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Why Michigan Wants Tire-Chalking to Come Back

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Recently, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the practice of chalking tires to enforce parking regulations was unconstitutional. They claimed the practice violated the Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans from warrantless searches of personal property. Get the scoop on the Michigan resident who inspired the court’s decision, as well as why the city now wants the court to reinstate this policy. 

The case against chalking tires

Alison Taylor from Saginaw, Michigan, is the woman behind the recent tire-chalking ruling. Receiving her 15th parking ticket, and an associated tire-chalking, prompted her to sue the city and the parking enforcement officer who cited her. Saginaw is just one of the many U.S. locations that allows parking enforcement officials to mark a vehicle’s tires with chalk to enforce parking rules

In the lawsuit, Taylor claimed that chalking tires was an intrusive practice that violated the Fourth Amendment. This amendment protects the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

The court decided the tire-chalking without a warrant is unconstitutional. The ruling now applies to Michigan, as well as to three other 6th Circuit district states: Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. 

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The case for chalking tires

The city of Saginaw wants the court to reverse its decision. Per Autoblog’s Zac Palmer, the ruling has caused some cities to abandon parking enforcement for fear of lawsuits. Cities of various sizes in the 6th Circuit district are starting to manifest this new trend. Athens, Tennessee, and Columbus, Ohio, are just two of these. 

Apparently, the court released an amended decision a few days after the original ruling. It advised Saginaw that it could try to convince a lower court of its case to resume chalking. Though, the city would need to put forth a new argument in favor of the practice.

Instead, Saginaw is asking the appeals panel to reconsider its decision or have the full 6th Circuit hear the case. 

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News Sources: Autoblog, Pacific StandardThe Washington Post