A 2014 story in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution detailed Doraville’s reputation as a speed trap and found that the city collected more traffic fines per capita than any other in metro Atlanta. The city ranks sixth among U.S. towns with 5,000 residents or more when it comes to the percentage of total revenue that comes from fines, fees and forfeitures, according to a 2017 report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Doraville City Manager Regina Williams-Gates said the city believes the lawsuit is based on a false perception.
“The City is not motivated; nor do we, issue citations in order to bring revenue into our city,” she said in an email. “To the contrary, our approach to property maintenance is to work with property owners to gain voluntary compliance. When compliance does not happen, we have no choice but to issue citations. Unfortunately, it is a mere fact that laws without enforcement are ineffective.”
Story's ruling did leave some room for him to reconsider the city's motion to have the case dismissed. He pointed out the lack of legal precedent surrounding the central question of whether cases like this belong in his courtroom.
Federal courts have not had much experience weighing in whether it is constitutional for municipal courts and law enforcement agencies to make decisions motivated by finances, the judge wrote. He scheduled a June hearing to hear more arguments on this point.