Federal Appeals Court Rules Marking Tires for Parking Enforcement Illegal


This has to be considered an interesting take on the fourth amendment. The days whereby the police could mark one’s tires to determine over staying in a parking spot appears to be over.

Of course a purpose of parking enforcement is to raise revenue. It is also to keep reasonable access to merchants and control traffic flow. Must we always be tweaking our amendments?

How is marking tires a search? The result of course will be the installation of meters, charging for parking, collecting the meter fees. All and all making life less pleasant.

Apparently our Firestones have more rights than we do…as my data is being sucked up as I type this. Of course the police can always get a FISA warrant now can’t they?




Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Marking tires to enforce parking rules is like entering property without a search warrant, a federal court said Monday as it declared the practice unconstitutional in Michigan and three other states.

Alison Taylor had received more than a dozen $15 tickets for exceeding the two-hour parking limit in Saginaw. The city marks tires with chalk to keep track of how long a vehicle is parked. Her lawyer argued that a parking patrol officer violated the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court agreed.

The purpose of marking tires was to “raise revenue,” not to protect the public against a safety risk, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said.

“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 warrantless search under the community caretaker rationale,” the court said.

[Taylor’s attorney, Philip Ellison ] argued that marking tires was similar to police secretly putting a GPS device on a vehicle without a proper warrant, which was the subject of a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Here is the opinion in the case

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