The speed trap in Ridgeland is currently illegal and against state law. However, the town is simply continuing to write the speeding tickets. There is also a push to make such South Carolina speed traps legal. What most people are doing is to plead not guilty and ask for a jury trial.
Not only is that speed trap illegal and against state law as evidenced by an opinion by the SC Attorney General's office, but it is also unlawful for any traffic violation whatsoever to be written on anything other than a SC traffic ticket form.
The Ridgeland Court does not have jurisdiction to issue process outside of SC and it is my understanding that the tickets are mailed to the "offenders" in their home states with the threat that they will be prosecuted here and then have the offense appear in their home state pursuant to the interstate compact.
The process of sending a ticket in the mail to an out of state recipient is unconstitutional and Ridgeland lacks the jurisdiction to serve the process out of state and to enforce the ticket without it having been validly served on the "offender". The problem is that the people who receive these tickets either do not have the time or resources to fight it and just pay the tickets in order to avoid the whole process. Other people show up at court because they do not know that the process itself is illegal and then they are within the jurisdiction of the Ridgeland authorities.
We also have a statute that places a short time limitation (merely hours) within which a ticket must be served upon the person upon whom it is issued.
My thoughts on this are that an action could be brought in US District Court to enjoin this process pursuant to a 5th and 14th amendment violation of the US Constitution. Another possibility would be to sue the Town of Ridgeland in US District Court pursuant to a section 1983 violation of a citizens civil rights. Both of these remedies would require a person to expend significant money and resources for what is a small fine (illegal as it is).
Since the Town of Ridgeland is doing this for the purpose of enriching its own pockets (although they falsely claim that it is for the purpose of public safety), the better route would be to bring a class action lawsuit in federal court against the Town, the Mayor, and the Police Chief seeking significant damages on behalf of the entire class of persons (out of state residents who are served with illegal process). The costs of the litigation, the burden of discovery, and the impact that it would have on their insurance providers would be enough to bring this illegal process to a screeching halt.
Our State Supreme Court could bring an end to the whole matter simply by using its power to regulate the courts and issuing an order prohibiting any judicial officer from hearing or enforcing these unlawful citations.
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