optotraffic calibrates and controls the cameras, as well as bills offenders in exchange for a portion of the fine money.

While village officials claim that the speed cameras were installed in an effort to make the streets safer, critics have argued that they were nothing more than a money-making device to fill the village coffers.

In recent developments, it appears as if the motorists and business owners have scored a major victory, as a Hamilton County judge recently granted a preliminary junction shutting the speed cameras down.

Specifically, he found that the village ordinance authorizing the village to install the cameras was both invalid and unenforceable.

He also didn't mince words in his order.

"Elmwood Place is engaged in nothing more than a high-tech game of 3-card Monty," he wrote.

The judge also noted that if motorists wanted to contest their $105 speeding tickets, they had to pay a $25 fee for "a hearing that is nothing more than a sham," and that the village failed to comply with the state's signage requirements concerning speed cameras.

Sources indicate that Elmwood Place will likely appeal the decision.

Stay tuned for more from our New York vehicle traffic law blog ...

If you or a loved one has received a speeding ticket, don't just dismiss it. Instead, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


The Cincinnati Enquirer, "'It is a scam': Judge rejects Elmwood speed cameras," Kimball Perry, Mar. 7, 2013

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