It’s a letter no one wants to get — a citation from a local municipality letting you know that you were clocked by an electronic speed camera, going over the speed limit. But you’d likely just accept your fate and pay the fine, even if you didn’t quite recall seeing any signs warning you that speed cameras were installed.
That’s what tens of thousands of drivers did in Butler County, Ohio, and if a judge’s recent ruling is upheld, they can expect to have their fines repaid — to the tune of a staggering $3 million. Because as it turns out, the speed cameras were reportedly installed by a for-profit company, which took a cut from 45,000 citations issued over 15 months between 2012 and 2015.
According to WLWT News, Judge Michael Oster of Butler County issued the remarkable order on Wednesday, ruling that the Village of New Miami must refund $3 million in fines paid by drivers for traffic camera speeding tickets.
Relying on an earlier ruling from 2014 that held the village’s camera program was unconstitutional, Judge Oster reportedly said said the money collected was an “unjust enrichment” for the village.
The Village of New Miami plans an appeal.
Revenue-generating traffic camera programs have been the target of legal action in the past. Last year, an insider involved in the Redflex Traffic Systems case in Chicago — in which the private red-light camera vendor was found to have secured a lucrative contract through bribery — was sentenced to 10 years for bribery and conspiracy.