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Director of Law

City of Cleveland
601 Lakeside Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114

April 9, 2018

Barbara Langhenry, Director of Law for City of Cleveland

RE: Written request for an injunction to prevent the Clerk of Court from contracting with a private
vendor that uses a private database of information storing vehicle license plates information and using the
information to impound and hold vehicles for unpaid automated camera notifications

My name is Angelia Gaston. I am a tax paying resident in the City of Cleveland.

Pursuant to Chapter 15 and sections 87, 88. 89 and 90 of the Charter of Cleveland this is a written request for the
Director of Law to apply for an injunction to prevent the Clerk of the Municipal Court, his deputies and the
private vendor he has contracted with from operating SCOFFLAW and misusing the authority of the parking
violations bureau in an unlawful automated camera debt collections scheme.

 The facts reveal that the Clerk of Court is in an unlawful contract. A contract that has not
been passed or adopted by city council. This Contract deploys an “automatic license plate
reader” that is attached to a city vehicle and owned by a private vendor. The reader is
scanning license plates to identify registered car owners with automated camera fines.
 The Clerk of Court and the private vendor operator of SCOFFLAW appear to be operating
in conspiracy and under color of law in an alleged unlawful debt collection scheme to
increase collections of unpaid and voided civil automated camera violations by deception
using city police officers
 The Clerk of Court has publicly shared a plan with Cleveland city council to generate $4
million in unpaid fines using the unlawful scheme he's conspired with the private vendor to
impose on unsuspecting and uninformed registered car owners.
 The Clerk of Court is using the authority of the parking violations bureau by having its
employee enforce and operating a non-public database. The Parking violation bureau duties
include the collection of “judgments” and “default judgments” for unpaid parking
infractions only. They are adding the information from the SCOFFLAW database when the
parking violation bureau window with documents from the impound unit. When you present
the document to the parking violation bureau clerk assistant she will give you a total owed
on the plate in question that combines the unpaid Parking violation judgements and the
unpaid automated camera fines from the SCOFFLAW database.

The database is fully under the secret administrative control of the Clerk of Court and private SCOFFLAW
vendor. A search of the City Record does not show council authorizing the Clerk of Court to establish a
“judgment” or “default judgment” administrative process to impound vehicles for unpaid automated camera
citations. The City Record search does not show council authorizing the Municipal Court to enter a contract
with the SCOFFLAW provider.

The issue of whether or not the Clerk of Court or the judges of the Municipal Court have authority over any and
every ordinance enacted by council has already been settled. The City, Municipal Court and Clerk of Court were
specifically told in Jodka v. Cleveland, 2014-Ohio-208 that civil automated camera violations must be
adjudicated through the court in a civil proceeding.
“ … the tribunal created by CCO 413.031(k) for the adjudication of contests of
automated traffic camera citations deals with the general and external matter of moving
“The creation of such a tribunal, an issue not addressed in Mendenhall, 117 Ohio St.3d
33, 2008-Ohio-270, 881 N.E.2d 255, does not constitute a proper exercise of “concurrent
police power” pursuant to R.C. 1901.20(A)(1). Nor is it otherwise a power of “local self-
government.” This court agrees with Walker, 6th Dist. Lucas No. L-12-1066, 2013-
Ohio-2809, ¶ 35-36, that the power to adjudicate civil violations of moving traffic laws
lies solely in municipal court.”

The Clerk of Court and private vendor are compiling and storing thousands of individual’s privacy-protected
BMV information in their secret database. These individuals have no access to that information or any
knowledge of its existence. Unlike the records of the court that can be publicly-viewed through the Clerk of
Court's website, there is no opportunity for the public to view the status of parking infractions. There is no
opportunity for individuals to review the data for corrections. The individual also has no knowledge how the
private vendor is using, disseminating or even selling their personal data.

The acts of the Clerk of Court and SCOFFLAW vendor appear to violate the 1974 Privacy Act on how “systems
of records” are to be maintained pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a under the heading “Records maintained on
individuals.” The federal law sets forth instructions that systems of records cannot disclose information about
an individual without their written permission.

5 U.S.C. 552a sets forth that the use of the individual's privacy protected information by a government agency
must be authorized by law and performed in compliance with the routine duties of the agency.

In this case no federal, state or local law has authorized the Clerk of Court to create a private system of records
and store information on individuals that is used to instruct law enforcement officers to impound and hold an
individual's vehicle for unpaid civil , none adjudicated parking fines or automated camera citations that are now

5 U.S.C. 552a imposes all systems of records to obey federal conditions for disclosure, grant the individual
access to the records and a statutory right to correct the information about them. The federal law places
limitations on access and requires agency rules to be publicly-known and available.

Deputy Clerk and cashier supervisor Carole Gardner-O’Donnell stated that there are no written rules and the
clerk's employees did not have to comply with the city's ordinances or any of the state and federal laws
referenced within this written request.

18 U.S.C. 2721 is another federal law the Clerk of Court and SCOFFLAW vendor appear to be violating their
private database. The federal law is captioned, “Prohibition on release and use of certain personal information
from State motor vehicle records.”

(a)In General.—A state department of motor vehicles, and any officer,

employee, or contractor thereof, shall not knowingly disclose or otherwise
make available to any person or entity:
(1) personal information, as defined in 18 U.S.C. 2725(3), about any individual
obtained by the department in connection with a motor vehicle record, except
as provided in subsection (b) of this section;
(b)Permissible Uses.—Personal information referred to in subsection (a) shall
be disclosed for use in connection with matters of motor vehicle or driver safety
and theft, motor vehicle emissions, motor vehicle product alterations, recalls, or
advisories, performance monitoring of motor vehicles and dealers by motor
vehicle manufacturers, and removal of non-owner records from the original
owner records of motor vehicle manufacturers to carry out the purposes of titles
I and IV of the Anti Car Theft Act of 1992, the Automobile Information
Disclosure Act (15 U.S.C. 1231 et seq.), the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et
seq.), and chapters 301, 305, and 321–331 of title 49, and, subject to subsection
(a)(2), may be disclosed as follows: (1) For use by any government agency,
including any court or law enforcement agency, in carrying out its functions, or
any private person or entity acting on behalf of a Federal, State, or local agency
in carrying out its functions.

18 U.S.C. 2721 is like 5 U.S.C. 552a and does not authorize any state BMV to release information on individuals
without their written permission to a government agency or private contractor operating on behalf of the
government agency for purposes that are not authorized by law.

Their scheme is outlined in part in the language of the Request for Proposal has not been approved by City
Council according to the City Record.

“At this time the Parking Violations Bureau would like to identify vehicles with
a history of parking violations via License Plate Recognition technology. The
bidder must develop a comprehensive solution. The bidder will be responsible
for the repair and maintenance of the equipment.

All equipment must meet the approval of the Clerk of Courts.

All wiring and cabling and hardware at any site (current or future) where the
contract involves performance of services must be supplied to the Clerk's
specifications at the bidder's expense.

These are deemed to be minimum requirements and all hardware provided by the
bidder is subject to approval of the Clerk.”

Under the RFP's Section 5, “Software Requirements,” the Clerk's appears to affirm that the vendor's software
was proprietary or private with the following language:

“The bidder's operating software shall be web or browser based.”

The Clerk's RFP further specified that the private software would be used in connection with a privately-owned
database that would deploy automatic license plate scanning technology to identify vehicles “with a history of
parking violations.”

“Bidder shall provide an internet portal to access and process within the database.”

There is no mention in the Clerk's RFP of the words “automated cameras,” “red light offense” or “speeding
offense” as defined as civil violations in Ord. No. 413.01 being entered within the database or “enforced” by the
department that city council specifically created to manage and enforce “parking” violations.

The RFP in Section 13 makes reference to “Compatibility with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles for
Implementation of H.B. 373.” The language of the Clerk's RFP relative to this section reads as follows:

“The Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4521 provides for the holding of an
individual's registration if they have three (3) or more parking ticket judgments
or default judgments or one(1) parking ticket issued for parking in a reserved
handicap location. The bidder shall interact with BMV and exchange
information at its expense to provide this service to the Clerk. Prospective
bidders must realize that this law is considered essential to the continuation of a
successful parking ticket program in Cleveland. All bids received will be
evaluated very carefully on their ability to implement this procedure. Any bidder
failing to meet any portion of this section shall be considered unable to
implement registration hold and therefore no longer consider for award of the
contract. Any bidder, who indicated their ability to meet all sections of this
requirement but, defaults, and is unable to proceed with registration hold, will
create grounds for cancellation of the contract and defaults on the bond. The
Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles has established procedures that will enable the
B.M.V. To place manual holds on individual plates. The bidder shall interact
with the B.M.V. in order to assist the Parking Violations Bureau in placing
these blocks.

The bidder shall provide proof that they have or are capable of obtaining a
working relationship with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles for implementation
of registration hold.

The bidder shall provide on-line tracking of all individuals who are in registration

The RFP clearly specifies that R.C. 4521 authorizes the BMV to place registration holds for “three parking
ticket judgments and default judgments.” There is no ordinance authorizing the Clerk of the Court to hold
vehicles until automated camera citations are paid.

It is not known if the private SCOFFLAW database is tied into the NCIC and LEADS databases owned by the
federal government and state.

When an officer using SCOFFLAW automatically scans a license plate the registered owner's name is flagged as
having unpaid parking fines. A call is made to the Clerk of Court for validation and the clerk's deputies are
asked by the officer to check a vehicle plate in SCOFFLAW. Clerk deputy Carole Gardner-O’Donnell stated if
the combined (parking citation judgements and automated camera tickets) amount is $1000 or above the vehicle
is described as “tow eligible”. There is no found Cleveland ordinance or Ohio law that authorizes vehicles to be
impounded for unpaid automated camera citations. There is no legal authority that authorizes the Clerk of Court
to perform these unlawful and arbitrary acts.

When Clerk deputies are asked pursuant to Ohio's open records law under R.C. 149.43 for a copy of the federal,
state law or local ordinance that grants them the authority to hold vehicles for unpaid automated camera citations
I was told they are operating under an office policy. When I asked for a copy of the office policy I was told that
that it is not in writing to be provided.

The unlawful debt collection acts of the Clerk of Court and private vendor have also caused Cleveland law
enforcement officers to unknowingly misuse their authority under the color of law to arrest citizens and impound
vehicles in violation of the registered owner's 14 th Amendment due process rights; and in contradiction to Section
40 of the charter and R.C. 4521. There is no general police order authorized by the Chief of Police or Director
of Public Safety for police officers to impound vehicles for unpaid automated camera citations.

The unlawful debt collection scheme of the Clerk of Court and private vendor appears to violate 18 U.S.C. 1962
under the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act. The heading for this section is “Prohibited

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person who has received any income derived,
directly or indirectly, from a pattern of racketeering activity or through collection
of an unlawful debt in which such person has participated as a principal within
the meaning of section 2, title 18, United States Code, to use or invest, directly or
indirectly, any part of such income, or the proceeds of such income, in
acquisition of any interest in, or the establishment or operation of, any enterprise
which is engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign
commerce. A purchase of securities on the open market for purposes of
investment, and without the intention of controlling or participating in the control
of the issuer, or of assisting another to do so, shall not be unlawful under this
subsection if the securities of the issuer held by the purchaser, the members of his
immediate family, and his or their accomplices in any pattern or racketeering
activity or the collection of an unlawful debt after such purchase do not amount
in the aggregate to one percent of the outstanding securities of any one class, and
do not confer, either in law or in fact, the power to elect one or more directors of
the issuer.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person through a pattern of racketeering activity
or through collection of an unlawful debt to acquire or maintain, directly or
indirectly, any interest in or control of any enterprise which is engaged in, or the
activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce.
(c) It shall be unlawful for any person employed by or associated with any
enterprise engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign
commerce, to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such
enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity or collection of
unlawful debt.

The Clerk of a municipal court is functioning unlawfully by operating a private database of inaccurate
information on vehicle license plates and individuals whose names are stored to engage in an unlawful debt
collection scheme under the color of law to impound vehicles for unpaid civil automated camera citations.
Specifically, the Clerk of Court's duties are identified in Rule 11.01 of the Cleveland Municipal Court's local
rules of practice.

The clerk of court shall direct the day-to-day operation of the clerk’s office
pursuant to the provisions of the Ohio Revised Code. The maintenance of the
records of this court shall be the primary responsibility of the clerk of court and
his/her management staff, department heads, and unit supervisors. The clerk of
court shall establish, maintain, store and reproduce, wherever practicable, all of
the official records of this Court.
The clerk shall, therefore, generally exercise authority over the policy,
management, administration and function of that office. However, the court, by
majority vote, may rescind, modify or void any action taken by the clerk in order
to advance the interest of judicial efficiency and justice of the Cleveland
Municipal Court as an institution.
The administrative judge shall have full responsibility and control over the
administration, docket and calendar of this court and shall develop accounting
and auditing systems for the purpose of case management within the court and
the office of the clerk of court. These systems shall be so designed as to
ensure the accuracy and completeness of all reports required by the Rules of
Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio.
The administrative judge may issue orders directed to the clerk on minor
administrative matters seeking merely incidental administrative details
concerning matters that relate to case control and case disposition without a
majority vote of the judges.
Pursuant to R.C. 2727,02 “Causes for an injunction” the reasons set forth are as follows:

A temporary order may be granted restraining an act when it appears by the

petition that the plaintiff is entitled to the relief demanded, and such relief, or
any part of it, consists in restraining the commission or continuance of such act,
the commission or continuance of which, during the litigation, would produce
great or irreparable injury to the plaintiff, or when, during the litigation, it
appears that the defendant is doing, threatens or is about to do, or is procuring or
permitting to be done, such act in violation of the plaintiff's rights respecting the
subject of the action, and tending to render the judgment ineffectual.
I am not the only “Plaintiff” who is a victim of the Clerk of Court and Private SCOFFLAW vendor's unlawful
debt collection scheme. Thousands of my fellow Cleveland residents (as proven by The top violators list on
the Clerk of Courts Parking violation Bureau website), many living in poverty, have been burdened by the
unlawful taking of their property by the Clerk of Court and private SCOFFLAW vendor in conspiracy with other
law enforcement officers under the color of law; and in violation of 18 U.S.C. 242.

Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom,

willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth,
Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or
immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United
States or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such
person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed
for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned
not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts
committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted
use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined
under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results
from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include
kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to
commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this
title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced
to death.

As a tax paying resident in the City of Cleveland and the Plaintiff am making this request that I and other
residents of Cleveland who have had their property unlawfully taken and forced to pay for automated camera
citations are entitled to the relief sought because of the unlawful and color of law debt collection enterprise of
the Clerk of Court and the private SCOFFLAW vendor.

All co-Plaintiffs are being harmed daily the longer the Clerk of the Court and the private SCOFFLAW vendor
continue to operate their private database and system of records in furtherance of their unlawful debt collection
scheme. The Clerk of Court and the private SCOFFLAW database appear to be used in operation of a color of
law unlawful debt collection scheme to deprive unsuspecting and unknowing individuals of their property buy
violating their 4th and 14th Amendment rights and subjecting them to unequal protections under the law. The
Clerk of the Municipal Court has literally voided due process by taking cars for automated camera citations
without an order of the court.
The remedy being sought is for the Clerk of Court and private SCOFFLAW vendor to be ordered to stop
operating SCOFFLAW and all parts of their unlawful debt collection scheme. I request for the Clerk of Courts to
stop using the authority of Cleveland police officers to enforce ORD 149.11 No.(A:2)(D:2), 405.02(J:2) as
directed by City of Cleveland Charter Chapter 40 section 203(c) . I request that their acts are reviewed by the
U.S. Attorney General for the Northern District of Ohio, the Ohio Attorney General and the Ohio Auditor of
State and compared to the governing laws. Upon a finding of non-compliance and unlawful conduct all monies
should be returned to those injured by the Clerk of Court's duty and authority-exceeding acts.

Respectfully submitted,

Angelia Gaston
Tel: 216-644-9323