Traffic cameras deny rights
To the editor:
Some members of City Council are trying to reinstate traffic cameras. Don’t they realize they will deny their constituents their constitutional right to due process? Do they care that innocent people will be punished with unjust citations? Do they understand that people will once again avoid coming to Steubenville to shop? Are these councilmen really concerned about safety, or are they more interested in revenue the cameras will generate?
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman ruled that the cameras violate the constitutional rights of motorists to due process and that enforcement was stacked against drivers. He also called the cameras a high-tech scheme of Three-card Monte (Herald-Star, March 9, Page 9A.)
Ruehlman also found individuals and businesses suffered damage because of the ticket blitz. Business owners say customers who got citations said they would shop elsewhere, as reported in the same article.
Our judicial system is predicated on the fact that we submit conclusive evidence so that a verdict of guilt or innocence can be produced. The guilty are punished and innocent are freed. But, a picture of a license plate cannot provide conclusive proof as to who is the operator of the vehicle, unless you are clairvoyant. It can only provide proof of ownership. Thus, the owner of the vehicle receives the citation. But, as we have seen on many occasions, the owner is not always the operator of the vehicle. Therefore, an innocent owner becomes a victim of unjust punishment while the guilty party goes free. Is this justice? Does this type of nonsense make us safe?
I believe that when we begin to punish innocent people through circumstantial evidence, then we can no longer expect justice from our system of juris prudence. Our legal system will be shattered. Will this make us safe?
I believe it will only aggravate the situation because there can be no law without justice.
Councilman at large Kenny Davis said times are different. Our constitutional right to due process is the same now as it was before. People will avoid coming to Steubenville just like before. Revenue for the city is the real issue now, as it was before. They say history repeats itself, and so it shall, because the people will again reject this ordinance and all those councilmen who vote for said ordinance.