Tuesday, November 04, 2008

BREAKING - COAST sues Toledo over access to red-light camera hearings

The Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) and its chairman, Jason Gloyd, have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the City of Toledo, the mayor and others, over the red-light camera hearings.

The suit asks for a "declaratory judgment, temporary restraining order, preliminary and permanent injunction, and nominal damages arising from the unconstitutional policies and practices of the Defendant City in denying Plaintiffs access to certain administrative hearings established by the Defendant City that may result in the imposition of civil liability for putative violators of the Defendant City’s traffic laws."

In early October, Gloyd sent a certified letter - return receipt requested - to Mayor Carty Finkbeiner explaining that he'd made a request to attend the hearings where people appeal their red-light camera violations. He wrote:

"...your administrators in charge of the program have refused to let us know when the hearings are held and have indicated that my admittance is forbidden.

Please contact me at your earliest convenience to provide me with the necessary scheduling information so that I may attend the same."

After receipt of the letter, a representative in the police department phoned Gloyd to tell him that the hearings were closed to the public.

The lawsuit seeks access "to such hearings for the purpose of investigating and reporting on important civil rights, operational, and fiscal issues relating to both the operation of such automated red light camera and speeding camera systems and the enforcement procedures for the same." It states that since such access has been denied - including excluding the media - the city is violating the First and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

COAST seeks a declaratory judgment declaring unconstitutional the Defendants’ policies and practices of prohibiting access to the Red Light and Speeding Hearings to the public and the press; requests the Court to issue preliminary and permanent injunctions enjoining Defendants from enforcing their prohibition on Plaintiffs’ access to the Red Light and Speeding Hearings; and nominal damages as a result of the violation of Constitutional Rights.

The suit asks the Court to:

A. Declare that the Plaintiffs and the public have a right to full and unfettered access to the Red Light and Speeding Hearings;

B. Declare that the Defendants’ lack a compelling interest to preclude Plaintiffs and the public from having access to the Red Light and Speeding Hearings;

C. Declare that, if the Defendant have a compelling interest sufficient to preclude Plaintiffs and the public from having access to the Red Light and Speeding Hearings, then the means utilized by the Defendant are not the least restrictive means to promote such putative compelling interest;

D. Declare Defendants’ policy and procedure of denying access to the Red Light and Speeding Hearings to be unconstitutional and invalid on its face and/or as applied to Plaintiffs;

E. Preliminarily and permanently enjoin Defendants from regulating or limiting the public access afforded to Plaintiffs and others to the Red Light and Speeding Hearings, and thereby permit Plaintiffs and others to attend and observe such Red Light and Speeding Hearings;

F. Award Plaintiffs nominal damages;

G. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1988 and other applicable law, award Plaintiffs’ their costs and expenses incurred in bringing this action, including their reasonable attorneys’ fees; and

H. Grant such other and further relief as the Court deems equitable, just and proper.

They also ask for a temporary restraining order and preliminary enjoining enforcement of the City of Toledo's policy of excluding the public and representatives of the media, including Plaintiff Jason Gloyd and members of COAST, from attending the hearings conducted on red-light and speed cameras.


Christopher M. Terry said...

It was only a matter of time before an individual or group would get these pulled from Toledo. Most other cities have banned them, yet Toledo just had to be different and install them all over. All for safety? Bull. Money was and is the bottom line. Why else did they just recently increase the fines for these? Pull them all!

shaun said...

Whats the penalty for not paying the ticket? I just recieved a violation and it doesnt seem to clearly mark what my violation is? It shows my speed 52 in a 40 and it also gives me three pictures of my vehicle all in which only a yellow light is shown? I am infact midway through the intersection under the yellow light how in the hell can this be dangerous? I dont want ot challenge this because it seems as if these courts being used for red light violations are rigged? So what is the penalty for non-response to the mailed ticket?


Maggie Thurber said...

Shaun - I believe non-payment results in the fine being listed on your credit report and, perhaps, collection procedures...

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