LINNDALE, Ohio -The FOX 8 I-Team investigated your chances of beating a traffic camera ticket in Linndale, the tiny Northeast Ohio town notorious for tickets, and we found everyone appealing wins in some way.
We checked on appeals of Linndale traffic camera tickets over the last year, and the Village told us every single challenge led to a ticket thrown out or a fine reduced.
Linndale has traffic cameras at one intersection capturing license plates of speeders. Drivers get tickets with $100 fines in the mail. And the I-Team has revealed the Village is collecting about a million bucks a year in fines.
Over the last year, Linndale says 1,532 drivers appealed traffic camera tickets; 520 tickets were thrown out. The other 1,012 drivers had their fines reduced.
More reason to wonder how accurate are the cameras? We’ve revealed before sometimes the tickets get sent to the wrong drivers. And while police say every ticket gets reviewed before it gets sent out, the chief recently refused to talk to us about how the tickets get reviewed yet mistakes get made.
Last week, I-Team reporter Peggy Gallek caught up with the chief. He talked about technology and human error. But he didn’t explain anything.
Tim Franczak said, “What`s 100% foolproof?” He added, “The cameras don't make a mistake; it's humans that make it. The camera is showing what it shows, so there is no error with the system. It’s human error. There’s safeguards in place for that human error.”
The I-Team also sat in on a couple of camera ticket appeal hearings held by attorney Kevin Spellacy. He says he routinely reduces fines when drivers make the effort to come in to appeal and explain their case, or show they have some financial hardship.
Yet, we also met some drivers telling us they walked into Village Hall and had their tickets thrown out even without a formal hearing.
David Kluter said, “And they just led me over to some documentation where I signed my name, and they told me it would be dismissed.”
And Katie Wilson said, “Like, basically, you just come here. Appeal it. And they're like, ‘OK, we'll dismiss it because you appealed it.'”
How can it be that easy? Why should anyone pay the full fine?
When we asked about those tickets dismissed without a hearing, the Linndale law director sent a statement saying, in part, “…Village officials have the discretion to dismiss cases when warranted.”
While officials have claimed the cameras are there to improve safety, the I-Team has found there have been no accidents at that intersection for years.
Again, the town brings in about a million dollars a year from the tickets. Imagine how much more that would be if not for all of the people who just say, ‘No.’