NEWS

Car thief court clerk’s red light debt collection scheme

There's no law or ordinance that lets Turner use cops to scan plates and impound cars for red light camera tickets

Thousands of Cleveland and Ohio motor vehicle owners who visit downtown and received automated camera citations from the cameras that once existed in the city before voters rejected them in 2014 are 

 

 

The unpaid “civil” automated camera citations Cleveland’s financial records still carry as a debt are not collectable unless the city files a civil claim in the municipal court and one of the city’s 13 judges decides the debt is owed.   There’s a wrinkle, however, that prevents the city’s judges or even higher courts from affirming the debt.

The “wrinkle” is Chapter 40 and section 203(a) of Cleveland’s charter that voters enacted on November 4, 2014.   It reads in plain English as follows and Cleveland Clerk of Court acknowledged to me that he read it.

   “The City, including its various Boards, agencies and departments, shall not use any traffic law photo-monitoring device for the enforcement of a qualified traffic law violation, unless a law enforcement officer is present at the location of the device and personally issues the ticket to the alleged violator at the time and location of the violation.”
   The definition of “ticket” in subsection (b)(3) of chapter 40 is important because it encompasses any form of communication that might be established between the city and the vehicle owner who received one.  It appears to even include a verbal communication between an official of the clerk’s office who informs a person that they owe for an unpaid ticket that was issued as a result of the automated cameras voters rejected in 2014.  It would include a police officer operating on behalf of the clerk using a scanner to search license plates to see if a vehicle owners has an unpaid camera ticket; and then communicate to the person that a debt is owed.  Turner told me he fully understands the charter section “The City, including its various Boards, agencies and departments” have a duty to obey.
Any ordinance enacted prior to the passage of this Amendment that contravenes any of the foregoing is void. After the enactment of this Amendment, the City shall not enact or enforce any ordinance that contravenes any of the foregoing. In the event that any provision of this Section 203 is found to be unconstitutional or impermissibly in conflict with state or federal law, only such provision found to be unconstitutional or impermissible will be stricken, and the remainder of Section 203 will remain in full force and effect.

 

 

The duties of Earl Turner in the official capacity as the municipal corporation’s “clerk of court” are found in the Ohio revised code

 

There isn’t a general law anywhere in Ohio’s revised code that lets elected or appointed public officials create a “policy” that circumvents a law that instructs them not to perform an act the law doesn’t authorize. 

 

http://library.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Ohio/cleveland_oh/cityofclevelandohiocodeofordinances?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:cleveland_oh

Eric Jonathan Brewer
Author, Investigative Journalist, Speaker, Politician, Consultant

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