Ticket for Flashing Headlights Leads to First Amendment Lawsuit

It's communication, coppers


Missouri resident Michael Elli wanted to let others on the road know to slow down because they were about to drive into a speed trap, so he did what many kindhearted souls do: He flashed his headlights as a warning.

Police didn't take at all kindly to warnings of this 21st century Paul Revere.  They flashed him a ticket of his very own for obstruction of justice.  Prosecutors eventually dropped the case, but Mr. Elli has now filed a class action lawsuit against the city because he says that the city retaliates against drivers who exercise their right to free speech–and that the government is trying to prevent it because it doesn't like the message.

Under the law, obstruction of justice is generally defined as an attempt to interfere with the administration of the courts, the judicial system or law enforcement officers.

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  1. One of the many rotten schemes of today’s LEO is to practice a form of “catch and release”, similar to what fishermen do: They write a ticket, charge, arrest, booking, etc?.all the while knowing the charges will be dropped.

    When you don’t lick the badge, they’ll show YOU which end is up.

  2. Timing is not good to take this to court, the concept of “administrative” search (which I assume includes actions of this sort) are pretty much in vogue. Do we really want this sort of harassment enshrined in caselaw?

  3. I have been doing this for as long as I have been driving and I always appreciate when people give me the heads up as well

  4. Better go after all them Wazers then too…

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