8/5/2021Second Ohio Appellate Ruling Blasts Speed Camera Village
Ohio Court of Appeals finds a challenge to speed camera program legality did not affect the due process rights of the village of Brice.
By Richard Diamond
Usually, motorists are the ones claiming they have lost due process rights when fighting civil photo enforcement citations. In an odd twist, the village of Brice, Ohio, claimed it became the victim when a driver challenged the legality of the administrative hearing process in a jurisdiction that earns nearly three-quarters of its revenue from photo tickets.
In a ruling last week, a three-judge state Court of Appeals panel found that the village's "due process" rights were not violated when a municipal judge overturned a speed camera ticket issued by Brice's for-profit vendor. This is the second loss for the village following a similar appellate decision last month.
Brice's vendor had mailed a $125 citation accusing Jeffrey Crair of driving 36 MPH in a 25 zone on November 4, 2019. Crair hired an attorney and challenged the ticket in the Franklin County Municipal Court, arguing that there was no evidence that the village followed a state law requiring a published ordinance laying out the speed camera program's rules, and there was no evidence the village posted the required $123 filing fee with the municipal court. Brice's attorney had no answer for why it had not done so, and the court sided with Crair.
"The notice of violation mailed to defendant directs him to pay the fine to a photo speed processing center in Hamilton, Ohio," the Franklin County judge ruled. "This is in direct contravention of the law requiring payment to now be made to the municipal or county court. The ticket mailed to defendant is deficient and does not comply with the current law... As outlined above, the village of Brice is not in compliance with several provisions of the Ohio Revised Code regarding traffic law photo-monitoring devices."
Brice appealed the decision, saying the village's due process rights were violated because Crair failed to provide notice that he intended to contest the legality of the automated ticketing program and the village. The three-judge panel rejected that argument.
"In our view, [Crair's] request for a hearing provided notice to [the village] of his intention to challenge the citation on any number of grounds, including a challenge to [the village's] compliance with Ohio law in issuing the citation," Judge William A. Klatt wrote for the panel. "In the present case, there was no violation of [Brice's] procedural due process rights. The trial court held a hearing on [Crair's] challenge to the citation. [Brice] was represented by counsel at that hearing and was provided the opportunity to assert its position in response to [Crair's] challenge."
The appellate judges laid out all of the ways in which Brice was ignoring state law on photo ticketing as it upheld dismissal of the ticket.
A copy of the ruling is available in a 100k PDF file at the source link below.