“Elmwood Place is engaged in nothing more than a high-tech game of 3-Card Monty, (sic)” Ruehlman wrote, referring to a card game used by con artists.
And with that phrase, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman stopped a six-thousand-ticket-per-month operation.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, the tiny village of Elmwood Place near Cincinnati, Ohio was partnered with speed-camera firm Optotraffic to write three tickets a month for every man, woman, and child residing within the municipal limits. Optotraffic received $41 of every $105 ticket. At the village boundaries, the speed limit drops from 35 to 25mph — a tactic used infamously by “the corruption capitol of Ohio”, New Rome. Unlike that now-defunct municipality, however, Elmwood Place doesn’t have a kangaroo court and outsized police force to do their dirty work. They simply sit back and let the private partnership with Optotraffic rake in over three hundred thousand dollars per month in fines.
No longer. Judge Ruehlman brought a halt to the proceedings with a permanent injunction. Elmwood Place plans to appeal, of course. This may be the start of a genuine legal dialogue about speed cameras in Ohio — or it may simply be a rare sensible and ethical act from the state’s judiciary. Let’s hope it’s the former.