10/30/2018Ohio Judge Finalizes Refund Of Speed Camera Tickets
Motorists in New Miami, Ohio may begin receiving $3 million in speed camera ticket refunds by the year 2028.
A case filed five years ago over the speed camera program in New Miami, Ohio, will finally result in motorists receiving refunds for the illegally issued tickets. The only hitch is that those refunds will not all be distributed until the year 2028.
Butler County Common Pleas Judge Michael A. Oster Jr earlier this month gave the speed trap town a decade to pay back the fine money in installments -- plus 3 percent interest -- after recognizing the financial hardship that writing a stack of checks totaling $3,066,523 all at once would cause the cash-strapped municipality.
"Upon review, the court finds the caselaw in this area to be limited," Judge Oster wrote. "However, under the facts, the court finds that the judgment rendered in this case rings in equity, with the court's ultimate purpose being to make the plaintiffs whole, while at the same time balancing the interests of both the village and the injured parties."
In June, the Ohio Supreme Court indicated its approval of lower court decisions finding that New Miami's photo ticketing operations were unlawful (view Supreme Court ruling). Judge Oster had found that New Miami's automated ticketing ordinance deprived accused vehicle owners of their due process rights. Optotraffic, the for-profit company that ran all aspects of the program during the period covered by the class action suit, provided hearsay testimony to convict drivers who were left with no realistic option to defend themselves. In 2016, New Miami switched to a new vendor, Blue Line Solutions, which is not involved in the litigation.
Judge Oster rejected the town's attempt to reconsider the original finding that the speed camera program was unlawful, as he also turned aside the motorists' attempt to have a third-party receiver assume financial control of New Miami to ensure that the town's debt would be paid back promptly.
"This court finds that based upon the facts, circumstances and evidence presented, the village of New Miami is not insolvent under the statute; nor is it in imminent danger of insolvency under the statute," Judge Oster ruled. "The court further finds that, even if it were, appointing a receiver in this case is not appropriate."
A copy of the ruling is available in a 200k PDF file at the source link below.