Don’t Touch My Tires! Your Car Really Is Your Castle After All.

Written by Gregory Monte.

A man’s car is his castle.”

Sir Edward Coke (rephrased for the modern world)

A couple of days ago I wrote a blog post about how privacy in your car is similar to the privacy you enjoy in your own home (Your Car is Your Castle … Sort of).  I included a quote from the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648, 662, 99 S.Ct. 1391, 1400-1401, 59 L.Ed.2d 660, 673 (1979), which highlighted this fact:

“An individual operating or traveling in an automobile does not lose all reasonable expectation of privacy simply because the automobile and its use are subject to government regulation.”

When I wrote that post, I had no idea that a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Michigan had just come out with an opinion related to automobile privacy.  At issue in this case was the common practice employed by meter maids of “chalking tires” to keep track of how long cars are parked in a given location.  The conclusion of this wise court is one that I have highlighted numerous times, and which I point out in my Pennsylvania Stop Sign Ticket Defense eBook:

“The police are not issuing citations out of a sense of safety.  Let’s get real, tickets are used as ‘revenue’ generators for the local government.  I put the word ‘revenue’ in quotes, because I find it strange that the government calls money obtained by force ‘revenue.’  Businesses, on the other hand, convince you to purchase products voluntarily, so I can understand why they use the word ‘revenue.’”

Well, the Appeals Court used the exact same language in its opinion:

The purpose of marking tires was to ‘raise revenue,’ not to protect the public against a safety risk …”

The Court even characterized the chalking of tires as “a warrantless search:”

“The city does not demonstrate, in law or logic, that the need to deter drivers from exceeding the time permitted for parking – before they have even done so – is sufficient to justify a warrant-less search under the community caretaker rationale,” the court said.

If you go to the Archives section of my blog, you will see that I have two categores related to judges:

–          “Judges Rule!”

–          “Judges Suck!”

I think you can guess where this blog post will be placed.  “Chalk” another one up for “his honor.”


One thought on “Don’t Touch My Tires! Your Car Really Is Your Castle After All.

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