Court Will Stop Suspending Driver’s Licenses Over Unpaid Fines

By Matt Fleming : capoliticalreview – excerpt

Under pressure from civil liberties groups, Contra Costa County Superior Court announced last week a moratorium on the practice of suspending driver’s licenses over unpaid fines.

In March, the ACLU of Northern California and other groups urged the California Judicial Council — the policy-making board of the California court system — for action, arguing that suspending licenses for unpaid fines disproportionately affects lower-income drivers.

The ACLU and others have been targeting individual courts as well in Bay Area counties. Contra Costa County Superior Court responded last week saying the Failure to Pay policy was under review.

“The court will suspend all FTP referrals until further notice,” Steven K. Austin, presiding judge of the Superior Court, wrote last week to the ACLU of Northern California and Bay Area Legal Aid. Austin added the moratorium had already begun… (more)

San Jose To Study License Plate Readers On Garbage Trucks

cbslocal – excerpt

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – San Jose city leaders on Wednesday approved a study of a plan to place license plate readers on garbage trucks.

The plan proposed by Mayor Sam Liccardo and councilmen Johnny Khamis and Raul Peralez would help the city’s Police Department track down stolen vehicles and warrants.

Installing license plate readers on garbage trucks would be beneficial as the vehicles sweep through the city once a week, Khamis said…

While Jones said he is a fan of technology assisting in providing services in a more efficient and effective manner, but he sees the proposal as “a little too extreme.”

The idea of the trucks scanning license plates through every street is reminiscent of George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984” and comparable to the National Security Agency listening to every phone call, Jones said.

Liccardo said people tend to get an “icky feeling” when it comes to surveillance such as cameras and drones, Liccardo said… (more)

1984 is right, but for a really close look at where this is going check out Terry Gilliam’s 1985 movie, “Bazil”, one of our all time favorites. Does Central Services look familiar?

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

By Jim Salter : Associated Press – – 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.

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….”