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1/23/2007
Narrow Ohio Supreme Court Ruling Favors Cameras
A technical ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court supports photo enforcement in Cleveland.

Ohio Supreme Court
A technical ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court issued last month refused to strike down Cleveland's authority to operate a photo enforcement program.

Scott E. Stuart, Katherine A. Scheid and Clement Kollin each joined in a challenge to the city's ordinance after receiving speed camera citations early last year. They sought an order from the court of appeals that would prohibit Cleveland from operating the program because, they argued, it was illegal. The appeals court dismissed the request.

The December ruling agreed, arguing that the "extraordinary relief" sought with a prohibition order requires a heavy burden of proof. The motorists had to prove "beyond doubt" that the city was exercising powers not authorized by law and that no other legal recourse was available.

The high court relied on the state's home rule doctrine to provide evidence that the city arguably had the authority. The court also said "it is unclear" whether Cleveland's ordinance conflicts with state law, and the prohibition order only applies to cases where it is clear.

The ruling is not the last word on the issue as the court made clear in a statement that it "did not address the constitutionality of the city ordinance authorizing the camera system or the enforceability of citations issued under that ordinance."

US District Court Judge David D. Dowd asked the Ohio supreme court in December to clarify the fundamental issue of whether the ordinance conflicts with state law. A full copy of the decision is available in a 50k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File State ex rel. Scott v. Cleveland (Ohio Supreme Court, 12/20/2006)

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