Michigan motorist wins traffic ticket appeal

DETROIT, MI (AP) – Parking Lot Scammers Unite!

A woman with 14 tickets has won a major ruling in a dispute over whether a Michigan city violated the U.S. Constitution by cracking its car tires without a search warrant.

This is a new argument. Alison Taylor’s attorney said the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches was triggered when a Saginaw parking officer applied chalk marks and returned two hours later to see if the car was still there.

Saginaw cited an exception to the Fourth Amendment, but a federal appeals court said it didn’t fit.

“For almost as long as automobiles have been parked along city streets, municipalities have found ways to enforce parking regulations without involving the Fourth Amendment,” Justice Richard Griffin said in a 3-4 Notice. 0 Wednesday.

“Thus, chalking of tires is not necessary to meet ordinary law enforcement needs, let alone extraordinary needs,” he said.

Parking officer Tabitha Hoskins took notes and occasionally chalked the tires in areas where there was a time limit but no counters. The city said the chalking was a signal to motorists that vehicles were being watched.

“The city has important interests that are furthered by the enforcement of its parking ordinances through the use of chalk, and those interests far outweigh the minimal intrusion created by a chalk mark,” Saginaw said. in a court file.

The U.S. 6th Court of Appeals overturned a ruling in Saginaw’s favor and remitted the case to U.S. District Judge Thomas Ludington for next steps. It was Taylor’s second trip to the appeals court.

Lawyer Philip Ellison wants to make the lawsuit a class action suit open to other drivers whose tires have been burnt with chalk in Saginaw even though they haven’t been ticketed.

“We have all the records of every tire she chalked out,” Ellison said.

He has similar lawsuits pending against Bay City and Ann Arbor, where tire chalking has also occurred.

The 6th Circuit rulings set a legal precedent in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Despite the heavy constitutional question, there were some light moments when the court heard arguments on July 29.

“I didn’t have a lot of parking tickets” said Judge Joan Larsen, a former Michigan Supreme Court justice. “Only because I have a reserved parking space.”

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