5/4/2006Ohio: Speed Trap Village Runs Illegal Court
Brice, Ohio has canceled court hearings over concern the speed trap village violated the law.
The mayor of Brice, Ohio has canceled mayor's court hearings until further notice after lawmakers insisted that the village was in violation of a 2003 statute designed to prevent speed traps.
In Ohio, 333 towns use mayor's courts to process traffic tickets and minor infractions with the mayor able both to decide guilt or innocence in individual cases and to decide how to spend the fine money that is collected. Ohio's top ten most successful mayors together brought in $2.3 million for their budget in 2004 with this system. Louisiana is the only other state to use mayor's courts.
Brice raised 40 percent of the village budget by issuing tickets at a rate of 7.6 citations per resident. Ohio law says that no village of less than 100 residents, as defined by U.S. census figures, may operate a mayor's court. Brice has 70 residents. Lawmakers are now considering raising the minimum figure.
"It doesn't make sense to have mayor's courts for villages that small," [Rep. Larry] Wolpert, [R-Hilliard] said. "Clearly, when you have seven violations per resident, that ratio is very high." Rep. Larry L. Flowers, R-Canal Winchester, whose district includes Brice, said he would support increasing the limit to 200.Source: SHADES OF NEW ROME? (Columbus Dispatch (OH), 5/4/2006)
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