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Port: With the courts making parking enforcement more complicated North Dakota needs to legalize meters

A plaque dedicating the parking meter to Howard Henry that was donated from the city of Minot. The parking meter represents Henry's fight to get the meters banned from North Dakota. (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)

A Michigan woman by the name of Alison Taylor, fed up with getting parking tickets, decided to make a federal case out of it.

She objected to the chalking of her tires by law enforcement. This is a common practice for parking law enforcers. They put a chalk mark on your tire in order to measure when you last moved your car. Taylor argued this was an unconstitutional search, and the 6th Circuit just agreed with her. In Taylor v. City of Saginaw the court held that an agent of the government making contact with private property constituted common law trespass. From there they conclude that, because the contact was part of an effort to obtain information, this constituted a search of the sort that requires a warrant.

Orin Kerr has a for more in-depth analysis of the ruling, and what it means for parking enforcement across the country (it’s controlling in the 6th Circuit, and other jurisdictions may side with it as well), but to bring this issue home to North Dakota, this means it’s time for our state to embrace parking meters.

This ruling, if it stands, doesn’t make unmetered parking enforcement impossible. Per the courts, where the cops crossed the line was in making physical contact with the vehicle. If law enforcement merely took pictures of the cars – very easy to do in this age of cheap digital photography – they could presumably get around the issue.

Click here to continue reading Rob Port's Say Anything blog.