- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

CINCINNATI (AP) - Some Ohio cities are still using traffic cameras while others have shut them off amid uncertainty over a court ruling on a new law.

The law passed by legislators late last year sharply restricts camera use with requirements including that a police officer be present. A Lucas County judge on Sunday granted a preliminary injunction sought by Toledo to block the law, agreeing that it appeared to interfere with “home-rule” powers granted to cities under Ohio’s constitution.

The cities of Akron and Dayton concluded that also blocks the law statewide and are continuing camera use. Columbus halted camera use, but is reviewing the ruling.

Dayton had turned off its cameras Monday because of the new law, then later in the day turned them back on.

“After careful consideration, city legal counsel determined that the injunction applies statewide,” spokeswoman Toni Bankston said.

Springfield and Middletown stopped camera enforcement, while Hamilton is among a handful of communities using cameras under the new requirements.

The Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reported (https://bit.ly/18UB0m8 ) Middletown deactivated its 14 red-light cameras at eight intersections throughout the city. Les Landen, Middletown’s law director, told the newspaper that the city hasn’t yet gotten involved in legal challenges to the new law filed by several other cities.

“But that doesn’t mean we’re not paying attention to what is going on,” Landen said. “We’re going to keep an eye on this.”

Cities insist the cameras help make streets safer and stretch police resources. Opponents say they trample motorists’ rights and are mainly meant to raise revenue.

Meanwhile, an attorney for motorists asked again for the Ohio Supreme Court to reconsider its position upholding use of camera enforcement. The court ruled 4-3 in December in a ticketed driver’s challenge to Toledo’s camera system, and rejected a subsequent request by attorney Andrew Mayle to reconsider. The Fremont attorney is asking the state’s high court to reconsider a related case involving a driver in Cleveland, in hopes it will override the earlier ruling for Toledo. His filing acknowledged it was “a long shot.”

Drivers in two of Ohio’s largest cities weren’t affected immediately by the legal battle: Cincinnati doesn’t have traffic cameras, and Cleveland residents voted against their use last November. County-level judges have ruled over the past two years to halt traffic camera use in the southwest Ohio villages of New Miami and Elmwood Place.


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