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

Wayside Furniture

Don Drumm Studios

Greater Akron Chamber

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

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


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


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Bhutanese resettlement has had a big economic impact
Informative especially for nonmembers of North Hill. I appreciate the fact that you mention that the younger generation has an easier time than the elders but t...

Ottawa County Commissioner sworn in as new house member
Congratulations on your new appointment to the Ohio House. I'm certain you will do an outstanding job in your new role representing our district. When you have...

Holden Arboretum opens a new canopy walk and emergent tower
Visited the Holden Arboretum today to witness the incredible work you did constructing the tower and bridges.WOW! Very impressed. Knew the build had to be great...

Local club works to bring back the once-prevalent American elm
I would love to help! Where would I get some of the new Strain so I could plant them?

Four Geauga school districts consider consolidating on the Kent State campus
Berkshire was smart to merge with Ledgemont because it had shrinking enrollment and excess capacity at its high school. Now that Cardinal is dragging its feet ...

Ohio Rep. John Boccieri sworn into office and hopes to look for 'middle ground' with colleagues
Welcome back to the Statehouse, John. You are a terrific representative in the truest sense always representing the people's voice in teh district you serve. ...

Lawmakers call for indefinite freeze on Green Energy standards
It's a shame the Hudson Rep. Chooses to mimic the words of the extreme right senator on his way out to join ALEC when we know the Pope was just here because of...

Youngstown Schools file suit against the Ohio Department of Education to stop the implementation of an academic distress commission
Voters should ask WHY this plan was rushed into law under the cover of darkness. What clues point to the beneficiaries of this plan? Both Patrick O'Donnell of...

More join the battle against Ohio's current forfeiture laws
NOT TRUE IN OHIO! ! My cousin's 8 rental houses were siezed in the early 2000s. He was a decorated Cleveland Police officer and detective (now retired). His dis...

Copyright © 2015 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