The attorney representing those who are fighting against the automated traffic cameras believes he still has a strong case despite a lengthy ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court that cut down some of their arguments.
Lawyer Jim Larew says the process used by the city to try and collect on the speed camera tickets in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines did not follow the process set out in state law known as a “municipal infraction.”
“And in effect none of these proceedings that the cities used abide by those requirements. And I think this is going to prove to be extremely problematic for the cities,” Larew says. Larew says the cities tried to push the drivers who got tickets quickly through what they call administrative proceedings to get them to pay the tickets quickly.
“The court has expressly said you cannot invent a word for these proceedings. This is a municipal infraction, and if the state or the city intends to enforce a municipal infraction, it must have followed the rules. And the problem for the cities are, that non of the procedures that they have been using conform with Iowa law, in my opinion,” according to Larew.
Larew says many people who read the notices decided it wasn’t worth the time and money to go through the process. “Part of it is that it’s too expensive people think to challenge. Two, they have threats that the credit reporting agencies will take adverse action against them. They were using that threat for years,” Larew says. “And this is very troublesome to many consumers, they feel the threat of the suit. And we believe these are not enforceable.”
He says they also believe the statute of limitations has run out on many of the tickets because of the process used. “Thousands of people never even received notices that there was an initial proceeding taking place — because the databases that cities used were not accurate in many instances,” Larew says. Both sides have 30 days to request that the Iowa Supreme Court reconsider its ruling issued last Friday. After that, the issue goes back to the district court for further action.