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Speed Camera Fight
ELMWOOD PLACE, Ohio (Rich Jaffe) -- One side says yes, the other side says no, and today the judge said wait two weeks and I'll tell you.
We're talking about a possible class action lawsuit for people who got speeding tickets from cameras in Elmwood Place.
Even if judge Robert Ruehlman decides the case should be a class action the appeal process will quickly assure the case drags on.
While the camera's aren't currently operating in Elmwood Place the camera's and a lawsuit are still active in other parts of the tri-state. Local 12 News reporter Rich Jaffe has the story from the Hamilton County courthouse with the story.
Attorneys for both sides presented excellent arguments this morning trying to convince the judge which way he should decide. But if anybody thought this case meant a quick payback for their automated speeding ticket in Elmwood, they better think again.
The attorney for Elmwood Place says if you got a ticket from the village speed cameras and paid it, without any argument you have no right to participate in a class action suit against the village.
"If they paid them without appealing they don't have any standing to bring these claims. If they appealed them and lost and didn't bring them to the court of common pleas which is what you do in Ohio they don't have any standing," says village attorney Judd Uhl.
Attorneys for the other side say a class action suit is the simplest and most appropriate way to settle the issues.
Paul DeMarco telling the judge "There is one and only one procedure by which they can get their money back and that's the class action procedure."
Judge Robert Ruehlman says the camera ticket isn't like a ticket from a real,live police officer.
"It's somebody who actually has personal knowledge you can cross examine and then there's a hearing and you can appeal it. This is a machine. Tested once a year,wind,snow,rain,and it just comes up with a little report and somebody reads the report, not much of an appeal is what I'm saying."
If the case moves forward and if the alleged speeders win, Rich Jaffe asked the village attorney, "Can the village of Elmwood afford that?"
Judd Uhl responded, "That money's all set aside. It's sitting right there pending the outcome of this lawsuit."
But it's not just Elmwood Place in the speed spotlight.
Speed cameras are also in use in Butler county's New Miami. While no one's filed an injunction's yet it's in the works. The attorneys say the same technology is being used in Hamilton County and the same arguments could be used as well with potentially an even more lucrative outcome.
Attorney Mike Allen says, "The estimate there is that they've collected about a million dollars so far. That's a small village and that's an unreasonable. There's the same due process issues there you have in Elmwood."
Mike Allen says if you're driving through New Miami and get a ticket from one of the cameras he suggests you go to court, not pay the fines and get ready to sign up for another class action suit. Or just don't speed through New Miami.
Judge Ruehlman says he'll issue a decision on whether the Elmwood Place case should be considered a class action suit on October 22nd.
The attorney for the village says they're already asking the Ohio Supreme Court to give them back their cameras.