Carmel ticket law faces a Supreme Court setback

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The Indiana Supreme Court has decided to not hear an appeal from the City of Carmel in regards to an overturned traffic ordinance.

The Indiana State Court of Appeals previously nullified Carmel’s law, which came down to not what the speed limit should be, but rather who should get the money from the tickets.

The State of Indiana has a law against driving faster than 20 miles per hour in construction zones, and the City of Carmel referenced that law in a local ordinance so the city could collect the money and receive a bigger portion of the revenue. After the ruling, Carmel police officers have still been writing tickets, but under the state code instead.

“I’m disappointed that the chose to look at technicalities rather than substance,” Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard told Current in Carmel.

Brainard said he hopes to have the law changed, but in the meantime he said he will honor the court’s decision.

“We will do as they require and move ahead,” he said.

The Supreme Court’s decision to not listen to an appeal has ramifications for a civil lawsuit that was filed. Attorney Edward G. Bielski has filed a class action lawsuit that questions anyone who received tickets under Carmel’s now overturned provisions. Bielski claims his plaintiffs were never charged under a valid law.

Brainard declined to comment on the civil lawsuit because he said it’s not appropriate to talk about ongoing legal cases.

According to court documents, Carmel police officers issued 8,124 citations under the ordinance during the past three years.


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