New Miami, a tiny town in Ohio with a population under 2,500, has been absolutely raking in the cash with its traffic cameras, citing over 45,000 people in just 15 months for a total of $3 million according to local news channel WLWT5. But after a recent class action lawsuit, the money from those citations is going back to the people. Viva la revolución.
The news site says that, in 2014, a judge declared the unmanned cameras an unconstitutional means of law enforcement. Earlier this month, Judge Michael Oster decided that the money from speed camera citations was, as WLWT5 puts it, “unjust enrichment of New Miami.”
This latest ruling came as part of a class action lawsuit filed by attorney Mike Allen, who argued that the speed cameras didn’t offer motorists who wanted to contest the tickets due process:
If the government wants to reach into your pocket and pull a hundred bucks out for a speeding ticket, they darn well better provide you with an adequate and reasonable and fair forum to contest it if you choose to contest it.
As a result, New Miami will be paying all the money it made from tickets back to the motorists. This is especially unfortunate for the small town, since, according to WLWL5, it paid 40 percent of its earnings to a traffic company that ran the unmanned speed camera system, meaning New Miami stands to lose quite a bit of money from this.
Officials from the town plan to appeal the decision, a process which could take over a year, meaning whoever got a ticket from New Miami shouldn’t hold their breath for that check.
If there’s anything Americans hate more than getting pulled over by a police officer in a Crown Victoria, it’s getting tagged by a speed camera. At least give us a chance to spot our speed traps, will you?
With this ruling, maybe our old-school, low-tech method for traffic enforcement will stick around a bit longer— for better or for worse.
Long live the people.