GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) – Traffic court in Girard has been busy lately, filled with people appealing fines from camera-issued speeding tickets.
Driving into Girard on Route 422, drivers are warned at the city limits that traffic laws are photo-enforced. The city has been using the speed cameras since August but gives drivers the chance to appeal their fines.
Magistrate Ron Marks, a former Federal Administrative Judge, presides over the hearings. The most common justifications?
“It wasn’t me, I don’t know who’s driving, I have a family, and I have adult children who drive,” Marks said.
One man was photographed on two consecutive days for going 65 in a 55 mph construction zone on Interstate 80, but he wasn’t notified until much later.
“Had I actually been pulled over by an actual police officer rather than just a photo, obviously I wouldn’t have gotten the second one,” he said.
Marks ended up dropping the second ticket, though the man still had to pay for the first.
The owner of Steven’s Opticals was also photographed doing 65 mph on his way to a medical emergency.
“I went to my Poland office to remove a gas-permeable rigged lens from their eye.”
That charge was dropped as well.
Attorney David Engler was in court with three tickets. He went back-and-forth with the magistrate for eight minutes.
Engler asked him how often the cameras are calibrated and Marks said it was before every use. Engler also questioned if they were truly a safety tool and not just “a tax.”
“What it becomes, I believe, is just a way to take people’s money,” he said.
Despite Engler’s argument, the magistrate still fined him $200 and Engler paid it before he left.
Marks never announced his decision in court. He just handed back the files to each person, and they went to the clerk to learn their ruling.
One man wanted to take his case further in the court system, and Marks granted that.
Two other women said their fines were cut in half.