Court Rules Using Chalk for Parking Enforcement Violates Constitution
By edhat staff
On Monday a federal appeals court ruled that "chalking" tires for parking enforcement violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, reports NPR.
After receiving her 15th parking citation in a few years Alison Taylor from Saginaw, Michigan, who the court described as "frequent recipient of parking tickets," sued the city and parking enforcement officer Tabitha Hoskins. Taylor alleged that Hoskins, who issued all of Taylor's citations, was a "prolific" chalker. The lawsuit stated that Hoskins marked a tire with chalk then circled back to see if Taylor's car had moved. Taylor stated that chalking was unconstitutional, reports NPR.
"Trespassing upon a privately-owned vehicle parked on a public street to place a chalk mark to begin gathering information to ultimately impose a government sanction is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment," Taylor's lawyer, Philip Ellison, wrote in a court filing.
All three judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit agreed stating chalking tires is a kind of trespass and it requires a warrant. Chalking is deemed a "search" for purposes of the Fourth Amendment as government officials physically trespass upon a constitutionally protected area to obtain information.
The Fourth Amendment states, "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."
Law scholars have replied to the case on social media platforms stating parking enforcement officers could take a photo of the car instead of chalk to get around the trespass violation.
Could this affect the way parking enforcement officers issue tickets in Santa Barbara County and beyond? Weigh in below in the comment section.