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-   -   Columbus, Ohio: Innocent Or Not, You’re Paying Us (https://www.speedtraphunter.net/nma-articles/2553-columbus-ohio-innocent-not-you-re-paying-us.html)

NMA Reporter 2010-07-28 22:35

Columbus, Ohio: Innocent Or Not, You’re Paying Us
<b>NMA Article: Columbus, Ohio: Innocent Or Not, You’re Paying Us</b><br/><br/><p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1359" style="margin-bottom: 8px;" title="columbus-money" src="http://blog.motorists.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/columbus-money.jpg" alt="" width="525" height="200" /><br />
If you’ve read any of our articles in the past, you know that red light ticket cameras have a way of helping city council members forget about basic due process rights.</p>
<p>This <a href="http://www.10tv.com/live/content/teninvestigates/stories/2010/07/19/story-columbus-red-light-cameras.html?sid=102">story from 10TV News</a> in Ohio shows that Columbus, Ohio’s program is one of the worst in that respect:</p>
<blockquote><p><em>According to Columbus policy, a driver has to pay $95 to have a hearing.  If the driver does not pay, he or she loses.  If he or she pays late, the payment rises to $120 and the driver could wind up at collections. [...]<br />
<p><em>10 Investigates wanted to know how often the policy catches innocent drivers and forces them to pay just to get a hearing.  We found plenty of cases.</em></p>
<p><em>In 2009, we found 60 cases.  There were 71 cases the previous year.  That is about 14 percent of the people who contest their tickets just are not guilty.</em></p>
<p><em>10 Investigates tracked down several of them and brought them to our studios.</em></p>
<p><em>“I feel like its highway robbery,” said Janice Henry, who was found not guilty.  “It’s just not fair.”</em></p>
<p><em>Dorothy Stills said that she had to use her child support credit card to prove that she was innocent.  She said that she had no other money.</em></p>
<p><em>“It’s totally unfair,” Stills said.  “It’s unfair to anyone, even if you’ve got a good paying job.”</em></p></blockquote>
<p>This isn’t the end of the story. It actually gets worse:</p>
<blockquote><p><strong><em>Even more insulting, some drivers said, is what happens after you prove you’re innocent.  The city keeps your money for at least 60 to 90 days, Aker reported.</em></strong></p></blockquote>
<blockquote><p><em>“I think the City of Columbus should be ashamed of itself,” said Joshua Dressler, a nationally renowned law professor, who has authored volumes of articles and textbooks on criminal law.</em></p>
<p><em>According to Dressler, the system violates a fundamental concept of American justice.</em></p>
<p><em>“This system turns everything on its head,” Dressler said.  “It basically requires a citizen to prove himself or herself innocent of the infraction and requires them to effectively pay the penalty just to get themselves into court.”</em></p></blockquote>
<p><span id="more-1357"></span>This exchange with the City Council President gives some insight into how the city justified its ticket camera program:</p>
<blockquote><p><em>Columbus City Council President Mike Mentel was asked why he sponsored a law that required the upfront payments.</em></p>
<p><em>“We are assuring people show up (to court),” Mentel said.  “If they have the adequate evidence, then the money will be returned to them.”</em></p>
<p><em>Early on, Mentel seemed to think anyone who got a ticket must be guilty.</em></p>
<p><em>“If you don’t want to face this problem at all, don’t run a red light,” Mentel said.</em></p>
<p><em>After Aker told Mentel of cases like Stills, Mentel seemed to have a change of heart.</em></p>
<p><em>“Let’s get it done,” Mentel said.  “Let’s not have a debate and talk about it.  Let’s get it corrected.  Let’s help this lady.  Let’s help other people in her circumstance.”</em></p></blockquote>
<p>Like most cities with ticket camera programs, the local politicians were too blinded by the potential revenue to see the terrible situation they’ve created for drivers in their city. It’s a story we’re seeing far too often. However, thanks to investigations like this one, more and more people are starting to see ticket cameras for what they really are: a scam.</p>
<p><div style="padding: 5px 0px 2px 0px;height:20px;width:525px;background-color:#ffffbe;text-align:center;"><b>Are You A NMA Member?</b> If not, read about <b><a href="http://www.motorists.org/memberbenefits/">the benefits</a></b> and then <b><a href="https://www.motorists.org/join/">join!</a></b></div><br /><br/><br/><a href="http://blog.motorists.org/innocent-drivers-forced-to-pay/">Columbus, Ohio: Innocent Or Not, You’re Paying Us</a></p>
Further Reading:<ul><li style="line-height:1.5em;"><a href="http://blog.motorists.org/can-missouri-red-light-camera-tickets-be-thrown-away/" rel="bookmark" title="April 28, 2008">Can Missouri Red-Light Camera Tickets Be Thrown Away?</a></li>
<li style="line-height:1.5em;"><a href="http://blog.motorists.org/red-light-camera-mistakenly-tickets-soldier-in-iraq/" rel="bookmark" title="February 8, 2008">Red-Light Camera Mistakenly Tickets Soldier Serving In Iraq</a></li>
<li style="line-height:1.5em;"><a href="http://blog.motorists.org/red-light-camera-tickets-innocent-driver-yet-again/" rel="bookmark" title="September 22, 2009">Red Light Camera Tickets Innocent Driver Yet Again</a></li>
<li style="line-height:1.5em;"><a href="http://blog.motorists.org/st-louis-aldermen-dont-have-to-worry-about-paying-tickets/" rel="bookmark" title="December 15, 2008">St. Louis Aldermen Don’t Have To Worry About Paying Tickets</a></li>
<li style="line-height:1.5em;"><a href="http://blog.motorists.org/bait-and-switch-funds-diverted-away-from-trauma-centers/" rel="bookmark" title="November 1, 2007">Bait And Switch: Funds Diverted Away From Trauma Centers</a></li>
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