Published: Wednesday, February 08, 2017 @ 2:53 PM
By: Denise G. Callahan – Staff Writer
A Butler County judge has ruled the village of New Miami must repay speeders every penny of the $3 million it collected from drivers who were caught by the old stand-alone speed cameras.
Judge Michael Oster issued his ruling on Wednesday.
“This court has already found council ordinance 1917 as adopted by the village of New Miami to be unconstitutional,” Oster wrote. “Accordingly, any collection or retention of the monies collected under the ordinance was wrongful. Based upon the aforementioned established Ohio law, this action sub justice is therefore not a civil suit for money damages; but rather, an action to correct the unjust enrichment of the village of New Miami.”
The judge asked the speeders’ attorneys within 30 days to provide him with a spreadsheet of how much their clients were ticketed for, which is the total $3 million.
“The judge’s decision seems to very explicitly suggest that everything that people paid under the ordinance needs to be paid back,” Josh Engel, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, said. “We are very pleased that all of the motorists are going to get their money back. I think it underlines a basic principle that the government must act within the Constitution and a government agency can’t take advantage of people.”
James Englert, New Miami’s outside counsel who has handled the case, could not be reached for comment, but he has said previously they will appeal again. Village Solicitor Dennis Adams also said late last week they will continue to fight.
New Miami’s speed cameras were declared unconstitutional in March 2014, and the case has been in and out of common pleas