12/23/2010Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against South Carolina Speed Trap
Class action suit formally filed against Ridgeland, South Carolina freeway speed camera program.
A federal class action lawsuit was filed Monday against the notorious speed camera trap in Ridgeland, South Carolina. Three law firms teamed up to make the case against the town's outspoken mayor, Gary Hodges, members of "the local police department and iTraffic, the private company that operates the cameras on Interstate 95. The case was filed on behalf of residents of Greer, South Carolina; and Dunnellon and Kissimmee, Florida.
"Defendants have conspired to deprive plaintiffs' and class members' property through illegal and unlawful arrests and have collected fines and bonds absent jurisdiction in violation of the constitution, the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments and 42 U.S.C. Section 1985," attorney Pete Strom wrote in his filing with the court.
The lawsuit questions whether Ridgeland can legally use a state uniform traffic ticket to issue a citation under a municipal ordinance. It questions whether a municipal court can take jurisdiction over a driver served with a ticket in the mail, or whether personal service is required. It also asks whether the ticket issuing procedure represents a violation of the constitutional right to due process.
"The plaintiffs and the class alleged that defendants conspired to violate their civil rights to issue and improperly serve illegal State of South Carolina Uniform Traffic Tickets primarily for the purpose to generate revenue for the town," Strom wrote. "The plaintiffs and the class have suffered damages as a result of the defendants' civil rights violations, resulting in improper forfeiture of bond and costs associated with court procedures."
The suit seeks an injunction prohibiting use of the freeway speed camera program and monetary damages. Speed cameras and red light cameras are illegal under South Carolina law (view statute). The Strom Law Firm, Rutherford Law Firm, and Lord Law Firm will argue the case.