CARMEL, Ind. (April 19, 2016) – The Indiana Supreme Court recently ruled to not hear the City of Carmel's appeal in a case that determined the city issued an illegal traffic ticket.
Carmel Police cited Jason Maraman two years ago for speeding in Carmel under the city ordinance 8-2. Maraman did his research and realized the city did not have the right to charge him under a local ordinance when there is already state statute for the same violation.
"This has the effect of (undermining) the state's authority and diverting funds from the state general fund to Carmel," Maraman said.
An Indiana appellate court ruled in favor of Maraman late last year. By not hearing the case, the supreme court essentially upheld that decision.
An Indianapolis attorney has another case in the courts against Carmel for the same city ordinance.
Attorney Ed Bielski has filed a class-action lawsuit against Carmel claiming the city filed more than 11,000 illegal tickets over the last three years.
“What (Carmel) tried to do is pretend all state laws were ordinances so they could keep the money," Bielski said. "Everything goes back to money.”
While Bielski's and Maraman's cases are completely separate, Bielski said this ruling is encouraging for his class-action lawsuit.
“This is a huge win," Bielski said. “This is the state of Indiana telling one of its largest city’s that your entire approach that you have taken for 14 plus years is illegal."
Bielski said this ruling also goes a long way toward achieving the main goals of his lawsuit.
“Get an appropriate recovery based on civil rights violations, clear peoples’ records of invalid and inappropriate notations and make sure Carmel stops violating people’s city rights and pursuing an illegal ordinance," he said.
The City of Carmel and other government agencies have filed motions to dismiss Bielski's lawsuit. Carmel officials would not comment for this story.
Bielski said this is just the beginning of a very long legal process.