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Ohio Appeals Court Ruling Strikes Down Speed Camera Hearings
Ohio Appeals Court applies state Supreme Court precedent in striking down speed camera administrative hearings in Brice.

Judge Lisa L. Sadler
By Richard Diamond

Ohio residents who receive a photo radar or red light camera ticket in the mail will no longer have to challenge the citations in an administrative hearing under the control of the jurisdiction that issued the ticket. The state Court of Appeals last week sided with motorist Geria Wright and against the village of Brice, which had sought to overturn a state law meant to curb the use of speed cameras.

Wright followed the instructions on the ticket and appeared at the hearing to ask for leniency. On January 22, 2020, the hearing officer reduced the fine from $125 to $100. Wright then appealed that decision to the Franklin County Municipal Court. Citing state law, the municipal court ruled Brice's photo ticketing program unlawful since the legislature gave the municipal court exclusive jurisdiction over speed camera tickets.

"Under the current applicable code sections, the procedure was changed to require the local authority, if a ticket is issued, to file a certified copy of the ticket with the municipal or county court with jurisdiction over the civil action," Judge David B. Tyack wrote. "It appears that the village of Brice has completely ignored the current law, and is proceeding under the former statutes to avoid paying the filing fee at this court, and also to continue to collect revenue illegally through a third-party vendor."

The Ohio Supreme Court in Magsig v. Toledo unanimously issued a writ of prohibition blocking Toledo from holding an administrative hearing involving speed cameras. The three-judge Court of Appeals panel was also unanimous in applying that precedent to Brice.

"The administrative hearing officer who exercised quasi-judicial power in this case patently and unambiguously lacked jurisdiction to find appellant liable for the violation alleged in the ticket and impose a fine," Judge Lisa L. Sadler wrote for the panel. "Because the administrative hearing officer lacked jurisdiction to issue the January 22, 2020 order, the order was a nullity without legal force and effect."

The judges scaled back the municipal court's decision by only upholding the findings on the legality of the administrative hearing itself. A copy of the decision is available in a 100k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Wright v. Brice (Court of Appeals, State of Ohio, 6/30/2021)

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