Iowa Supreme Court to consider 2 speed camera cases

Both lawsuits concern I-380 cameras in Cedar Rapids

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The Iowa Supreme Court gave new life to two legal challenges of speeding tickets issued by the automated traffic cameras on Interstate 380 in Cedar Rapids.

The state ordered the cameras turned off or moved two years ago.

The cameras are no longer issuing tickets during an appeal of a separate case, in which a Polk County judge — siding against Cedar Rapids, Muscatine and Des Moines — supported the Iowa Department of Transportation’s authority over traffic cameras on primary highways and interstates in Iowa.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark S. Cady on Thursday signed an order granting further review in two lawsuits — the City of Cedar Rapids vs. Leaf and the Myron Behm et al vs. the City of Cedar Rapids and its traffic camera vendor GATSO USA.

Those two cases were each dismissed in February by the Iowa Court of Appeals.

“We are pleased the Iowa Supreme Court has agreed to review these cases as the speed cameras on interstate highways affect all vehicle owners using our interstate highways,” said James Larew, the Iowa City attorney representing the ticket recipients in both cases.

The Iowa Supreme Court will consider previously filed papers, and no supplemental briefs will be required, Cady said.

At the hearing, the applicants will have 15 minutes for oral arguments, the other side will have 10 minutes for each of its case, and the applicants will have a final five minutes to reply.

A calendar of possible dates for a hearing show The cases could be heard as early as September, but a date has not been set.

The lawsuits challenge the legality of automated traffic cameras in Cedar Rapids and seek a refund and discontinuation of ticketing at the camera locations.

Maria Leaf of Cedar Rapids contested a $75 speeding ticket, contending the city failed to prove her car exceeded the speed limit and that the automated traffic camera ordinance in Cedar Rapids violates her constitutional rights.

The Iowa Supreme Court previously granted discretionary review of that case, which is rare for small claims’ actions, but assigned the Leaf case to the appeals court rather than hear it.

A class-action lawsuit with six plaintiffs — Myron D. Behm, Burton J. Brooks, Bobby L. Langston, David L. Brodsky, Jeffrey R. Olson and Geoff T. Smith — claimed the automated traffic camera ordinance and its implementation violates state law in numerous respects. A district court ruled against the plaintiffs on nearly all claims in 2016.

Officials from the city of Cedar Rapids and GATSO USA declined to comment.

l Comments: (319) 339-3177; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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