Ohio Court Rules Speed Cameras and Ticketing are “Unconstitutional”
For years now, Americans have become accustomed to the unseemly sight of cameras monitoring them in public in the form of speed cameras. What many are still shocked to learn, however, is that the companies who operate the cameras can issue tickets as if they were police officers, leaving drivers no chance to legally defend themselves and forcing them to pay fines. It was exactly for this reason that an Ohio court ruled against speed cameras and the associated ticketing in the city of New Miami:
“As the Newspaper reports, a group of three lawyers had filed suit in 2013, arguing that New Miami’s automated ticketing ordinance gave vehicle owners no realistic opportunity to defend themselves against the demand for a payment of up to $180 that arrived in the mail. Optotraffic, a private vendor, sent the tickets to motorists passing through the less-than-one-square-mile town on US 127, a major highway that links Cincinnati with points north.
During that period of Optotraffic extortion, the city robbed drivers of $3,066,523.00. Now, after Butler County Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael A. Oster Jr.’s ruling, the city must pay back all of it.
“If the government has created an unconstitutional law/ordinance that has taken people’s money without affording them the necessary due process protections, should not justice demand, and the law require, restitution of that money to the people?” Oster asked at the opening of his ruling. “Once the complexities of the law are analyzed, the answer is simple: Yes.”
New Miami officials attempted to claim sovereign immunity to protect itself from monetary damages. However, the court failed to grant them immunity since they had violated the constitutional rights of its citizens.
“Ohio law is clear that the reimbursement of monies collected pursuant to an unconstitutional enactment or invalid rule is equitable relief, not monetary damages, and is consequently not barred by sovereign immunity,” Judge Oster concluded. “No later than thirty days after the filing of this order, plaintiff is to file with the court and affidavit evincing monies paid under the invalidated ordinance, along with an Excel spreadsheet, so that the court can set the proper amount of restitution/refund as determined under the laws of equity.”
This ruling set by the court is a precedent that should be used by towns across the United States to give people their money back who’ve been extorted by these due process-removing companies.
H/T Truth & Action