Court Bans Parking Enforcement Practice in 4 States

Alison Taylor filed a suit after receiving 15 tickets in three years. (Getty Images/IPGGutenbergUKLtd)

by Arden Dier, Newser Staff

Marking a tire with chalk to track how long a car has been parked is unconstitutional, per a first-of-its-kind ruling that could force cities to adopt new approaches to parking enforcement. The 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals covering Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee on Monday found tire-chalking is an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment, reports the Washington Post.

Alison Taylor’s lawsuit—brought after she was issued 15 parking tickets in Saginaw, Mich., from 2014 to 2017—was initially dismissed with a US district judge arguing chalk isn’t an “information-gathering device,” per NBC News.

But while two judges on a three-judge appeals panel agreed that using chalk could be considered a search, all three disagreed it constituted a “reasonable” one, with Judge Bernice Bouie Donald noting tire-chalking was carried out “without probable cause or even so much as ‘individualized suspicion of wrongdoing.'”

What’s more, the “intentional physical contact with Taylor’s vehicle” represents a trespass for the purpose of gathering incriminating information, Donald wrote, referencing the 2012 Supreme Court decision that blocked police from attaching GPS devices to vehicles without a warrant.

Though the earlier decision had acknowledged an exemption under “community caretaking,” Donald noted there was no justification for a warrantless search as parking violations don’t cause “injury or ongoing harm.”

The city was essentially raising revenue, she wrote. For some cities, the decision could mean lost revenue or the additional cost of new meters, per the Post. University of Southern California law professor Orin Kerr has a simple suggestion, however. “Take a photo of the car, or even just a close-up photo of the tire, rather than chalk it,” he tweeted.

Via Newser…

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Posted by on April 23, 2019. Filed under NEWS I FIND INTERESTING. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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2 Responses to Court Bans Parking Enforcement Practice in 4 States

  1. Glenn Geist Reply

    April 24, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    Last year I went to a gun show to sell some guns. When I paid the entrance fee, they stamped my hand so show that I had not sneaked in and to allow me to return that day if I liked.

    Now I guess I can sue. My rights have been VIOLATED!

    Look, I’m also in the “touch my car and die” club, but this seems like such an absurd interpretation of constitutional rights I have to laugh. What will happen is that there will be parking meters – and who likes parking meters?

  2. Bill Formby Reply

    April 24, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    This was likely brought by those folks that get somewhere first and then believe they forever own that piece of real estate. This has a tendency to pit the workers in downtown establishments against the potential shoppers. Then the downtown merchants wonder why all their business goes out the the malls who seems to plan acres of parking spaces. In Tuscaloosa, Alabama it has always been about the courthouse. Have business at the courthouse your are screwed.

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