Opinion: Cedar Rapids won battle but lost war over traffic cameras

The city of Cedar Rapids may have prevailed in Iowa Supreme Court ruling on Friday finding motorists’ rights had not been violated by Cedar Rapids’ automated traffic cameras, but the city lost the larger battle, said Jim Larew, the Iowa City lawyer behind the case and several others.

“The city of Cedar Rapids may have appeared to have won a battle, but, in fact, they have lost a larger war,” he wrote in an email to The Gazette. “A war it has been waging against hundreds to thousands of vehicle owners who have failed or refused to pay millions of dollars of fines that the city has wrongfully alleged are due and owing.”

One of Larew’s few victories among several traffic camera cases he’s filed over the years was exposing a flaw in which thousands of people who ignored Cedar Rapids tickets were found guilty by default and assessed fines without a municipal infraction process in place.