Saturday, August 14, 2004

Judge voids speed trap's traffic tickets

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - A judge has dismissed pending traffic tickets issued by a defunct village known for being a speed trap.

"Anyone whose driving privileges were suspended by the village are off the hook," said Judge David Cain of Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

The decision affects about 2,000 motorists.

Cain ordered the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles to remove liens New Rome police put on any driver's licenses.

Those who paid traffic tickets will not be reimbursed.

"I can only act on the present and future," Cain said. "It's for the people who've had to live with this uncertainty for a while."

Last month, Cain ordered the dissolution of the village west of Columbus based on a recently passed law allowing the state to seek dissolution of villages of fewer than 150 people if the state auditor finds a pattern of wrongdoing or incompetence in the village's operation.

New Rome's police department disbanded last summer.

Attorney General Jim Petro, who brought the case against the village, said the traffic cases ought to be dismissed because the government was not functioning properly. Cain agreed and said he could not be certain the citations were justified.

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