7/17/2018Cities Play games with Ohio Speed Camera Law
Defiant Ohio speed trap towns caught certifying compliance with the photo radar law they have ignored.
A number of Ohio cities are defying a law meant to impose restraint on the speed camera usage in the state. The General Assembly in 2015 enacted House Bill 64 (view law), which ordered all towns that use speed cameras to submit a report to the state auditor certifying their compliance or non-compliance with a number of minor limitations on camera usage. Three cities -- Dayton, East Cleveland and Toledo -- have refused to abide by the reporting requirements that became effective on July 31, 2015.
In documents obtained by TheNewspaper, Brice, Girard, Hamilton, Linndale, Newburgh Heights, New Miami, Parma and Weathersfield stated they followed the requirement that cameras only be used when a human police officer was stationed nearby and a number of other minor provisions relating to the use of warning signs laid out in the Ohio Code (view law).
"The city of Parma affirms that it does so in full compliance with the aforementioned sections of the Ohio Revised Code," Parma public safety director Thomas Wm. Weinreich wrote.
Brice and Newburgh Heights notarized their submissions to the auditor. Other towns took their legal obligation less seriously. East Cleveland sent a letter in February 2016 claiming it did not have to comply.
"Please be advised that the city of East Cleveland is not 'operating' a traffic law photo monitoring device," East Cleveland law director Willa Hemmons wrote. "There is a company, ATS (American Traffic Solutions), that is operating such within its boundaries. However, since it is not a 'local authority' ORC 4511.0915 is not applicable."
ATS then sent a letter as a matter of "customer service" explaining that East Cleveland had issued $498,450 worth of tickets from March 2015 to the end of that year. East Cleveland did not certify either its compliance or non-compliance. In Dayton and Toledo, however, the towns made it clear they had no intention of following state law. The General Assembly had enacted its speed camera funding limitation law as a way around a local judge who sought to block the restrictions from taking effect in Lucas County by declaring them unconstitutional (view ruling).
"The Lucas County Court of Common Pleas has declared other sections unconstitutional," law director Dale R. Emch wrote on June 30, 2018. "While there are currently motions before the filed by the state asking the court to reconsider its earlier ruling, the court has not changed its ruling to date... As such, Toledo believes it is in compliance with the provisions of Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.092 to 4511.0914 that are constitutional."
Ten days before Toledo mailed that letter, however, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that local judges had no authority to enjoin the act of the legislature and that the provisions of House Bill 64 that limit funding to cities that use speed cameras are "presumptively constitutional" (view ruling).
A copy of Toledo's submission to the state auditor is available in a 800k PDF file at the source link below.