I-Team finds drivers still getting red light tickets, though city of East Cleveland not following state law

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EAST CLEVELAND – The Fox 8 I-Team has found drivers are getting ticketed by red light cameras in a Northeast Ohio city even though the city is not following state law for having the cameras.

We did some digging after what we found in East Cleveland.

State rules say cities that issue tickets and fines with red light cameras have to send reports to the state. The state also expects an officer to be present at the cameras.

East Cleveland does not have an officer present, and in a letter to the state, the city says it is “‘not operating’ a traffic law photo-monitoring device.” The city says a private company is actually operating the cameras.

But of course, that company is operating the cameras for the city of East Cleveland. So the I-Team went to the law director there.

Law Director Willa Hemmons believes the state rules are unconstitutional and that cities such as East Cleveland have a right to make up their own traffic laws citing Home Rule statutes. Hemmons said, “We have our laws our people have approved and endorsed.” Hemmons added that voters in East Cleveland have supported red light cameras.

As for the penalty for cities not following state laws for red light cameras such as filing reports, the state tells the I-Team it could withhold tax money for those cities. But the state is not doing that yet since it is waiting for rulings in court cases over red light cameras around the state.

In fact, the East Cleveland Law Director is watching 3 cases and expecting rulings in those to decide how these red light cameras should be handled.

Eileen Spevak is fighting a ticket she received in East Cleveland for $95. She says, “You want me to follow the law, but you’re not following the law.”

Records show the company operating the cameras for East Cleveland show billing from tickets there averaging $50,000-$60,000 a month.

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