Sunday, August 29, 2021

Tire chalking: not a valid administrative search

In Taylor v. City of Saginaw 922 F.3d 328 (6th Cir. 2019) (Taylor I), the Sixth Circuit held that chalking tires to enforce parking laws is a search for Fourth Amendment purposes. This holding was a "logical extension of the [Supreme] Court's holding in Jones that a physical trespass to a constitutionally protected area with the intent to obtain information is a search under the Fourth Amendment." Taylor v. City of Saginaw, ___ F.4th ___, 2021 WL 3745345 (6th Cir. 2021) (Taylor II).

Taylor I also held that chalking without a warrant could not be justified by either the automobile exception or the community-caretaking exception.

Last week, in Taylor II, the Sixth Circuit found no reason to depart from Taylor I, and held further that suspicionless chalking cannot be justified as an administrative search.

But alas, in the end, the plaintiff in this 1983 lawsuit loses her case on qualified immunity grounds because, at the time of the chalking she challenged, "every reasonable parking officer would not understand from Jones that suspicionless chalking of car tires violates the Fourth Amendment."

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