It goes like this: A woman received 14 parking tickets for overstaying the two hour limit on the streets of Saginaw, MI. She found a lawyer with nothing better to do and took the city to court, claiming her fourth amendment rights had been violated because the PEO used chalk to mark the tires on her car as a way to prove she overstayed the limit. The city fought the lawsuit. The court agreed with the city. She then kicked it to the court of appeals and this week the appeals court agreed with her. It’s being kicked back to the lower court for whatever happens next. This will affect chalking in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
I guess if you consider all the ramification of a two inch chalk mark on the bottom of your tire, you could twist yourself into knots and claim ‘unreasonable search and seizure.” Certainly technology has moved on so manual chalking is no longer required (Bill Franklin call your office). The PEO in Saginaw told the court that she also kept note of scofflaws in her personal notebook.
This could be a boon to our industry tech LPR providers. There are a number that have cameras you attached to a vehicle and it serves the same purpose as chalking but you can do a lot more area and a much shorter period of time. However I have an issue with the whole concept of this type of enforcement.
Let’s say I park at 9 AM in a two hour zone. The “Chalker”, manual or electronic, comes by at 10:30 and tags my car. I leave at noon. I have parked for three hours in the two hour zone. Scott free.
I suppose it has to do with the neighborhood. If it’s a commercial area, then enforce it as much as possible. If it’s a residential area, then if you miss a few (as in the example above), so be it.
I’m not sure just how seriously the court took this case. To wit:
Despite the weighty constitutional question, there were light moments when the court heard arguments on July 29.“I haven’t gotten many parking tickets,” said Judge Joan Larsen, a former Michigan Supreme Court justice. “Only because I have a reserved parking spot.”
This has to be frustrating to small cities with limited budgets. The court is basically saying that if you want to enforce properly, you have to go high tech.