Ohio court could decide whether red-light cameras violate state constitution

The Ohio Supreme Court may decide if red light cameras violate the Ohio Constitution. 

The issue is if a city's administrative process for issuing civil violations for running red lights violates the constitution, which grants judicial authority solely to the courts. 

Cities and the companies that operate the cameras want the state's highest court to decide the matter after losing an appeals court ruling. 

In February 2011, Bradley Walker received and subsequently paid a $120 red light camera fine. He then sued RedFlex Traffic Systems and the City of Toledo in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, alleging the civil penalty imposed for running a red light usurped the municipal court's jurisdiction, resulting in unjust enrichment of the city and company. 

Toledo and RedFlex, the Australian company contracted to operate the city's red light and speed cameras, argued the constitutionality question had been settled in Mendenhall v. Akron, which ruled cities have the ability to use cameras under their home-rule authority. 

Walker and his attorney, Andrew Mayle, argued that while cities have the legal authority to use cameras to enforce traffic rules, only the municipal court can hear such charges - not an administrative hearing officer many cities have established. Because the state constitution grants sole authority to the courts for non-parking traffic violations, the penalties collected through the administrative hearing process constitute an unjust enrichment, they argued. 

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