An Ohio judge found that a village ordinance that allowed the Cincinnati suburb of Elmwood Place to install controversial traffic cameras is invalid and unenforceable, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Elmwood Place is engaged in nothing more than a high-tech game of 3-card Monty,” Judge Robert Ruehlman noted in his decision. Critics have said the cameras – which have generated about $1.5 million, about half of which goes to the 2,000-resident village in new revenue – have less to do with safety than with raising money for village coffers. “It is a scam the motorist cannot win,” the judge wrote.
The village put the cameras in place in July, officials there have said, to slow speeders – not to rake in revenue from the fines. The village hired Maryland-based Optotraffic LLC to install the cameras and bill offenders, allowing the company to keep part of the fine money. When motorists began receiving the $105 speeding tickets in the mail, they exploded in anger. Many have said they now go out of their way to avoid driving in the village, and many business owners there say the cameras, and the fallout, are hurting business. The judge’s ruling could be the nation’s first to address the specific constitutional challenge – whether the driver's due process rights were violated.