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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Kentucky Supreme Court Strikes Down City Sticker Roadblock

The city of Liberty, KY passes a law requiring that everybody who lives or works in the city must buy a $10 sticker (it's a tax). Many folks ignored the sticker 'tax' so the police set up roadblocks and also searched vehicles. A teacher's vehicle had a small amount of marijuana. The teacher argued that the search was unconstitutional in a motion to suppress the evidence. The Casey County Circuit Court agreed that the search was unconstitutional but a Court of Appeals reversed the decision. The Kentucky Supreme court unanimously ruled that the search was unconstitutional.
Liberty may not set up roadblocks for the purpose of issuing tickets for failure to display a city sticker on an automobile, the Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously ruled last Wednesday. The city had required all 1850 residents and anyone working within the city limits to purchase a sticker for $10 and display it on their automobile. When teachers at a local school failed to pay for a sticker, town leaders had police set up a roadblock to issue them citations. Cars with a sticker were allowed to pass through the checkpoint, while drivers of stickerless vehicles were interrogated about where they lived and where they worked. Joseph A. Singleton was stopped at this checkpoint and when police searched his car they found a small amount of marijuana. Singleton moved to suppress the evidence on the grounds that police had seized him without probable cause or articulable suspicion, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Casey County Circuit Court agreed the sticker roadblock was unconstitutional, but the state Court of Appeals saw no problem with it. In the final word on the case, the high court's seven justices agreed that Liberty lacked a substantial reason to detain motorists....The justices went on to blast Liberty for selecting the most intrusive means possible to achieve its stated goal.
Read the rest here 

Judy Morris,
Blogger, THL
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