Skip to comments.Judge rules flashing headlights is free speech in Oregon case
Posted on 04/11/2014 7:15:04 AM PDT by relictele
Hauling a truckload of logs to a Southern Oregon mill last fall, Chris Hill noticed a sheriff's deputy behind him and flashed his lights to warn a UPS driver coming the other way.
The deputy pulled over Hill on U.S. Highway 140 in White City and handed him a $260 ticket for improperly using his headlights, saying another deputy had seen the flashing lights from behind the UPS truck and alerted him to stop the log truck because of the signaling.
Outraged, Hill decided to fight the ticket, and on Wednesday, a Jackson County Justice Court judge dismissed the citation, finding that motorists flashing their headlights amounts to speech protected by the Oregon Constitution.
Judge Joseph Carter determined the law covering the use of high beams was valid, but was unconstitutional as it was applied by the deputy.
"The citation was clearly given to punish the Defendant for that expression," the judge wrote. "The government certainly can and should enforce the traffic laws for the safety of all drivers on the road. However, the government cannot enforce the traffic laws, or any other laws, to punish drivers for their expressive conduct."
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
Despite denials of quotas, directives, etc. it's clear that revenue collection is the priority of so-called law enforcement and that giving a badge to a person with a preexisting condition i.e. a Napoleon complex is a recipe for trouble. The red mist descends when they realize their presence is being announced and they issue trumped-up citations.
To debate the legality of such an action is to miss the point; what are laws regarding such an action doing on the books in the first place and why do police feel justified in looking for so-called infractions?
As usual, in their zeal to collar so-called lawbreakers, they unwittingly expose the 'safety' canard. After all, why is law enforcement upset that citizens are encouraging strict compliance with too-low speed limits (don't get me started) and other traffic laws?
Lol, I bet the police love that judge now.
How dare you inform others about the police being present!
Would the judge rule it free speech if I flew the bird in the courtroom?
It’s a lot easier (and safer) to take down middle class traffic violators than gangsta drug sellers and violent offenders.
Sort of like the FBI here in Indiana sending legions of agents to take down a 90 yr old historical collector living in the boondocks.
Just to check, around my area (the Deep South), it’s 3 headlight flashes to warn of a police check-point/speed trap/etc. Is that the same as everyone else’s system?
Unfortunately, in Yankeeland and elsewhere they suffer from the usual dearth of manners i.e. flashes are all too rare.
In the South the light-flashers are quite reliable, although in the bigger cities where, ahem, interstate migration has occurred the light-flashing standard has slipped badly.
I also recommend the Waze app for smartphones. GPS/Navigation, traffic conditions/reporting by users including road hazards, weather, accidents and....Johnny Law.
From the courts right down to the local police we are finding insanity.
Highway Patrol in Florida pulled this same crap several years ago. The judge wound up throwing that out too.
The traffic is relatively light on this stretch of interstate. Meanwhile, sections of I-81 and I-95 are heavily traveled and everyone speeds a lot more. If they don't, they become road kill.
My Garmin GPS actually has a built in radar detector. I'm supposed to disable the feature when I drive in Virginia. It's all about making life easier for the highway robbers who hide behind a badge and a "Smokey the Bear" hat.
high beam flash is outdated now,
i have a smartphone app (waze) that tells me where all the nearby police, traffic jams, hazards are.
all information are updated by people around me.
Seeking to collect taxes from otherwise law-abiding motorists is much safer than pursuing dangerous weapon-wielding bad guys.
Yes, well familiar with the stretch of hell known as the 66 miles of I-77 through VA. Bland County Sheriff et al. Bland, per its name, must have zero crime as 100% of cops are on the interstate 100% of the time.
A cousin of mine was relieved of his radar detector. No ticket, but they have a detector detector!
As before, Waze is indispensable and perfectly legal, much to the chagrin of cops.
How can the police PROVE that it was a warning to other drivers?
Oh wait, it they say so it must be so - GUILTY.
LOL. Send this one up to the Supreme Court and see if it falls within Breyer’s “the First Amendment only protects speech that improves the democratic process” rubric.
A friend of mine, got an alert on his pager than his warehouse security system had gone off. He asked me to ride with him to check it out. His warehouse was in the industrial park, we came down the dark street and there was a car driving slow near his warehouse, without headlights. He flashed his high beams and the car came alive with blue and red lights. It was a unmarked cop car and they tried to give him a ticket for flashing his lights at them. I say tried because we had a Texas Ranger riding with us and he told them he said to flash our lights, because they looked suspicious driving without lights.
The entire purpose of traffic enforcement is to get people to OBEY the speed limits. If this is what flashing headlights does, isn’t the goal the same as that of the police?