Federal judge rules flashing headlights to warn of police is protected by free speech

pulled over

Photo via HumpDay Blog

Hey flashers, you are now protected under the First Amendment right to free speech to give the universal sign to fellow drivers that cops are nearby running radar.

Hailed as a “victory for drivers,” U.S. District Court Judge Henry Autrey in St. Louis, Mo. ruled Monday that flashing one’s headlights to warn others about speed traps was free speech.

“In November of 2012, Ellisville Police pulled over Michael Elli, a retired West County resident who hadn’t been accused of a moving violation for more than 35 years, and cited him for flashing his headlights,” Fox 2 reported. “A judge later told him the standard fine for it was $1,000.”

The American Civil Liberties Union joined the case to help Elli fight the case in federal court.

According to Fox 2:

“If you’re at the gas station on the corner and someone says ‘hey be careful over there, there’s a speed trap’, that’s protected speech. You can’t be ticketed for that. This is no different,” said Tony Rothert, an attorney for the American Civil Liberty Union.

“In our view that’s speech that’s protected by the First Amendment and it’s also good for the public because it tells people to slow down, to use caution. That’s never a bad thing,” Rothert said.

The judge agreed, and “issued a preliminary injunction ordering Ellisville Police to halt the policy.”

But the department said the ruling was a “moot point” because it rarely issued citations for flashing lights.

“[The Ellisville Police] specifically took action by way of the chief of police to address this; to say that we will not arrest individuals, we won’t even stop individuals and we certainly won’t prosecute individual, city attorney George Restovich told Fox 2. “I believe there were maybe 5 tickets that were issued in a similar fashion in the past decade.”

Watch the report from Fox 2:

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About Janeen Capizola

"And though she be but little, she is fierce." And fun! This conservative-minded political junkie, mom of three, dancer and one-time NFL cheerleader holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science. Janeen@BizPacReview.com. Twitter: @JaneenBPR

  • Aaron Mason

    Sweet. Justice wins.

  • uselogic19

    Well, duh!

  • Texas Belle

    Some people want to criminalize everything; if the liberals continue to prevail all Republicans will find themselves in prison.

    • my20cents

      Yes, the evil libs, of course you completely ignore the fact that the ACLU won this case

  • http://facebook.com/TruthBeKnownRevolution TBK Revolution

    This is a great ruling! Honestly it’s sad that there was any question about the legality of communicating with lights.

  • Socialism is Evil. Organized.

    The collectivist notion that a few quacks and academics are somehow magically ready to plan and direct our future progress is complete nonsense

  • Dopple Gang

    Although it may seem appealing, altruistic cooperation is only practical in small groups whose members can agree upon common ways and means.

  • obadiahlynch

    ‘We don’t stop people.. There have only been five of these tickets’ well, chief, then it seems you stopped at least five people, yeah?