[Editor’s Note: This article has been modified to reflect that Dr. Buckman’s administrative-hearing appeal was for two prior RedFlex tickets, not for his most recent speeding fine on Farrell Drive.]
A UL journalism professor in a long-running spat with Lafayette Consolidated Government continues to one-up city fathers in their bid to collect on a speeding ticket issued via a RedFlex speed van. Dr. Robert Buckman, who is becoming as famous for his civil disobedience as he is for his home-brewed beer, this week thumbed his nose at a threat from a Toledo, Ohio, law firm contracted by LCG to collect the $25 penalty (plus a $12.50 late fee) for an infraction that occurred nine months ago.
In April of last year, Buckman was ticketed for travelling 36 miles per hour in a 30-mph speed zone on Farrell Drive. However, by the time Buckman received the citation in the mail, LCG’s transportation department had increased the speed limit on Farrell to 40. Reasoning that since LCG decided that 40 was a safe speed for Farrell and he was ticketed for driving four miles an hour below that safe limit, Buckman refused to pay the fine. Having unsuccessfully appealed two previous tickets in an administrative hearing, which Buckman has called a “kangaroo court,” the professor didn't formally appeal the Farrell Drive "infraction," choosing instead to send a letter of protest to Transportation Director Tony Tramel.
The Ohio firm charged with collecting gave Buckman 30 days to pay up. The professor waited 30 days before responding:
Dear Unnamed Person:
It has now been exactly 30 days since I received your letter with the file number 938279, telling me I have 30 days from the receipt of the letter to tell you whether this is a valid debt. Very well, it is NOT a valid debt. I have already disputed this ticket, and will continue to do so, because I was going 36 mph in an area where the posted speed limit is 40 mph. See enclosed photos.
This issue has already been reported in the Lafayette media, and I think they will now be interested in knowing why Lafayette taxpayers’ money is being wasted paying a law firm in Toledo, Ohio, to collect a $37.50 debt.
Robert Buckman, Ph.D.