Speed cameras in USA declared illegal by Ohio court

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Traffic law ‘turning point’? Ohio judge rules speed cameras violate rights
By Judson Berger
Published March 07, 2013

Highway speed cameras just got ticketed.
An Ohio judge ruled Thursday that a Cincinnati-area community’s speed cameras violate drivers’ rights under the state constitution, in what attorneys on the case called a first-ever ruling against the ubiquitous enforcement tool.
“To the best of my knowledge this is the first time in the country that this has happened,” attorney Mike Allen, whose firm brought the case, told FoxNews.com. “This could be a major turning point for people that are aggrieved by these kind of things.”
There have been a handful of rulings in recent years against red-light cameras, but Allen said he believes this is a first for speed cameras.
Hamilton County Judge Robert Ruehlman’s emphatic and colorful decision was adorned with capital letters, bold print and exclamation points. In it, he said two speed cameras in the village of Elmwood Place, which were installed last year and caused considerable controversy in the community, violated drivers’ “due process guarantees” under the Ohio Constitution.
“Elmwood Place is engaged in nothing more than a high-tech game of 3 CARD MONTY,” Ruehlman wrote. “It is a scam that the motorists can’t win.”
He wrote in his opinion that even when drivers request a hearing to contest the $105 fines, “the hearing is nothing more than a sham!” The judge said any driver who comes in for a hearing will effectively have to argue against a written report “produced by the company that owns the speed monitoring unit.” There is no ability to cross examine, Ruehlman wrote, while stressing the financial stake the company has in the tickets.
A call to the main office for Elmwood Place was not returned, but Allen said he expects the village to appeal.
Village officials first approved the speed cameras last July, and they were installed in September. The system has since issued thousands of $105 tickets — the company controlling the cameras gets 40 percent of the revenue, while the rest goes to the village.
As with speed cameras in towns and cities across the country, residents complained that they were just a money-making scheme for the local government. Further, businesses complained that people were avoiding the area — and they were losing customers — because the drivers didn’t want to be ticketed.
Interviewed last year, Elmwood Place Police Chief William Peskin told FOX19 that the cameras were installed for public safety.
“I don’t have the manpower to do that. I simply don’t,” Peskin said of traffic enforcement. “These cameras allow me to address other public safety needs.”
The decision comes as other jurisdictions weigh whether to keep enforcement cameras. In Florida, lawmakers are considering whether to scrap the state’s red-light cameras, just two years after they were legalized.



  1. I got one of these “citations” in New Miami… first, it was not on a proper ticket as required by law.. which is why I suppose they are claiming it is civil. Second, neither the notice nor court date were properly served under civil rule 3 and 4… as such, improper service equals failure to serve. I am not paying.

    • Alfar,

      My understanding is you can ignore these things. As you’ve noted, they don’t carry the same weight a ticket issued by a cop or by the state does. Your citation was issued by a private contractor – and while they will try all sorts of pushy tactics (such as threatening to sic bill collectors on you) you can probably just tell them to piss off and there’s not much they can actually do about it. But, check it out to be sure. You don’t want the thug scrum to descend upon you.

    • Alfar, I too received one of these notices of liability in the mail yesterday from the village of New Miami. I am curious as to what you did about yours. I would appreciate it if you would please share that info with me.

  2. In Riga, Latvia, a motorcyclist filmed himself kicking over a speed camera. In the video he posted to YouTube, effects from an old-school Super Mario Bros. videogame were used to emphasise the sporting aspect of thwarting the automated ticketing machine.

    Something we should all aspire to!

  3. 1. Cameras are no deterrent as people continue to get “caught”, either by exceeding an arbitrary limit or the cam is inaccurate.

    2. They expect you to survive your “dangerous” infraction to receive and pay your ticket some 2 weeks after the fact. There are no accurate statistics determining how many “caught” drivers don’t make it back to their letterbox alive due to their infraction.

    3. Avoiding an area with a cam reduces traffic and therefore accidents. There can be no accurate statistics determining how many accidents a cam has reduced.

    In Oz our illustrious Traffic Accident Commission runs ad campaigns obviously financed by the gubberment, stating that cams have reduced the number of fatalities by a third, that there’s 47% reduced accidents at intersections and made school zones safer.

    Blatant lies. If anything, nose-tail prangs at red light cam intersections are increased, as people panic brake to avoid going through a YELLOW!

    People also panic brake for cars parked on the side of the road – even with the bonnet up and, cars getting inherently safer in all areas reduces the road toll, which is why any figure concerning cameras and a “toll” is purely rubbish.

    As for school zones being “safer” is just another lie. If anything, kids are now taught by such advertising that the driver is always at fault and so jaywalking around schools is rife – parents and kids alike.

    They’re aware of these facts, but continue to lie so the money keeps rolling in. That’s what we call blatant fraud.

    • Awesome term “panic brake.” I’ve noticed pretty much everyone does this most of the time, and for nothing. People drive scared constantly! There is no cruise anymore! Most are either on the gas or the brake.

  4. If a $105 ticket don’t make you safe I don’t know what will! Laff.. There is only one thing that can make you safer, writing thousands of them! That’s what I call SUPER SAFE!

  5. This is not the first time a state court has struck the use of these cameras down. I know both Utah and Wisconsin state supreme courts have effectively banned their use as a violation of due process and established a level of proof for issuing tickets that only a live officer or technology beyond what we currently possess could meet.

    This is a ruling that is contrary to a 2008 ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court. Unless this case has significant differences to the earlier ruling, don’t expect it to last–it will likely be turned over on appeal.

    As for Utah, if I could get all these statist, pro-“use” tax, pro-social control Republicans to see that many of ther “use” taxes are actually regressive taxes in disguise and that social control, just like economic control, destroys freedom, then I would be in a much better state (even though, comparatively, Utah is in a much better place than many other states).

  6. “Police Chief William Peskin told FOX19 that the cameras were installed for public safety.”

    And if you believe that lie, he’s got another one he can tell you. This fatass knows full well that the whole reason for the speed cameras is to pay his inflated salary and his pension. That’s exactly the selling point used by the ” company that owns the speed monitoring unit.”

    Notice how Foxnews manages to tell the story in a way that keeps the name of the company committing this fraud out of its reporting, while depicting the scam as a dilemma for the poor, well meaning city police department.

    • Well, then it should be fairly easy to compile before/after statistics showing how much safer the town is since the installation of the various cameras, right?

      I mean, if I want to make a change at work and the stated goal isn’t measured or measurable, it won’t happen.

    • The whole speed/red light camera thing follows a distinct pattern as time goes on. When they want to install the cameras, every other word out of their mouths is “safety”. After the cameras are in operation and people start destroying them or otherwise causing them to stop earning (term used in the same context as it was in “The Sopranos”), the only word you hear them yelling about is “revenue”.

      Based on the description of the language used by the judge, I’d be almost willing to bet that if someone were to file a public records request for the names of all people ticketed by this camera system, somewhere in there will be the name of one Judge Robert Ruehlman. Without a massive groundswell of public support for ending a scamera system like this, the only other way to get a judge to pay more than lip service to the whole thing is to piss him off. I bet he found out the hard way just how difficult it is to contest the average automated traffic ticket. The typical judge’s ego, being so massive in scale as to have its own gravitational field, yet more fragile than a Faberge egg, saw only one course of action when the blustering “Do you know who I am?” defense fell upon deaf ears: He went to war.

      That’s how the snoozing masses have to wake up to what a scam most traffic enforcement really is. Their illusion of “It can’t happen to me, I obey the law” has to be brought crashing down around their ears when it finally does “happen to them”.

  7. As with speed cameras in towns and cities across the country, residents complained that they were just a money-making scheme for the local government. Further, businesses complained that people were avoiding the area — and they were losing customers — because the drivers didn’t want to be ticketed.

    I think this is a rationale course of action by the public. If practical, everyone would avoid areas with speed scamras and red light scamras.

    Hitting local businesses in the wallet, can be a strong motivator for removing scameras from a town.


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