317.04  APPEALS.
   (a)    A person who received a Notice of Liability pursuant to Section 317.03 may appeal the Notice of Liability by making a written request for a hearing to the address listed on the Notice of Liability. Said request shall be accompanied by a monetary deposit in an amount equal to the amount of the civil penalty listed on the Notice of Liability.
   (b)   Within thirty days of the receipt of the request for a hearing, a hearing shall be held before a Hearing Officer appointed by the City Manager. The Hearing Officer shall determine whether the City has demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that a violation occurred and that the person who received the Notice of Liability is liable for the penalty set forth in Section 317.99 .
   (c)   A certified copy of the Notice of Liability alleging the violation, along with a copy of the image that served as a basis for the Notice of Liability, shall be prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein, and shall be admissible in a proceeding alleging a violation under this Chapter.
   (d)      In considering whether the person is liable, the Hearing Officer may consider any of the following as an affirmative defense of a violation:
      (1)       That the Notice of Liability was issued and sent by first class mail more than 30 days after the date of the violation recorded by the Photo Traffic Enforcement System.
      (2)       That the driver of the vehicle passed through the intersection or had increased speed in order to yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle, in accordance with Ohio R.C. 4511.45 or to a funeral procession, in accordance with Ohio R.C. 4511.451.
      (3)       That either the vehicle or the license plate depicted on the image, which served as the basis for the Notice of Liability, was stolen before the violation occurred and was not in possession of the owner at the time of the violation. To qualify as an affirmative defense under this provision, the owner must submit proof that a police report about the stolen vehicle or license plate was filed prior to or within 48 hours after the violation.
       (4)       That this section is unenforceable because the Photo Traffic Enforcement System was not operating properly, or the Photo Traffic Enforcement System was not in a proper position, or that the image that served as the basis for the Notice of Liability is not legible enough to show the letters and numbers or the state that issued the license plate on the vehicle.
      (5)       That the driver of the vehicle entered the intersection as part of a funeral procession or at the direction of a police officer.
      (6)       Substantial, credible evidence that the owner or person named in the Notice of Liability was not operating the vehicle at the time of the violation. The uncorroborated statement of the person named in the Notice of Liability to the effect that he or she was not the operator at the time of the alleged violation shall not be considered substantial credible evidence for purposes of this Section. To satisfy the evidentiary burden under this provision, the owner or person named in the Notice of Liability must also provide the Hearing Officer with substantial, credible evidence of the identity of the person who was operating the vehicle at the time of the violation, including, at a minimum, the operator's name and current address.
   (e)   The Hearing Officer shall issue a written decision within 10 days of the hearing and mail the person named on the Notice of Liability and the Chief of Police or his or her designee a copy of said decision. In addition, if the Hearing Officer concludes that the testimony and/or exhibits presented at the hearing shows by a preponderance of the evidence that someone other than the person named in the Notice of Liability was operating the vehicle at the time of the violation, the Hearing Officer shall forward to the Chief of Police or his or her designee all evidence provided to him or her at the hearing as to the operator's identity and order the return of the deposit provided in accordance with Section 317.04 (a) to the person who appealed.
   (f)   Within 10 business days of receiving the evidence referred to in subsection (e) of this section, the Police Department or its designee may issue a "Notice of Liability" to the person whom the evidence indicates was operating the vehicle at the time of the violation.
   (g)   If the Hearing Officer determines that the City has demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that the person named in the Notice of Liability committed the violation, the Hearing Officer shall enter judgment against the person and the monetary deposit filed in accordance with Section 317.04 (a) shall be forfeited to the City of Ashtabula as satisfaction of the civil penalty set forth in Section 317.99 (a). Such judgment shall be entered into the records of the Ashtabula Police Department.
(Ord. 2010-61.  Passed 6-7-10.)