Alison Taylor had 15 parking tickets in three years, but she took her city, Saginaw, Michigan, to court over the tickets in 2017.
She said the parking enforcement officer and the city were violating her Fourth Amendment rights to be free of unreasonable searches, CNN reported.
For each violation, Taylor’s tires had been marked with chalk to allow the officer to track how long she had been parked in a spot.
A lower court dismissed her case, but on Monday, a federal appeals court agreed with Taylor, saying chalking tires was unconstitutional and the officer did not establish probable cause.
In the decision, Circuit Judge Bernice Bouie Donald wrote, “The City commences its search on vehicles that are parked legally, without probable cause or even so much as ‘individualized suspicious of wrongdoing’ -- the touchstone of the reasonableness standard.”
City lawyers said there is a reduced expectation of privacy in a car and also cited the community caretaker exception that allows enforcement of laws if there’s a public safety risk, CNN reported.
The judge also questioned why it harms the city if people overstay their parking space welcome, according to CNN.
The judge said the city was the one breaking the law, and that the law enforcement officer trespassed the moment he touched Taylor’s car, NBC News reported.
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