5 things to know about the New Miami speed camera case

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5 things to know about the New Miami speed camera case

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A new billboard warns motorist of the speed cameras set up in New Miami, Thursday, June 27, 2013. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

The Village of New Miami is asking the 12th District Court of Appeals to let them off the hook for $3 million it owes to speeders it illegally fined.

The village officially filed its appeal brief last week saying as a governmental entity it can’t be sued for damages. A class of speeders sued the tiny village in 2012 and a Butler County judge found the old program unconstitutional two years later. Here are five things you need to know about the case:

1. Speeders were only ticketed by the speed cameras if they were going 11 miles over the limit.

In the appeal brief it notes the old unmanned speed camera program used laser beams to clock drivers going 46 mph or faster. Then the $95 tickets were sent out to 44,993 speeders.

2. Speeders and village differ on the amount of damages.

New Miami contracted with Optotraffic to run the speed camera program, and for that service, the Maryland traffic camera business was paid $1.2 million, or 40 percent of the total fine collection amount. So the final figure the speeders wanted to collect is $3 million plus $367,560 in interest. The village has maintained it is only liable for the $10,728 paid by speeders who actually went through the improper hearing process which is at the heart of the case.

3. No settlement anytime soon.

As of the end of April the village has been billed more than $260,000 by its attorneys and had paid $253,537. New Miami and the speeders have not had any settlement talks since Judge Michael Oster ordered the first mediation conference last October. One of the speeders’ attorneys Mike Allen said no future settlement talks are scheduled and he isn’t hopeful.

4. Speeders attorneys have driven some unique tactics

Last year the speeders’ attorneys accused the village of fraud for contracting with an out-of-state firm to run the new speed camera program. The village at that time had collected $49,500 in new fines and the speeders asked the judge to garnish those revenues. The judge refused. As of the end of April, New Miami has collected $524,478 under the new program where police officers train hand-held speed cameras at drivers on the main drag through town.

5. New Miami speed camera case has stalled at appellate level

The village appealed the class certification issue to the 12th District Court of Appeals twice and the Ohio Supreme Court once. The speeders have come out victorious — the high court refused to take jurisdiction — on all three appellate visits. New Miami’s outside counsel also recently was turned down by the 12th District when he wanted the court to briefly remand the case to Oster so he can tie up some loose ends in the case, like exactly how much money is owed to speeders.

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