Flashing Headlights to Warn About Speed Traps Is Protected Speech, Sez Judge


Meet Ryan Kintner, 25, American hero:

According to his suit, Kintner was home Aug. 10 when he saw a deputy park along a street and pull out his radar gun. Kintner then got in his car, drove a couple of blocks away, parked and pointed his vehicle at oncoming traffic and began flashing his lights.

He was ticketed a short time later.

On Tuesday, a judge in Sanford, Florida, ruled that flashing headlights with the purpose of communication—"hey neighbors, the freaking cops are trying to meet their ticket quotas on our block today," for example—is constitutionally protected speech.

Hero #2 is Kintner's lawyer, J. Marcus Jones:

"He felt the police specifically went out of their way to silence Mr. Kintner and that it was clearly a violation of his First Amendment free speech rights," said his attorney, J. Marcus Jones of Oviedo.

Jones has filed a similar but much broader suit in Tallahassee against the Florida Highway Patrol.

A hearing in that case is scheduled next month.

"This stuff is fun," Jones said after Tuesday's hearing.

Via Walter Olson.

NEXT: Why Didn't Greek and European Leaders Think About the Inevitable Greek Exit From the Euro Until Three Weeks Ago?

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  1. Glad he won.

    But he is now going to be in the cop's sights for any offence, no matter how trivial.

    1. And then he can sue them again and again and again.

      1. If he is ticketed for doing 3 mph over the limit, he has no basis for a suit.

        Same if he is jaywalking. Or stops one foot beyond the stop line.

        1. If he gets ten of them, I imagine a harassment suit would be a slam dunk.

        2. "If he is ticketed for doing 3 mph over the limit, he has no basis for a suit."

          He does in Florida. Or at least the ticket will be thrown out. The Florida statutes specify that for speeding 1-5 mph over the limit that only a warning can be issued.

      2. Lawsuits won't bring back all the family pets they kill, though.

  2. How is flashing lights different from a reporter listing speed traps? It is nice to see some sense in the judicial branch.

    1. There's an argument that flashing lights at oncoming traffic is distraction and therefore a safety hazard. I'm not sold on it, but in that respect it's different from publishing a list of speed traps.

      1. I see the point, but yeah, totally weak. If you're driving something as huge and dangerous as a motor vehicle, you'd better damn well be able to handle a distraction or two. That's all driving IS where I live.

  3. Seems like this guy baited the police into going after him, and they got trolled hard. I'd like to see more people with free time deliberately provoke the state into a court battle over constitutional freedoms that the state can't logically win. This man is a true patriot.

    1. Hmmmm...

      We have a LOT of unemployed and underemployed people, and I'm sure a few of them are getting mighty grouchy, too.

      Stipends for people with free time, willing to do these things, could be an interesting place to use a libertarian grant...

      1. Nah, most of the unemployed would gladly suck government cock for money.

        See: TSA

  4. Serious question: does this mean drug transaction lookouts are protected, or would they still be guilty due to collusion beforehand?

    Also, "This stuff is fun." was all that needed to be said.

    1. Probably still considered for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. Or possibly obstruction of justice or evidence tampering.

      1. Conspiracy for sure, that's how the Feds nail everyone. As an added bonus they can tack on all the weight from all the other members of the "conspiracy."

    2. Commerce Clause, yo!

  5. Back when I lived with my parents we did shit like this all the time. They would set up DUI Checkpoints in the Church parking lot across the street from my house, and shine their huge floodlights into our bedroom windows so we couldn't sleep (even if they didn't have floodlights, they still caused all the drunks to panic, and turn around down my street knocking over garbage cans and hitting cars). So, to keep our cars from getting all dinged up and since we couldn't sleep, we would simply lap the DUI checkpoint over and over and over in our pajamas, wasting the cops time. It was good fun and something to do to kill the time since we couldn't sleep - but they were intelligent enough to NOT give us tickets. Glad they fought back against this and won.

    1. What the fuck are you talking about? Why would the cops shine floodlights into your house? Are you David Koresh?

      1. Those checkpoints can be pretty bright. Here's a good example.

        1. Fuck, dude. Rageboner alert.

        2. That's pretty much what it looked like. Except they closed down ALL lanes of the highway and diverted everyone into the church parking lot. Though they had WAY more lights than that. And instead of pointing away from the houses on the right of the photo, half of the lights point straight into them.

          1. Nice to see the Church in cahoots with the state.

      2. We lived on a street one block off of a state highway (our street was parallel to the highway) and behind a giant catholic church. They set up the DUI checkpoints in the parking lot of the church and had like 35 floodlights to light up the place. Some of them ended up pointing right into our house.

        Now that I think about it, I always thought the lights were for the DUI stop, but then again, it could have been because my dad was telling the two dozen people locked in the basement some shit about a messiah and judgement day...so I guess I can't be sure.

        1. That was your mom, John Connor. Your dad's long gone.

        2. DUI checkpoint in a Catholic Church parking lot?
          If it's fish fry night, isn't that like shooting fish in a barrel?

          1. They ARE always out in full force on Bingo Night.

          2. Its weird but ever since the Asians and Hispanics took over the Catholic Immigrant trophy from the Irish and Poles, the stereotype really doesn't fit as well. For one thing, Hispanics and Asians don't seem to view every family get together as an opportunity to practice for the melee.

  6. I salute this man, not many people have the balls and the resources to fight this sort of thing through the courts. Just hope he's wary of the cops in his town from here on out.

  7. Actually, the correct name of the city is Sanford not Sandford.

    Sanford is the seat of Seminole County which is also home to the exciting metropolis of Taintsville.

    1. Also, IIANM, since this ruling was by Circuit Judge Alan Dickey it only applies to the 18th Judicial Circuit, which is Seminole and Brevard Counties not the entire state.

    2. That's right, named after Fred. There's also a Lamont, Florida.

      1. Think I'm kidding? There's also a Mary Esther, Florida. After Aunt Esther.


          1. No Elizabeth, Florida, that I know of, but there is the Mount Elizabeth Archeological Site.

    3. From the Taintsville Wiki: "It is located in between Oviedo and Chuluota."

      I just can't keep up with the anatomical slang these days.

      1. Well, Chuluota is a bit of a dump, but it's hardly the asshole of the world.

        1. I once described Chuluota as the Brazil of Central Florida. A few very, very rich people, and a large mass of very, very poor people.

          1. There's a few really high tone developments but County Rd 419 mostly meets the definition of blight.

          2. How's the TV in Chuluota, though?

        2. From the CDP Wiki: A census-designated place (CDP) is a concentration of population identified by the United States Census Bureau for statistical purposes. ... The boundaries of a CDP have no legal status.

          So, every U. S. Census that involves a CDP is illegal?

        3. For a moment I thought you were referring to a hot sauce with a wooden cap.

          1. One of my favorite hot sauces!

            1. And Frank's. Can't forget the Frank's.

          2. I am partial to thier chili lime hot sauce.

    4. "anford is the seat of Seminole County"

      What a racist name for a county. Very offensive to American Indians.

  8. I would expect a 2 am visit from the local SWAT team is in his near future, based on an "anonymous tip". If he has a dog, he'd best say his goodbye's now.

  9. Speaking of flashing, there was a "lights-out" gang who'd drive around at nite w no headlights. Then when someone flashed their headlights at them, they'd follow the flasher to their destination, put their lights out (KO them), and steal their car.

    1. Thanks for your input, Mary.

      1. i wrote steal the car, sherlock, not murder the driver. maybe moar cocaine might help

        1. A modification of a bogus urban legend is still bogus.

        2. The fact that you can't even get the urban legend right makes you even more of a moron.

    2. Also, he was calling from inside the house!!!!1!

    3. And all she saw on the door handle was....a hook!

      For Epi:

      Master Shake: Well, I set it down right over there beside the demon of the flashlight!
      Meatwad: The demon! no!

      1. He said that the hobbit, that turns the crank case is depressed, and needs therapy. We need to get us a new hobbit. They's from the land beyond time, land beyond time's also gonna hook us up with a unicorn for the radiator, I ain't even gonna tell you bout that haunted air condition. Then that air filter, that's made of plutonium, that's gonna require Superman, so, you know, plus shippin' from Krypton. Then the cow, jumped over the moon...

        1. "Wow, he really did write all that. What an asshole."

          There's a quote from that one I use in real life all the time:

          "Soft drink's a fluid".

          1. Yeah, we know how you did it. Congratulations. The bank gave you a credit card. It doesn't make you better than me! But you see, no one gives me credit, because I'm a bad risk and I don't pay my bills on time. So I have to work for what I have.

  10. If the point of speed limits is traffic safety, flashing lights to get people to slow down achieves this noble goal.

  11. There's a Sanford, FL story and somehow this isn't George Zimmerman's fault? Are you sure?

    1. why yes, if zimmerman's a kenyan

      1. Thanks for continuing to share your unique brand of stupid with the group, Urine!

  12. Back in the days when I lived in Colorado, flashing lights to warn other drivers was common practice. Not so much here in Michigan.

    Anyhoo, in CO there was a news story about this. When the reporter asked "Is there anything you can do to stop people from flashing their lights?" The cop just shook his head and said "no."

    1. Flashing lights to warn of a cop up ahead was de rigueur for everyone where I grew up (CT/NY/NJ). If you didn't do it, you were an asshole.

      1. So you're saying you didn't then and you still don't?

        1. Correct. I even laugh when you get nailed by the cops.

      2. It has always been a convention in KY as well.

        1. Indiana, too. They don't do it out here in California, though. Last year, I was driving on Interstate 70 from my parents house into Indianapolis. A car on the opposite way flashed it's lights. It took me a minute to remember what it meant, but then I slowed down. I told my wife (a California native) that I bet there is a cop car waiting at the next exit. Sure as shit, there was a State Police car parked (hiding) on the entrance ramp. My wife thought I was a genius, until I explained the flashing courtesy. Now I'm back to non-genius status.

          1. Best to keep expectations manageable.

      3. I remember my Mom always did it in Ohio. My father was too busy driving 20 over the speed limit to notice or care.

    2. It does vary. The truckers are the best about it.

      Also, fuck tha pole lease.

  13. It's fascinating which threads Dunphy decides to troll.

  14. Because preventing cops from writing speeding tickets = loss of ticket revenue.

    Also, fuck you, that's why.

    Also, fried chicken.

  15. Well that's mighty neighborly of ya stranger. But why are you assuming I'm violating the speeding laws?

  16. There's also a class action suit against Florida, and a court order back in 2005 directing law enforcement agencies to stop issuing tickets for flashing headlights.

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