Cleveland Traffic Cameras Update

Recent Plain Dealer articles are relating that the city of Cleveland said Wednesday that it was continuing its traffic camera enforcement, despite a court decision that said the appeals process in the program was unconstitutional, and drivers who get traffic camera tickets for speeding or running a red light and appeal the citation will continue to have hearings before an administrative officer.

A ruling by the Eighth District Court of Appeals, arising from a complaint filed by a Columbus resident ticketed for speeding in Cleveland, questioned the legitimacy of the city's system for vetting complaints about traffic camera tickets which resulted in the city’s temporarily suspending hearings on traffic camera ticket appeals. But, the article related, “although the District Court’s decision said the appeals process was unconstitutional, it didn't bar Cleveland from operating its traffic cameras and proceeding with its existing appeals system, the city said in a prepared statement.” (See Jodka v. Cleveland, case 99951, 2014-Ohio-208).

That statement further elaborated “The recent Eighth District Appeals Court decision in Jodka v. Cleveland established the Plaintiff had no standing to proceed with the claims in his lawsuit. It also included language that discussed the Court’s view of the constitutionality of the appeals process, but it does not bar the City from operating its traffic camera program and proceeding with the established appeal process in the Municipal Clerk’s office. Civil traffic camera appeal hearings under Cleveland Codified Ordinance 413.031 will again be scheduled.

“The City continues to evaluate its appeal process to determine whether another process may be implemented to address the concerns expressed by the Appeals Court.

“Finally, the City of Cleveland will continue to monitor court action on this matter, as the Plaintiff (Jodka) has asked the Appeals Court to reconsider its opinion.”

A second article, this morning, though, reports “Cleveland's traffic camera system lost another court test, with a ruling yesterday in favor of a man spotted speeding by one of the automated cameras.”

“It was another panel of judges who sit on the Eighth District that delivered the latest blow,” the second article said. “The judges reversing a trial court decision that had upheld a traffic ticket and fine against driver Darrell Dawson of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, who was ticketed at 71st Street and Chester in Cleveland… The opinion did not address all of Dawson's contentions, simply referenced theJodka ruling that called the appeals process unconstitutional.” ( Dawson v. Cleveland, case CV-792131, 2014-Ohio-500 )

Cleveland spokeswoman Maureen Harper said of the second ruling: "Given that it was based on the Jodka case, which is still pending before the court, we will continue to monitor the court's action on the matter closely. At this time, our traffic camera program will continue."

Toledo’s traffic camera case at the Ohio Supreme Court is still pending.