News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Akron General

Hennes Paynter Communications

Meaden & Moore


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Courts and Crime


Traffic cams may be legal in Ohio, but is the hearing process?
That's the debate Ohio Supreme Court justices took up today
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor pressed on what belongs in court and what is left to home rule.
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

A case that tests how cities can use automated cameras to catch and fine people who speed and run red lights went to the Ohio Supreme Court today. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler explains the arguments.

LISTEN: The closely watched debate

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:10)


The case comes from a ticket that Bradley Walker of Kentucky got from an automated traffic camera in Toledo in 2009. In 2011, he sued, claiming that the process by which he could appeal the ticket was unconstitutional.

Cities typically send a camera ticket appeal to an administrative hearing rather than into the court system, since the violation is civil, not criminal. And that’s appropriate under Ohio’s constitution, says Adam Loukx, who argued for the city of Toledo. 

“A principal part of that constitution is the home-rule authority of a city to self-govern. And a principal part of self-government, we submit, is the ability to set up administrative appeal boards to have quasi-judicial hearings on matters of local controversy.”

Courts couldn’t handle the load
Loukx said if all disputes ended up in the courts, they’d be overwhelmed – so cities have set up administrative panels such as civil service commissions, tax appeals boards, even taxicab commissions and dance-hall review boards. And he said anyone who wants to appeal a traffic camera ticket can do so after they pay the fine.

If they don’t like the hearing officer’s decision, they can take it to court – though he said that hasn’t happened often. And he acknowledged that information about the court option usually doesn’t accompany the ticket when it’s sent in the mail. But

It’s the courts’ business
Andrew Mayle, representing the cited driver Bradley Walker, argued that the administrative hearing process created by Toledo is unconstitutional because state lawmakers haven’t permitted it.

“The municipal court has jurisdiction unless the General Assembly says otherwise. Toledo cannot self-create an exception.”

And Mayle said drivers who don’t want to pay the tickets while they appeal the violations could risk losing their cars because the law allows the city to act on those tickets as if they were debts.

A bigger goal
After the arguments, the attorneys for the city of Toledo and the camera operating company declined comment.

But Maurice Thompson from the libertarian 1851 Center for Constitutional Law was talking. He helped Bradley Walker’s team, but for a bigger overall goal. 
“As a nominal legal matter, winning this case for us does not shut down the camera programs. What it means is that red-light camera tickets have to go through the municipal court. Now, as a pragmatic economic matter, what it means is that it’s no longer profitable and lucrative for cities to pursue these things.”

The driver, Bradley Walker, was also there to see his case argued before the state’s highest court. 

“Kind of surprised that it went like it did, I will tell you that. Did I expect when we first started talking about what was there that we didn’t appear today? I can’t tell you that I would ever believe that would be the case.”

A previous Ohio Supreme Court decision ruled cameras to catch speeders and red light runners are legal. It could be several months before a ruling on the hearing process, which Thompson says is used by the 15 Ohio communities that have traffic cameras. 

 

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio's Supreme Court narrowly upholds Ashford Thompson's death sentence
"Justices" William O’Neill, Paul Pfeifer and Judith Lanzinger should all be immediately removed from the court. If they could actually believe that this murde...

Ohio's Sen. Brown is pushing for more assistance for homeless vets
That would be a great program to have for the homeless vets. Many of them are still suffering from PTSD even from the Vietnam war.

Lordstown GM plant plans to install 8,500 solar panels
How much will this solar array cost? How is it being funded, and who is really paying for it? How much real useful electricity will it actually produce in MEh p...

Local Ebola concerns cause officials to pay more attention to West Africa
I have a better idea, let's secure our borders and spend those billions of dollars on our own first.

HUD and Cuyahoga Land Bank extend a housing deal for another year
Need to sale lot, and would like to know how to contact someone to see if they may be interested in the property that sat between two lots. If you can give me...

Akron Beacon Journal details abuse claims against televangelist Angley
In the early 90's I went forth for pray. And the man was anointed by the hand of God. Just a fact I will never forget

Lawmaker questions why a million voters didn't get absentee applications
He's a damn lie! I vote n all elections. I missed 1. Haven't gotten my absentee ballot and their making it hard to get one.

Thirsty Dog Brewery warns it might have to leave Akron
Why is it the city's responsibility to find this guy a location? There are a hundred realestate companies that could help him.

Kent State sends home three after contact with second Ebola-stricken nurse
Why weren't all health workers who were around Duncan quaranteened for 21 days and tested for Ebola? That's a no-brainer. Why was Vinson allowed to travel right...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University