Judge Stops Wabasha Co. Driver Diversion Program

Updated: 01/20/2014 9:19 PM KSTP.com By: Nick Winkler

Photo: KSTP file photo

The Wabasha County sheriff was ordered to shut down a safe driving program that's been in existence for a decade and has been replicated around the state.

KSTP first reported on the issue last August. The program, which offers drivers caught committing minor traffic violations a cheaper alternative to paying a ticket, prompted a lawsuit from citizens who believed it to be illegal.

The county was keeping the money it earned from the program rather than giving the state a cut like it would if violators were issued and paid a traffic fine.

Despite a 2003 opinion from the Attorney General and a state audit calling the program illegal, Attorney General Lori Swanson did nothing to stop the program.

It's why a group of citizens in Wabasha County, including county commissioners, filed suit to stop the program.

A judge sided with the plaintiffs and ruled the program illegal Monday afternoon.

Ruling on Wabasha County's Safe Driving Class