Iowa Woman Takes Fight Over $75 Speeding Ticket To State Supreme Court

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Last week, an Iowa woman brought her legal dispute over a $75 speeding ticket to the Iowa state supreme court, saying an automated traffic system unconstitutionally and wrongly flagged her for driving too fast, according to the Associated Press.

Towns across the U.S. rely on traffic cameras to catch speeding motorists, but Marla Leaf says Cedar Rapids, Iowa, violated her right to equal protection and due process, when it hired a private contractor to run and monitor the equipment.


Here’s more from the Associated Press:

Leaf said she pursued the case all the way to the Iowa Supreme Court for a simple reason: She’s not guilty. Given her experience, she also questioned whether Cedar Rapids’ system is fair to motorists.

“Why should I pay for a ticket I didn’t do,” she asked after the hearing. “Why should others have to pay for tickets they didn’t do?”

Leaf’s case, which the Iowa Supreme Court combined with another case with similar arguments involving six vehicle owners, is unusual because small claims rarely make it to the state’s highest court.

Leaf’s incident dates to Feb. 5, 2015, when an automated speed camera allegedly caught her traveling at 68 mph in a 55 mph zone, the Associated Press reports. Leaf swears she was going no faster than 55 mph. The Iowa case is interesting not only because small claims cases rarely make it to the highest courts, but Iowa is apparently the only state in the U.S. that allows automated cameras to be used on federal interstates, according to the Associated Press.

A decision isn’t expected by the court for several months, the news outlet reports, but I’m sure it’s a heartwarming tale for drivers everywhere to see someone dispute a potentially-unconstitutional $75 ticket all the way up to the state supreme court.

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk

Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`



I’ll make anyone in support of speed cameras (and honestly let’s throw red light cameras in as well since we know they increase rear-end collisions) a deal.

I’ll drop my opposition to cameras and “automated” ticketing if you agree to all the following:

  • All tickets must be validated by a human being before being issued, not on appeal.
  • All tickets must have the option for an appeal where zero fee is paid if the ticket is dropped.
  • 100% of ticket revenue over operating cost of the system must go to a nationally recognized charity out of control of the state. Any commission paid to a private company or money retained by the town/state/city is a conflict of interest.
  • All footage and records of non-violators to be deleted within 30 days.