Free Speech

Brickbat: Beware


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Seattle police issued Daniel Gehlke a $138 ticket for holding up a sign warning motorists they were enforcing traffic laws further up the street. Cops contend his sign violated a city ordinance banning signs that could be construed as directing traffic.

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  1. Never interfer with the King’s revenue agents. Pennies from your eyeys and all that.

  2. They’re going to get their money one way or another. If not from motorists then from this guy. And you can always find a law, regulation or ordinance to justify it if you’re creative enough.

  3. Yet Dylan doesn’t even get a slap on the wrist for Subterranean Homesick Blues.

  4. What is “free speech”?

    1. Speech that is approved of by the ruling majority and the dissemination of which is subsidized by the evil one percent, DUH.

  5. “Cops contend his sign violated a city ordinance banning signs that could be construed as directing traffic.”

    What the fuck don’t they get about “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”??????????

    What I don’t see in that document is where the state gets to have a violent coercive monopoly that is the police, which is funded through extortion, that goes around extorting people for exercising their rights.

    Well, as to the document, they could care less. They will never limit their power because FYTW.

  6. These cases have been through the courts many times and the cops lose. You can’t fine someone for urging their fellow citizens to stop breaking the law. The cops are being creative here to try and get around all of the past rulings against them.

    1. But what he’s really saying is, “Hey break the law over here. No pigs are watching!”. At least that is how a few DOJ people or even SCOTUS may read that.

    2. There is no incentive for police to stop trying. There is no “loser pays” in cases like these. Win or lose, the citizen pays.

  7. Presumably, a sign that read “Slow Down–Save Lives” would have been fine. Then, the word could be spread that the sign really means that there was a speed trap ahead.

    1. I like it!

      Also, I was wondering if it’d be possible to stand on a sidewalk ANYWHERE with a sign stating “Cops Ahead” and it not be true? Who said anything about traffic cops?

      1. “Assholes Ahead”. Wonder if the cops would assume it’s about them.

        1. That would result in charges of assaulting the police and resisting arrest.

  8. If he has the resources to fight this, he should win pretty easily (says this non-lawyer). First, speech restrictions have to be content-neutral; basing their fine or the law on what his sign says is problematical and it’s a stretch to say he was directing traffic. Second, there have been many cases of cops trying to punish drivers who flash their lights or people with handmade signs like this, warning of speed traps ahead, and the cops always lose if their victims have the resources to fight it.

    1. And there’s the problem. Spend $25k tighting the ticket through the appeals courts, or pay the $125 extortion fee.

      1. At some point, there will have been enough adverse decisions that cops lose qualified immunity. Even if cities pay for them per the police union contract, are there any additional benefits to the winner, like loser pays?

  9. Even if he wins, the process is the punishment.

  10. If any jury of 12 citizens finds him guilty then the people deserve what they get. I am a big fan of jury nullification.

  11. OT accidentally at half a habnero. Mouth on fire! Tried milk, ice. What you got?

    1. Rub your eyes. You won’t be concerned about your burning mouth anymore.

    2. Bread/rice/tortillas

    3. Vodka. Hold it in your mouth, then spit.

      You don’t want to spread the oils with the spice in them down your throat.

    4. Take the pepper and rub it in your eyes!!! That’s what you deserve for not knowing the basics of consuming bread to counter spicy hot foods.

  12. A coworker of my wife was given a citation for talking on her cell phone while driving, which happens to be legal in this state. She now has to either pay the fine or hire a lawyer which will cost more than the fine. Even if she is found innocent for the non-crime she was cited for, nothing will stop that cop from continuing to do what he did. In fact it’s probably encouraged, since most people will just pay the fine instead of fighting it.

    The law is whatever the cops say it is. It’s up to you to prove otherwise, or submit and pay the fine.

    Rule of man.

    1. How… don’t they have to mark a statute number on the ticket? How did they even issue a ticket for something that’s not illegal?

      1. There is a statute that prohibits operating electronic devices, but specifically excludes talking on the phone. So I assume the cop just lied on the ticket, since that’s what they do.

        1. Ah, OK. That makes a lot more sense.

    2. She has to get a lawyer to fight it? I thought you just went to traffic court with 100 other offenders and told your story to the judge.

  13. Cops contend his sign violated a city ordinance banning signs that could be construed as directing traffic.

    Then ban (most) billboards as signs that could be construed as directing traffic.

    “McDonald’s Exit 3, 14 Miles Ahead”

  14. Does no one read the links? The sign said “Stop at sign and light!”

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