Louisville judges ordered to allow county attorney's traffic pro - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville judges ordered to allow county attorney's traffic program

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A Jefferson Circuit Court judge has ruled two lower court judges were wrong in preventing traffic offenders from having their cases dismissed through County Attorney Mike O’Connell’s Drive Safe Louisville program.

Judge McKay Chauvin found that District Court judges Sean Delahanty and Stephanie Burke committed a “great injustice” as the only judges not to allow citizens to participate in the traffic program.

In October 2015, Delahanty ruled that the online traffic program -- which does not require the payment of court costs -- was unconstitutional.

Delahanty had been the lone local judge holding out on agreeing to dismiss cases handled in traffic programs launched as revenue generators by county attorneys – even though the Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled they are legal. Burke joined him after his October ruling.

In his ruling, Delahanty maintained that the statute passed by the General Assembly to allow the traffic programs "was rushed into implementation and is constitutionally flawed." The law "negates or unreasonably limits" the authority of the district court judges to use their own discretion in sentencing, he ruled.

But Chauvin ruled last week it was beyond Delahanty’s authority to find the program unconstitutional, arguing it is a legislative matter.  

Delahanty said he would appeal the ruling. He did not comment further.

O'Connell is one of more than 80 county prosecutors who have launched traffic schools to raise revenue for their offices. The money is distributed to several recipients, including the county clerk. So far, the program has generated about $4 million.

Drivers charged in Jefferson County with any of 17 moving violations can pay $179 to take a two-hour, online class and get their citation dismissed.

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