In a landmark decision a three judge panel on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in Cincinnati declared that chalking tires to enforce two hour parking limits is an unconstitutional act violating the 4th Amendment unreasonable Search clause. From WaPo:
The age-old parking enforcement practice of tire-chalking is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, saying it violated the Fourth Amendment’s bar on unreasonable searches.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in a first-of-its-kind decision, ruled that marking a car’s tires to gather information is a form of trespass requiring a warrant, similar to police attaching a GPS to a vehicle to track a suspected drug dealer.
Parking attendants across the country have been chalking tires with big white lines for decades in zones without meters to enforce of time limits and issue tickets. It’s a substantial source of revenue for many cities.
The decision, while undoubtedly bringing joy to parking scofflaws everywhere, could cost some cities money, either from lost revenue or having to install meters where none exist.
The case came from Saginaw, Mich., where lawyer Philip Ellison engaged in a Facebook rant in 2016 after his law partner, sitting in his chalked car, got ticketed while the two talked on the phone.
Ellison said a friend, Alison Taylor, saw the Facebook post and got in touch to complain about her 15th ticket in two years. She, as plaintiff, and he, as lawyer, filed a civil rights suit against Saginaw and a named parking enforcement officer who Ellison claims “issues more than 95 percent of the tickets.”
“We made a federal case out of tire-chalking,” said Ellison, who is seeking refunds for his client and others caught by chalking. He acknowledged some surprise at his victory, as he could find no comparable chalking precedents.
Washington Post – April 23, 2019
A lawyer for Saginaw did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
No, I’m sure he didn’t – so everyone load up the station wagon – we’re going to Saginaw. Who says the law ain’t fun?