NEW MIAMI, Ohio -- The Ohio Supreme Court voted 4-3 to deny New Miami’s latest appeal in a $3 million speed camera case.
The high court handed down its decision today, denying the appeal on the issue of sovereign immunity, meaning governments generally can’t be sued for carrying out their duties, like enforcing public safety laws. The tiny village filed the appeal in March.
With the denial the speeders’ attorneys plan to ask a Butler County judge to order speeders’ fines repaid immediately, according to WCPO media partner the Journal-News.
“New Miami has pursued multiple appeals and procedural tactics to delay having to pay back motorists who were fined under this unconstitutional scheme, and has spent hundreds of thousand of dollars in taxpayer money on lawyers,” Josh Engel told the Journal-News. “This appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court was New Miami’s last chance effort to avoid a judgment, and it failed. We will be asking the court to enter an order requiring the village to repay motorists as soon as practicable.”
The 12th District ruled in January that New Miami is not entitled immunity because the village gained funds by collecting fines under the old speed camera program, which has been declared unconstitutional.
The case has been rolling around the courts -- this is the second time it has made its way to Columbus -- since 2013, when a group of speeders, hit with the $95 traffic fine, sued the village.
Retired Butler County Common Pleas Judge Michael Sage declared the speed catchers used in New Miami unconstitutional in 2014.