Ohio Attorney General Wants Photo Ticket Hearings Shut Down

The guilt or innocence of Ohio motorists should be decided by judges, not police officers or other municipal appointees, state Attorney General Dave Yost told the Ohio Supreme Court last week. Yost submitted a written brief backing the high-court challenge motorist Susan D. Magsig is mounting against Toledo. Magsig realized that, instead of fighting a ticket in the lower courts, she could bring the case directly to the state Supreme Court because it directly implicated an abuse of judicial authority that only the Supreme Court could resolve.

“The attorney general supports Susan Magsig’s request for a writ of prohibition against the city of Toledo,” Yost wrote to the Supreme Court. “The reason is that Toledo’s ordinance allowing its police department to adjudicate traffic violations contradicts state law.”

Toledo and other cities with photo ticketing devices say they are not bound by House Bill 62 (view law), which directly grants “exclusive jurisdiction” over photo tickets to the municipal court system. The General Assembly enacted the measure as a means of ending the use of administrative hearings in which the judgments are made by individuals who answer to the mayor, city council or police chief. The attorney general argued that this case is “as plain as can be” since all the court needs to do to resolve the dispute is issue an order shutting down the administrative hearings, as the new speed camera law requires.