OK to flash headlights to warn drivers of police speed trap, judge rules

By Jim Salter : Associated Press – csmonitor.com – excerpt

A US federal judge in Missouri agreed that flashing headlights to warn other drivers of a speed trap was protected free speech. Will this ruling set a broader precedent?

The order by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey in St. Louis stems from a lawsuit filed by Ellisville resident Michael Elli. On Nov. 17, 2012, Elli flashed his headlights to warn oncoming vehicles of a radar set up by Ellisville police. A flash of headlights is a common way motorists communicate to oncoming drivers of either a dangerous situation or the presence of police — in essence, a warning to slow down.

An officer saw the flash and pulled over Elli, who could have faced a fine of up to $1,000 if convicted. The charge was later dismissed.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued on Elli’s behalf, claiming the arrest violated his First Amendment right to free speech…

“It is important that law enforcement officers in other jurisdictions take note of this federal court decision and the ACLU-MO’s commitment to free speech,” Mittman said in a statement… (more)

Many non-profit legal groups, including the ACLU, are fighting to protect freedoms most of us take for granted, ie: Due process,  freedom of speech and “the presumption of innocence until proven guilty”. National Motorists Association has taken up the latter cause.

RELATED:
Flashing Headlights To Warn Other Drivers Of Speed Traps Is Protected By First Amendment, Federal Judge Rules… In a separate interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog, Rothert said the ruling marked a civil liberties victory….”

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