Associated Press - August 1, 2007 11:34 AM ET
ROCKPORT, Ark. (AP) - Rockport is only a city of 792 people in Hot Springs County - but more than 10,000 cars each day pass through town between Interstate 30 and the county seat of Malvern.
Benton lawyer George Ellis says the town is unfairly targeting motorists as a speed trap, drawing in more than 30% of the city's budget from speeding tickets. His lawsuit alleges the city, the mayor and the city judge are part of a conspiracy targeting passers-by.
Ellis says his suit seeks class-action status, meaning it may include other Arkansas cities using tickets to subsidize local government.
State law says ticket fines can't be more than 30% of a city's funding. Laws also prohibit more than 50% of tickets being written for speeding less than 10 miles per hour under the posted limit. Officers can face misdemeanor charges if they knowingly violate the law and cities can lose their collected fines.
Rockport Mayor Darrell Hughes denies Ellis' allegations. He says officers write tickets only to keep the highway safe.
Hughes says the state investigated Rockport two years ago and said it was not a speed trap.