Stow Municipal Court Will No Longer Charge Drivers $100 to Appeal Tickets

After a lengthy battle led by a Washington, D.C.-based law firm, Stow Municipal Court made the decision in late December to eliminate its mandatory $100 fee for drivers contesting traffic violations. The Institute of Justice, known for advocating against such fees in various states, successfully argued for the removal of this fee in Ohio, benefiting drivers caught speeding through Peninsula or the Cuyahoga Valley National Park who can now appeal their cases without facing additional court costs.

The Stow Court, which processes around 20,000 cases annually for 16 cities and villages across Summit County, will be affected by this recent decision. An attorney for the Institute, Bobby Taylor, highlighted Peninsula police’s substantial issuance of tickets since implementing new handheld speed cameras in April. The revenue generated from these tickets, estimated at $1.3 million for Peninsula, raised concerns about the motives behind the increased ticketing.

While the Institute for Justice raised objections about the “policing-for-profit scheme,” the court and Peninsula Mayor Daniel Schneider, Jr. declined to comment on the matter. Current Ohio law indicates that courts should not charge court costs and fees for a civil action before a case is settled, prompting Taylor to challenge the $100 fee as an unconstitutional barrier to defending oneself in court.

While the public sentiment regarding the court’s fees remains unclear, it’s worth noting that the funding for the Stow Municipal Court’s new building, situated on Route 8 and Steels Corners Road, was supported by court fees, suggesting that the removal of the $100 mandatory fee may impact the court’s budget.

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