It pays to have a lawyer for a husband, but not all drivers are that fortunate.
Attorney Gary M. Stern filed a class-action lawsuit when his wife received two speed camera citations in the mail. The fine for each ticket was $85.
He said his wife was not driving the car at the time of the alleged offense. In his suit Stern charged that the city does not follow the terms of its own ordinance which requires a 14-day notice before installing the cameras.
In his suit Stern also claims the ordinance is not constitutional.
"Persons who wish to contest their citations are limited to a hearing that is not subject to any prescribed rules of procedure or evidence, and is not heard by an impartial tribunal, but is decided by a police officer employed by the very department that issued the citation, whose decision is final and not subject to judicial review or further appeal, all of which violate the due process rights guaranteed by the Ohio and the United States constitutions," said Stern in his suit.
Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge David E. Henderson agreed with Stern, at least initially, and issued a preliminary injunction against the city. Steubenville police took down the automated speed enforcement cameras.
Stern wants the $229,000 in fines already collected by the city to be refunded, according to a statement on his web site.
The case is further evidence of the need for drivers to take action to protect themselves from unjust tickets from red light and speed cameras, according to Joe Scott of PhantomPlate, Inc., manufacturer of PhotoBlocker™.
"Not everyone has a spouse who is a lawyer. The average driver does not have the means to defend themselves in court, even if they are innocent. Thousands of drivers are getting tickets they do not deserve," said Scott.
Numerous news stories testify to the imperfect nature of the traffic enforcement cameras, and the many people who continue to be victimized by them.
Scott's company makes PhotoBlocker™, a spray used by more and more drivers as a form of protection against unjust tickets, and has a web site.
PhotoBlocker™ is a simple aerosol spray that when applied to a license plate does not in any way alter the appearance of the plate to the naked eye, but the flash picture from a red-light camera or speed camera makes the number on the plate unreadable. Over 500,000 cans of the spray have been sold, according to Scott.
"Drivers are tired of getting unjust tickets. The cost in time and money to defend themselves is excessive, so they would rather use PhotoBlocker™ spray to save money by preventing the unjust tickets. We want our roads to be safe, and we do not encourage anyone to break the law. But we know how frustrating it is to get a ticket you do not deserve," explained Scott.
"We get calls, e-mails and letters from many professionals who use PhotoBlocker spray. Journalists, doctors, lawyers, firefighters, teachers, judges and police officers themselves have resorted to using PhotoBlocker spray to avoid entrapment," said Scott.
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