Traffic Cameras: A controversial issue not new to the Valley - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Traffic Cameras: A controversial issue not new to the Valley

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio- A pervious Ohio Supreme Court ruling gives Youngstown and other cities a green light to use traffic cams. A controversial issue that's not new to the Valley.

It's been about five years since a lawyer sent a message by using his car to block a traffic camera that the city of Girard had placed in front of his office. That attorney later teamed up with a former councilman and filed a law suit against the city claiming the cameras were unconstitutional. A judge ruled in their favor and ordered the city to remove the cameras and pay back a portion of the fines collected.

Now, Youngstown is taking steps to place the cameras in school zones, a move Attorney Dave Betras says is perfectly legal following a 2008 Supreme Court ruling allowing traffic enforcement to be handled administratively, where as before it was always a court matter.

"Because it is not really a judicial finding against you," Betras explained. "It's more like a penalty. Like not getting your dog tags or paying a license to have a vending."

By allowing the change in law, the Supreme Court did make guidelines. "For instance, if you are caught speeding no points can be assessed; it is strictly a civil fine. You can't go to jail for it, it acts as a collection," Betas said.

Youngstown city leaders have yet to work out details of the camera plan.

The city will work with the company supplying cameras to determine where to place the devices. The city must also determine at which speed they'll start handing out tickets and the amount of fines.

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