87 N.E.3d 176 (Ohio 2017), 2015-1549, The City of Dayton v. State

Docket Nº:2015-1549
Citation:87 N.E.3d 176, 151 Ohio St.3d 168, 2017-Ohio-6909
Opinion Judge:FISCHER, J.
Party Name:The CITY OF DAYTON, Appellant, v. The STATE of Ohio, Appellee.
Attorney:Barbara J. Doseck, Dayton City Attorney, and John C. Musto, Assistant City Attorney, for appellant. Michael DeWine, Attorney General, and Eric E. Murphy, State Solicitor, Michael J. Hendershot, Chief Deputy Solicitor, Hannah C. Wilson, Deputy Solicitor, and Jordan S. Berman, Assistant Attorney Ge...
Judge Panel:O'CONNOR, C.J., and BALDWIN, J., concur. FRENCH, J., concurs, with an opinion joined by KENNEDY, J. O'NEILL, J., dissents, with an opinion. DeWINE, J., dissents, with an opinion joined by O'NEILL, J. CRAIG R. BALDWIN, J., of the Fifth District Court of Appeals, sitting for O'DONNELL, J. FRENCH, J...
Case Date:July 26, 2017
Court:Supreme Court of Ohio
SUMMARY

At issue in this case was whether three statutes regulating local authorities’ use of red-light and speedy cameras offend the home-rule powers granted to a municipality in Ohio Const. art. XVIII, 3 or whether they qualify as general laws. The court held (1) Ohio Rev. Code 4511.093(B)(1), which requires that a law-enforcement officer be present at the location of a traffic camera, is... (see full summary)

 
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87 N.E.3d 176 (Ohio 2017)

151 Ohio St.3d 168, 2017-Ohio-6909

The CITY OF DAYTON, Appellant,

v.

The STATE of Ohio, Appellee.

No. 2015-1549

Supreme Court of Ohio

July 26, 2017

Submitted Jan. 10, 2017.

Page 177

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Appeal from the Court of Appeals for Montgomery County, No. 26643, 2015-Ohio-3160.

Barbara J. Doseck, Dayton City Attorney, and John C. Musto, Assistant City Attorney, for appellant.

Michael DeWine, Attorney General, and Eric E. Murphy, State Solicitor, Michael J. Hendershot, Chief Deputy Solicitor, Hannah C. Wilson, Deputy Solicitor, and Jordan S. Berman, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

Jerome M. Strozdas, Springfield Law Director, urging reversal for amicus curiae city of Springfield.

Adam W. Loukx, Toledo Director of Law, and Joseph V. McNamara, Assistant Director of Law, urging reversal for amicus curiae city of Toledo.

Eve V. Belfance, Akron Director of Law, and John C. Reece and Michael J. Defibaugh, Assistant Directors of Law; and DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder and Stephen A. Fallis, urging reversal for amicus curiae city of Akron.

Willa Hemmons, East Cleveland Director of Law, urging reversal for amicus curiae city of East Cleveland.

Frost Brown Todd, L.L.C., Philip K. Hartmann, and Yazan S. Ashrawi, Columbus; and Garry E. Hunter, Athens, urging reversal for amicus curiae Ohio Municipal League.

Mayle, Ray & Mayle, L.L.C., Andrew R. Mayle, Fremont, Jeremiah S. Ray, Lakewood, and Ronald J. Mayle, Fremont, urging affirmance for amicus curiae Custom Seal, Inc.

OPINION

FISCHER, J.

[¶ 1] In this case, we address whether three statutes regulating local authorities' use of red-light and speed cameras qualify as general laws, such that the statutes do not offend the home-rule powers granted to a municipality in Article XVIII, Section 3 of the Ohio Constitution. We hold that R.C. 4511.093(B)(1), which requires that a law-enforcement officer be present at the location of a traffic camera, infringes on the municipality's legislative authority without serving an overriding state interest and is therefore unconstitutional. We also hold that R.C. 4511.0912, which prohibits the municipality from issuing a fine to a driver who is caught speeding by a traffic camera unless that driver's speed exceeds the posted speed limit by 6 m.p.h. in a school or park zone or 10 m.p.h. in other areas, unconstitutionally limits the municipality's legislative powers without serving an overriding state interest. Finally, we hold that R.C. 4511.095, which directs the municipality to perform a safety study and a public-information campaign prior to using a camera, unconstitutionally limits the municipality's home-rule authority without serving an overriding state interest.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL POSTURE

[¶ 2] Plaintiff-appellant, the city of Dayton, is an Ohio municipality governed by charter. In 2002, Dayton enacted an ordinance permitting its police department to institute a program using traffic cameras to civilly enforce red-light traffic violations to conserve police resources and to reduce traffic violations and accidents. Prior to

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installing the traffic cameras, Dayton conducted studies to identify those intersections that had a high number of traffic accidents. Almost immediately after installing the traffic cameras, the number of violation-related [151 Ohio St.3d 169] accidents decreased. Because of the success Dayton had with the red-light cameras, Dayton enacted an amended ordinance in 2010 to use traffic cameras to reduce speeding violations.

[¶ 3] Under Dayton's program, cameras take both video and still pictures of vehicles. A police officer then reviews the camera images to confirm that a traffic violation occurred before issuing the owner of the vehicle a " notice of liability." Dayton Ordinances 70.121(D). In part, a " notice of liability" contains the location, date, and time of the traffic violation, copies of the photographs or video of the vehicle, the vehicle's speed if applicable, and the amount of the civil penalty imposed. The vehicle owner then has 30 days to appeal the notice of liability, and an independent hearing officer reviews the appeal.

[¶ 4] After Dayton established its program using red-light and speed cameras, a new state law became effective in March 2015, 2014 Am.Sub.S.B. No. 342 (" S.B. 342" ). S.B. 342 adopted and amended several Revised Code provisions regulating local authorities' use of automated traffic-enforcement programs. It authorizes local authorities to use photo-monitoring devices for traffic-law violations, subject to certain conditions and regulations. The new law defines a " local authority" as " a municipal corporation, county, or township." R.C. 4511.092(D). R.C. 4511.094(A)(1) and (2) require a local authority using traffic cameras to post signs at its jurisdictional borders and at each location where a traffic camera is present notifying motorists that cameras are used or are present. R.C. 4511.096 requires a law-enforcement officer to examine camera footage to determine whether a traffic violation occurred; if so, the local authority, or a designee, may send a violation notice to the registered owner of the vehicle within 30 days of the violation. R.C. 4511.097 requires that certain information be included on a violation notice sent to a vehicle owner and limits the amount a local authority can levy as a fine for a violation.

[¶ 5] S.B. 342 goes beyond establishing procedures for local authorities choosing to use traffic cameras; it also establishes procedures applicable to citizens and entities receiving traffic-camera violations as well as to insurance companies and camera manufacturers. For example, once the registered owner receives notice of a traffic-camera violation, R.C. 4511.098 and 4511.099 establish that the owner can pay the civil fine, submit an affidavit stating that the owner was not driving the vehicle at the time of the infraction, or request an administrative hearing. R.C. 4511.099(G) authorizes an appeal of the administrative decision to either a municipal or county court with jurisdiction over the location where the violation occurred. R.C. 3937.411 prohibits insurance companies from considering violations when issuing policies and establishing rates. And R.C. 4511.0911 requires the manufacturers of the photo-monitoring devices to provide maintenance [151 Ohio St.3d 170] records to local authorities upon request and to attest to the accuracy of the devices annually.

[¶ 6] Only three of these many provisions in S.B. 342 are at issue in this case: (1) R.C. 4511.093(B)(1), the officer-present provision, (2) R.C. 4511.0912, the speeding-leeway provision, and (3) R.C. 4511.095, the study and notice provisions.

[¶ 7] R.C. 4511.093(B)(1) requires the presence of a full-time law-enforcement officer at each traffic camera: it states that " [a] local authority shall use a traffic law photo-monitoring device to detect and enforce

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traffic law violations only if a law enforcement officer is present at the location of the device at all times during the operation of the device." See also R.C. 4511.092(C) (defining " law-enforcement officer" ).

[¶ 8] R.C. 4511.0912 provides that local authorities shall not issue a ticket for a speeding violation unless " the vehicle involved in the violation is traveling at a speed that exceeds the posted speed limit by not less than" 6 m.p.h. in a school zone or park area or 10 m.p.h. in other locations.

[¶ 9] Finally, R.C. 4511.095(A)(1) requires local authorities to " [c]onduct a safety study of intersections or locations under consideration for placement of fixed traffic law photo-monitoring devices." Safety studies " shall include an accounting of incidents that have occurred in the designated area over the previous three-year period and shall be made available to the public upon request." Id. In addition, local authorities must conduct " a public information campaign to inform motor vehicle operators about the use of traffic law photo-monitoring devices at system locations prior to establishing any of those locations." R.C. 4511.095(A)(2). Local authorities must publish a notice in an area newspaper informing the public of the location of the system prior to establishing any of those systems. R.C. 4511.095(A)(3). Local authorities must also abide by a 30-day " public awareness warning period" after installing the traffic camera before levying fines. R.C. 4511.095(A)(4).

[¶ 10] Prior to the effective date of S.B. 342, Dayton filed a verified complaint against defendant-appellee, the state of Ohio, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief and challenging the constitutionality of all of S.B. 342 on home-rule grounds...

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