Monday, December 03, 2012

Elmwood, Ohio's traffic cameras in court

The Governors' Highway Safety Association, a non-profit organization located in Washington, DC. whose members are the state highway safety offices of the 50 states, U.S. territories, and the Indian Nations, evolving, in part, out of The Highway Safety Act of 1966, which established the State and Community Highway Safety Grant Program (U.S.C. Title 23, Section 402), commonly known as the '402 program' to address the problem of unsafe highways, shows that 13 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands have speed cameras, and 24 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands have red light cameras currently operating at least one location within their boundaries.

12 states have passed laws that prohibit (with very narrow exceptions) the use of speed cameras, and 9 states the use of red light cameras

But 20 states have no state law concerning red light camera enforcement, and 29 states don't have laws addressing speed cameras, according to that organization. All of the other states either permit the use of speed cameras (2 + D.C.) or limit their use by location or other criteria (7 + U.S. Virgin Islands).

But according to the GHSA, neither Ohio, Kentucky, nor Indiana have laws regarding either red light or speed cameras, but Ohio does have "programs operating under local ordinances" -- All of which muddles the issue began reporting about last month that on Nov. 29th. now has "irate motorists and businesses taking the Village of Elmwood Place's use of speed cameras to court, saying the village is putting money before people in an attempt to increase revenues." (Here)

We had reported back on Oct. 22 that that earlier article had, in fact, found "that the cameras are legal and enforceable based on the Ohio Supreme Court's 2008 decision in Mendenhall v Akron, where the Court "accepted a certified issue by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division determining 'Whether a municipality had the power under home rule to enact civil penalties for the offense of violating a traffic signal light or for the offense of speeding, both of which are criminal offenses under the Ohio Revised Code.' Although, as certified by the federal court, the issue embraces both speed-limit and red-light enforcement, the record here deals with a single city ordinance involving enforcement of speed limits. We will therefore confine our analysis to comparing the ordinance with the state statute dealing with speed regulations, acknowledging, however, that the same analysis will dispose of questions concerning red-light cameras..."

As of last May, however, the Ohio Supreme Court was still maintaining that position.

None the less, local attorney Michael Allen served the Village of Elmwood on Nov 29th., disputing not only the Village ordinance’s validity & enforceability, but also challenging it’s authority to “instigate a separate administrative procedure outside of it’s statutorily mandated mayors’ court,” and the fact that those procedures don’t follow rules applicable to Ohio trial courts irrespective, including rules of evidence & procedure. (Complaint)

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