Judge Forces Town To Return $3 Million To Residents Fined By "Unconstitutional" Traffic Cameras

Tyler Durden's picture

A Butler County judge has ordered the village of New Miami to refund $3 million in fines to over 45,000 motorists ticketed for speeding by traffic light cameras, ruled unconstitutional in 2014.

As the local ABC affiliate reports, a judge says the placement of stationary traffic cameras wasn't fair to drivers and now a local community has to pay back $3 million in fines.

It’s a controversial battle over unmanned cameras.


The cameras were ruled unconstitutional in 2014 by Butler County Common Pleas Judge Michael J. Sage, who approved class action status.



Controversy still surrounds the use.


The village of New Miami has to pay back drivers for fines collected for nearly two years while the cameras were in place.


In a ruling handed down on Wednesday, Judge Michael Oester said the money paid to the village gave it an unfair advantage at the expense of speeders.



So now the village has to return the money paid by drivers involved in a class action lawsuit.


That's a total of about $3 million.


Nearly 45,000 people were cited in 15 months.

As TheAntiMedia's Josie Wales notes, of the $3 million collected in fines, 60% of the revenue went to the village while 40% went to the traffic light company running the program. The village’s attorney plans to take the case to the Supreme Court, claiming the village should not be responsible for funds it did not receive, seemingly ignoring the fact that it was responsible for implementing the unconstitutional program and collecting the fines in the first place.

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I got hit in Cali by one of those fukkers.  A cool 5 hundy. 

NoDebt's picture

I once got pulled over in CA on my way from Vandenberg AFB to Las Vegas doing 138 MPH on Christmas Eve (no, seriously, I'm not joking).  It only cost me $600, but this was in 1992 dollars.  Call bullshit if you like, but I didn't get arrested, the car didn't get impounded and I didn't have to attend traffic court- just a roadside ticket (initially at gunpoint) with the amount of the fine left blank.  It was sort of unusual circumstances, due mostly to it being Christmas Eve, but I digress.


steve2241's picture

Make and model, please.

NoDebt's picture

86 Pontiac Trans Am.  Modified by my brother for road racing (it was his car, he was asleep in the passenger seat while I was driving).  He was stationed at Vandenberg at the time, I was out visiting him.  There's not much to do for fun at Vandenberg on Christmas Eve.  We got the idea "Hey, you know, we could be in Vegas in 8 hours!"

I wasn't going that fast the whole time but there are stretches where it's just.... desert.  Nobody around.  So I leaned into it a little.  I was really more concerned about either hitting some creature crossing the road or just over-driving the headlights.  Only car I saw in probably half an hour going the other way and it was a cop.  

detached.amusement's picture

lol, fast begins around that speed....if he said 180, then I'd have wondered what make and model

if the dotted line still appears dotted, you're not going fast

Ex-Oligarch's picture

For future reference, highwayrobbery.net is a great resource for Californians who want to fight red light tickets.
Even if you don't want to go to the trouble of fighting in court, the site is worth a visit because it explains that in some cases citations can be safely ignored -- it's the recipient's response that triggers enforcement. 
The guy who created the site is a citizen hero as far as i am concerned.

monad's picture

When Gavin Newsom was mayor of SF they got busted for ticketing people out of the DMV license registry, who weren't even in the state at the time. That dirtbag hopes to be governor.

swamp's picture

I Demurred and won.
Illegal as hell.
Check out hiwayrobbery.net.

Traffic Safety laws are for traffic safety.
The States have turned this illegal enterprise into a revenue generating machine for their pensions even making new laws that are dangerous like cutting yellow light time to get more red light runner revenue.

swamp's picture

Also there are 1.5 million gov cars in CALIFORNIA that have plates that are invisible to these cameras and some cars are for personal use.

Don't some online store have a type of clear paint that makes plates invisible to cameras. They say it is illegal but if the camera cannot read the plate how would they know it is not a state car?

neidermeyer's picture

The governments workers get their personal info redacted from the license plate database so the automatic ticketing fails as there is no name or address accessible to the red-light company they contract with ... they claim it's for their safety.  Some animals are just MORE equal I guess.

detached.amusement's picture

that's the PIA with some of the on ramps to the interstate in CT - if CT finances the deal then they arm bar the locality into letting them control the lights.  some of them literally have ~quarter second yellows - (another fkd up part) - at times, they do, and others, not.

civil engineers getting too creative

onwisconsinbadger's picture

In Texas those camera companies have a 99 year contract with local governments. WTF ?

vegan's picture

The joke is on the camera-companies. Do they really think these local governments will be solvent in 99 years?

Mini-Me's picture

What the Fed isn't stealing through inflation, the bureaucrats are taking through programs like this.  It's for your safety, you see.

Lead_Paint_Chips's picture

Haven't been pulled over in years, but I drive only 9 miles a day. There are 2 spots cops hang out, and even then it's rare. I routinely do 80 in a 55 because it shouldn't be a 55, and actually going that slow is actually the dangerous thing.

In the off chance I get pulled over and actually written a ticket, I'm definitely telling the cop that I realize it's his job, but how does it feel to be a tax collector instead of protecting and serving? 


Police themselves need to revolt, particularly in cities where resources could be better utilized elsewhere.

TheEndIsNear's picture

I recently broke down and purchased a $600 Valentine V1 radar detector because of all the glowing articles at EricPetersAutos about it. It was well worth the cash and saved my bacon enough times to pay for itself.

BTW: Eric Peters is a Libertarian who sometimes writes for LewRockwell.com


Pickleton's picture

Well at least you're happy about getting scammed $600 dollars.

archon's picture

Police won't revolt.  Why would they do that?!  In a police state, they're the top of the food chain!  They have everything in a job private citizens don't have in theirs: generous pay and benefits, job security, perks, pensions, and they're allowed to give the treatment to anbody who questions their intentions or motives.

Mr. Pain's picture

Well in a revolt, they the top cops become the target. Hunt down the scum that floats to the top. They are the cause of such corruption. The every day cop is just a traitor to the constitution. Oh, don't forget the city council. They are the ones that set forth policy. 

SilverRoofer's picture

They took them out of my town along with the speed trap Van as well


lasvegaspersona's picture

The law is an ass and government is evil.

It is a product of society. The guy next door want your wealth...appears to be a common recurring problem.

rejected's picture

So what about asset confiscation Judge? 

Adequate and reasonable fair quorum? 

LOL,,, it's amazing what the People will put up with!

Tiwin's picture

Apparently they will put up with drinking Jewish sperm and standing in jewish shit -as long as their party is in office.

duffelpud's picture

In College Station, Texas we referendumed them out of the city.  Funny thing, though - the council had already spent the projected revenues and had to seriously scale back.

Government needs you to pay taxes's picture

CSPD prolly just focused on busting a few more Aggie football players.

chosen's picture

Another fucking stupid idea. If local governments need more money, they should have an election where property tax increase is put on the ballot or put a bond issue on the ballot.  Naturally they would lose, so they do this kind of stupid shit instead.  Fuck them, it is great to see it fail.

boattrash's picture

Property tax on the ballot??

And ONLY property owners are allowed to vote.


samsara's picture

40 % went to the camera company. There all you need to know.

It would be interesting to see how the company got the contact. Any payments to current or past local government officials.

Seasmoke's picture

And most likely owned by Goldman Sachs.

whatamaroon's picture

The more important point is the city got 60%

fannyplucker's picture

Traffic cameras are a way of extortion by corrupt city council in collusion with corporations that sell them

shovelhead's picture

The city council wanted to put a light in our main drag intersection.

We told them to go stuff it. We like out 4 way stop just fine thanks.

SuperRay's picture

3000 tickets a months. When do they IPO?

Brutus Buckeye's picture

Traffic cameras are so passe.  In the near future, the subjects will be monitored by their own vehicle's black box which will send the infraction, each infraction, directly to the Obergruppenfuhrer.

HelloSpencer's picture

Not only that. Doors will be locked, control of the car will taken from you and you will be delivered straight to where justice awaits you.

Placerville's picture

I have cars that use carburetors and distributors that have rollup windows...

The One...'s picture

Placerville? You a prospector or just live there?

ReZn8r's picture

Not on my truck. They can all go fuck each other in the ass on this deal.

Dragon HAwk's picture

Must not be any sharp shooters in that town... Oh wait you said California,  i was thinking Florida

HelloSpencer's picture

Accountability, where are you hiding? We need you badly.

ssm's picture

There are a number of problems with speed cameras, most mentioned here. But missing is the fact that there is a 'basic speed law' in California that is wildly misinterpretted (often by police) ...

Basically, you can drive a speed that is 'safe'. For instance, if the posted speed limit is '35' but road conditions, traffic, weather, etc. make it safe at 45,then you are OK legally (tell that to the cop, huh? Poorly trained ...).

I once got a ticket on PCH in Southern Cal. for just this and it was beatable in court because conditions at the time were great.

Freeways are different - that is a maximum, and not covered by basic speed.

Nonetheless, cameras are bad because they catch a single snapshot and the rules they use don't leave any leeway. Places that put them up, as mentioned here, do so to make money and for no other reason.


rockstone's picture

When are these going up in Dallas?

whatamaroon's picture

We had a grassroots revoltin Arlington, got it on the ballot, cameras are gone. I threw the 3 tickets I got in the trash. 2 of them were from Dallas county.

tarabel's picture



I read that in Finland, the tickets are pro-rated based on your income so some rich guy can get a ticket for a 100,000 for the same offense as the busboy who pays like a 100. 

sinbad2's picture

I don't know about the fines, but they are some of the best drivers in the world, if you can't do a handbrake turn, you don't get a licence.

mrvco's picture

In Colorado you are under absolutely no obligation to pay or respond to any ticket that you receive in the mail per C.R.S. 42-4-110-5.  The only way they carry any weight is if you are served in person... and I've never heard of that happening, ever.

Ms No's picture

They need to remove those everywhere.  We have had big battles in AZ about them and they are still here for some reason.  I didn't answer my door for a year because I blew by a school zone in an unfamiliar neighborhood that was only marked by folded signs in the road.  There were no other signs besides those and traffic blocked my view of them.  I would never blaze through a school zone knowingly.  I drove back through it and couldn't recognize it as a school zone the second time either.  They created a death trap and a speed trap.

I had a big plume of black smoke out the back but you could see the front clear as day and I had a piece of paper hanging out of my mouth.  I had out of state plates and they sent it to my old out of state address.  I called a lawyer and he told me to just avoid them for a while and whatever you do don't log on with the ticket number as instructed. 

Those things are bullshit and they put them in places where the speed isn't marked well.  Nobody responds to them here and you can get a license for 15 years, so good luck to them because they have a deadline.  There were local articles saying that our politicians were using the money from these tickets for campaign finance.

TheEndIsNear's picture

Does anyone know if this PhotoBlocker spray-on stuff works for license plates?