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Speed Trap Warnings, A-OK In Florida

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On: Fri, May 25, 2012 at 9:55AM | By: Chris Salamone

Speed Trap Warnings, A-OK In Florida

For those of us plugged into the internet meme craze, the above picture features the square-jawed splendor of Good Guy Greg – a meme backdrop which went viral late last spring. But instead of doing your chores or spreading random acts of kindness, this picture shows Good Guy Greg offering a warning to would-be moving traffic violators.

As it would turn out, though, highway patrolmen and blue jackets all over have been issuing citations for speed trap warnings. Last August, a Seminole County, Florida deputy did just that, ticketing Ryan Kinter (25) for flashing his headlights to warn neighbors of a nearby speed trap.

Except Circuit Judge Alan Dickey ruled on Tuesday that (1) a law banning motorists from flashing after-market emergency lights does not apply to headlight-speed trap communication AND (2) headlight communication is a form of First Amendment Speech, protected by the First Amendment.

So polish off the high beams, head light warnings are a-ok in Florida.

And, most interestingly, it looks like the details of this case make overt, pre-meditated obstructions of traffic law constructs of First Amendment Free Speech. Kintner wasn’t your average passer-by with flashing lights. Per the facts of the case, he witnessed a deputy park along his neighborhood street and pull out a radar gun. Then, Kintner drove his own car a few blocks down, parked and started flashing lights at incoming motorists.

That’s what we call a Good Samaritan.

But the deputy didn’t see it that way. Kintner was ticked shortly thereafter.

Speaking to the Orlando Sentinel, Attorney J. Marcus Jones stated: “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.”

Jones has a separate, but similar class action suit against the Florida Highway Patrol which is scheduled to be heard next month.

Back in August, right after filing lawsuit, Kintner proclaimed, “I felt an injustice was being done. …I have nothing against officers…keeping speeding down, but when you cross a line and get into free speech, I feel it’s gone too far.”

Most of us will agree that the abstract idea of ‘speech’ can take on many forms. Who knows if Kintner was trying to communicate with other drivers or merely vent his frustration at a speed trap located in his neighborhood. Either way, protected speech seems like a good idea in this instance because the harm being prevented by traffic citation (speeding) is also reduced by Kintner’s headlight communication.

What say you?



dwalter | 10:15AM (Fri, May 25, 2012)

GGG drives a BMW? ... Owns a BMW, doesn't drive like a jerk


AutoHistory | 9:41AM (Thu, Jun 7, 2012)


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