April 24, 2019
You know how the meter maid will mark your tire with chalk so that, if the car isn’t moved within a specified period of time, the meter maid can ticket you?
She can’t do that. It’s unconstitutional.
At least so says a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
According to the court, the act of chalking the tires of a parked car constitutes a search for Fourth Amendment purposes and, as such, can pass constitutional muster only if it is “reasonable.”
I consider myself a fairly zealous advocate for civil liberties, but I frankly find it hard to accept that the act of chalking a tire is a “search.” But, the court held, the physical intrusion, while admittedly slight, was enough to constitute the sort of trespass that becomes a search.
What was left unsaid in the decision, but which may have precipitated the suit in the first place, was the fact that the plaintiff, Alison Taylor, was issued 15 parking tickets in three years by the same parking officer, who’s described in the suit as the city’s “most prolific issuer of parking tickets.”