NEWBURGH HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has found a judge calling out local leaders for skirting the law by taking in money from speed camera tickets on I-77.
Garfield Hts. Municipal Court Judge Deborah Nicastro spoke out about how tickets are being handled by the Village of Newburgh Heights.
Newburgh Hts. has become notorious for issuing tickets from speed cameras with many of you complaining about an officer standing for hours on a ramp at I-77 and Fleet.
While Newburgh Hts. police expect you to obey the law, Judge Nicastro says the village is not following the law in handling tickets from the highway.
She said, “So, they’ve set up two systems of justice. Both judges of the court have concluded this does not comply with state law or village ordinances.”
We asked, does not complying mean the same as breaking the law?
Judge Nicastro answered, “In layman’s terms, yes.”
The Garfield Hts. Municipal Court says Newburgh Hts. is on pace to issue 70,000 tickets from traffic cameras. They come with $180 fines.
Judge Nicastro says Newburgh Hts. is not following the law because the village has stopped filing the I-77 tickets in court.
Instead, a notice on the tickets tells drivers to pay the village.
For years, officials in Newburgh Heights have said issuing all these tickets is all about safety.
But look at what we noticed happening now with the money.
Newburgh Hts. had been paying the court $9 for every ticket, a filing fee. But, if the village does not file in court, it does not give up the $9 per ticket.
We asked the judge, why is the village no longer filing the I-77 tickets in court, and she said, “The explanation that was given to me was that they don’t want to pay the filing fee for the court.”
For years, drivers have contacted the I-Team calling those cameras a money grab.
Not supporting speeding, but pointing out, drivers get speed camera tickets weeks after they were clocked speeding. So, many people question the impact on safety.
And, the number of tickets that have not been filed in court is growing quickly. Court officials tell us, since mid-March more than 8,000 tickets that were issued on I-77 in Newburgh Heights have not been filed with the Garfield Heights Municipal Court.
Thursday, we reached out to Newburgh Hts. officials for comment. No response.
We also reached out to the company that processes the tickets for the village. We also received no response from that company.
So, what does all this mean to you if you just got one of those tickets, or you get one, and it’s not filed with the court?
You can still request a hearing in court.
Judge Nicastro has already dismissed some of those tickets.
Meantime, the court has hired a law firm to do an investigation.
The judge tells us Newburgh Hts. believes the law does not cover tickets issued by police holding a speed camera, only tickets from cameras fixed on poles.
The judge disagrees.
She added, “I’m shocked by this. That’s why I’m talking to you. I want the public to know what’s going on.”