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camera tickets in ohio

Camera tickets in ohio

Ohio Supreme Court Upholds Anti-Speed Camera Law
Unanimous Ohio Supreme Court ruling rebukes Toledo for resisting compliance with state law restricting speed cameras.

The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered Toledo to abide by a state law forbidding the use of administrative hearings in speed camera cases. All seven justices agreed that motorist Susan D. Magsig was right to challenge the ticket she received in the mail from Toledo, which has been running improper hearings that deprive vehicle owners of their right to due process. Under the law, such hearings can only be held by a municipal court judge.

“Toledo’s argument runs counter to the plain language of the statute, which vests the municipal courts with exclusive jurisdiction, without limitations,” Justice Judith French wrote for the court. “Toledo’s preferred construction of the statute requires us to add words to the text, which we are not permitted to do.”

In past rulings, a narrow high court majority has generally sided with cities and for-profit speed camera vendors on questions of photo enforcement. Because of this, Toledo’s city council believed it could hold itself out as the leader of a resistance movement, defying the General Assembly’s enactment of House Bill 62 (view law) to crack down on overuse of speed cameras. The measure withheld state funding to cities by the exact amount that each jurisdiction raised from automated ticketing and also granted “exclusive jurisdiction” to the municipal court system for photo ticket challenges. This provision was designed to take the right to decide guilt or innocence away from a city-appointed staff member and give it to a disinterested party. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said the issue was “as plain as can be” in backing Magsig’s challenge. The high court clarified that its support for speed cameras in the case Walker v. Toledo (view ruling) was based on the law, and that law had changed.

“Our holding in Walker was made in the context of a different statutory scheme and is no longer applicable,” Justice French noted, in reference to the hearing provision.

Cities and photo radar vendors are currently challenging the constitutionality of the General Assembly’s withholding of funding from speed camera cities. The justices made clear that they have not yet decided that question.

A copy of the ruling is available in a 150k PDF file at the source link below.

Unanimous Ohio Supreme Court ruling rebukes Toledo for resisting compliance with state law restricting speed cameras.

Camera tickets in ohio

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Red-light cameras remain as Ohio court issues ruling banning enforcement of new law

Although a new law placing significant restrictions on the use of traffic cameras recently became effective in Ohio, at least two municipalities in the state have reportedly continued to use them after a judge granted a court order banning enforcement of the law. The Dayton Daily News and Toledo Blade report that the cities of Dayton and Toledo have decided to continue using their red-light cameras after Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Dean Mandros granted the Toledo’s request for a preliminary injunction, effective statewide, with a finding that, “the city established a high likelihood of success in terms of prevailing on the issue of whether sections of the law are unconstitutional.”

Toledo argues that the law infringes on its “home-rule” authority to govern under Article XVIII, Section 7 of the Ohio Constitution. The Blade reports that several other cities have filed their own court challenges, including Akron, Columbus and Springfield. The new law requires a police officer to be present and witness traffic violations before a ticket can be issued.

The Ohio Supreme Court has previously found in favor of municipalities with respect to civil enforcement of penalties for traffic violations caught by these cameras. Although the Court did not consider the constitutionality of the new law, as it was not in place yet, they did find support for Toledo’s administrative penalty system under the city’s constitutional home-rule powers. Could this be an indicator of how the Court will rule if it hears these cases on appeal? We may find out in the coming months.

Photo Credit: Kevin Payravi, via Wikimedia Commons

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