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Correcting the Police Forbidden:

CNN reports:

Clay Palmer, a student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, honked his car horn when he saw a policeman turn on blue flashers to pass through a red traffic light. The officer then turned the flashers off after moving through the intersection.

Palmer said officer Matthew Puglise then stopped his patrol car and issued him a ticket for honking his horn for no reason -- a violation of the city noise ordinance.

The charge was reduced to a warning Wednesday when he went before a judge who told him he acted wrongly.

"The horn blowing is not the real problem here, it's that you were trying to correct the police and they didn't need correcting," Judge Russell Bean said....

Seems to me the judge has it exactly backwards. Blowing one's horn without good reason is surely punishable -- it's s prohibited not because of the viewpoint it communicates, but because it creates unnecessary noise. And even if the police were wrong to use their flashers this way (far from clear, but irrelevant here), using one's horn to express frustration or disagreement, with the police or anyone else, is indeed unnecessary noise; the purpose of the horn is to prevent accidents, not admonish people.

But trying to correct the police ought not be punished, whether or not the judge thinks the police need correcting. If, for instance, the government does make a practice of punishing horn blowing when it is meant to express disagreement with ("correct") the police, but not when it's meant to express disagreement with other drivers, that would be an abuse of government power, and likely unconstitutional. By saying that the problem isn't the noncommunicative harm (needless noise) but the disrespectful communication (trying to correct the police), the judge is making a pretty serious mistake.

Thanks to reader David Alan Rassin for the pointer.

Chico's Bail Bonds (mail):
I just found out that lower court judges in my new home state (Arizona) need not have a law degree. I wonder if something like that is going on in this story.
2.25.2006 1:49pm
Daniel B (mail):
I've actually done something this, but I didn't get ticketed.

I stepped into a crosswalk as a traffic-enforcement three-wheeled buggy approached, coming slowly uphill at about 20 miles per hour. The trafic enforcement officer should have yielded to the pedestrian (me). Instead, he accelerated and blew by me mere inches away.

I yelled at him. "Hey, crosswalk here!" My biggest voice, and it's big.

He pulled sharply to a stop, jumped out, came running back, and accosted me. Demanded my ID, and began lecturing me about how it's inappropriate to yell at police because it interferes with their ability to protect the community. Right up in my face, hand on his gun, very aggressive and very confrontational.

I was professionally dressed and on my way to court — I'm a lawyer — and I wasn't having any. I gave him my business card and got right back in his face, lecturing him on the fact that in an non-emergency situation he had as much obligation to yield to pedestrians as any other driver.

His response was to assert, still very aggressively, that there's no duty to yield to pedestrians if you're travelling so fast as to making stopping unsafe. I am not making this up. Naturally I suggested, civilly but loudly and not in any friendly fashion, that perhaps traffic enforcement officers ought not to be speeding through the streets at speeds so high that they can't safely brake for pedestrians? He was very angry by this point, and began to bluster again about how inappropriate it was for someone to yell at the police and complicate their difficult job etc. I responded that I considered it every bit as inappropriate for him to accost a citizen and attempt to browbeat them over a legitimate complaint about their driving. About the time I made it clear that I would welcome the opportunity to include the chief of police into the conversation, he decided he'd made his point, and with a final "You simply cannot ever yell at the police" he mustered his tattered dignity and huffed away.

If it weren't clear by now, I despise that breed of police who feel that the laws they are enforcing don't apply to them.
2.25.2006 2:20pm
dunno:
I might miss something here, but to "correct" someone is not precisely the same as "to express disageement with" them. To correct is "to make right; change from wrong to right; remove errors from" (Webster's New World College Dictionary, 1996, def. 1).

If a murder was committed, and the police attempt an arrest with probable cause, a passerby cannot walk up and try to prevent the arrest because he knows without doubt that another committed the crime. He would be "mak[ing] right; chang[ing] from wrong to right; remov[ing] errors from" he would be "correct[ing]" them; he would be obstructing justice; he would be jailed.

If a police officer said it was Saturday, and a passerby said it was Sunday, the passerby would be "express[ing] disagreement with" the officer. Regardless of who is right, if the situation does not escalate, the passerby is in no way liable.

The definition "to express disagreement with" is much broader than that which is actually attatched to the verb "correct." While Prof. Volokh is correct that under the overbroad definition he invented, the driver should not be found guilty, the true definition is is much more likely to land the police's active policers in court.
2.25.2006 2:37pm
Dustin (mail):
The horn wasn't blown to correct the officer, it was blown to communicate a hazardous rampaging car proceeding through an intercection (on an emergency so urgent it could be called off only in extreme emergencies such as a need to ticket a horn blower).

Of course, it's moot with no fine or jailtime, but I'm still very irritated by this.
2.25.2006 2:38pm
tefta (mail):
If this got in the papers, I predict police won't pull anything this stupid again.
2.25.2006 2:46pm
Uncle Fester (mail):
Interestingly, the cop probably committed a much larger infraction, and testified to it in court. You have to have both flashing lights and sirens on to move through an intersection aganst the lights.

Here's the applicable Tennessee Code:

55-8-108. Authorized emergency vehicles.

(c) (1) The exemptions granted under subsection (b) to a driver of an authorized emergency vehicle shall only apply when such vehicle is making use of audible and visual signals meeting the requirements of the applicable laws of this state, except that while parked or standing, an authorized emergency vehicle shall only be required to make use of visual signals meeting the requirements of the applicable laws of this state.
2.25.2006 2:47pm
Bob Bobstein (mail):
I'm with dunno. If by saying "the police didn't need correcting" the judge meant "your blowing the horn was done without reason," then I don't think there's a problem here. And I think that is a fair reading of the judge's statement, though more context might prove me wrong.

I see Dustin's point, but it's not clear that the guy was blowing the horn to alert passerby rather than to express frustration.
2.25.2006 3:06pm
Sara (mail) (www):
What a colossal waste of time and resources for everyone involved - citizen, police and courts.
2.25.2006 3:21pm
WB:
I'm assuming that "David B" and "Clay" aren't black, because apparently neither was beaten or arrested.
2.25.2006 3:28pm
Ross Levatter (mail):
Dear Tefta,

"If this got in the papers, I predict police won't pull anything this stupid again"

Absolutely correct. Every since the big police corruption scandels in LA were blown sky high by press exposure in the 1930s, we've never had that problem again...

Dear Bob B,

"I see Dustin's point, but it's not clear that the guy was blowing the horn to alert passerby rather than to express frustration."

I think Dustin's brilliant response was not meant as explanation, but as legal justification. Don't you guys have a term "legal fiction"?
2.25.2006 4:06pm
Marcus1 (mail) (www):
So many people honk their horns driving by my apartment at rush hour all the way through the late evening, I'd like to see horns removed from cars. But I suppose we can't do that.
2.25.2006 4:09pm
nk (mail) (www):
I believe Clay Palmer violated Survival Rule Number 18: Don't @#$% with (honk your horn at) a guy who carries a gun. He's a college student, right? He needs to learn to reserve his indignation for his Political Awareness class.
2.25.2006 4:23pm
Dustin (mail):


"I see Dustin's point, but it's not clear that the guy was blowing the horn to alert passerby rather than to express frustration."



Now what ruling are judges supposed to make when it's not clear the defendant is guilty? Even if it is clear that the horn was a form of protest (political speech), it's only disturbing the peace if there is peace about the horn.

The situation, with a car flying through an intersection with at least lights flashing, was hardly peaceful.

Further, I have a hard time believing that the police officer didn't commit perjury. If he were really in the middle of a time sensitive investigation, he would not have been able to stop to ticket someone protesting his conduct. Speeders kill people, he would have gone after the speeder.

That the judge is willing to tolerate yet another 'testilying' traffic cop says enough. At the very least, the evenings radio transcript and recording need to be made public. I want to know more about this speeder and the rest of this investigation, important enough to bust through intesections, but not important enough to tolerate dissenting horns. Hopefully I'm way off base, but the cop's explanation for risking everyone's life just doesn't add up at all.
2.25.2006 4:30pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
I just found out that lower court judges in my new home state (Arizona) need not have a law degree. I wonder if something like that is going on in this story.

To be precise, a Justice of the Peace doesn't need a law degree (a Superior Court judge does). I can remember when the owner of Rallis' Pub and Grill got elected JP in Tucson. Since it was a popular lawyers' hangout, he probably had absorbed as much law as many another JP.

My experience with municipal judges (generally appointed) both here and in the east has not been good. As often as not, they're just a lawyer with some political influence (but not enough to get any higher job).
2.25.2006 5:03pm
BDK (mail):

I believe Clay Palmer violated Survival Rule Number 18: Don't @#$% with (honk your horn at) a guy who carries a gun. He's a college student, right? He needs to learn to reserve his indignation for his Political Awareness class.



Mr. Palmer survived just fine, and the inappropriate actions of a public servant were made public. He did a good service. In fact, if more people exercised their right to criticize civil servants, maybe we wouldn't hear stories like this one and Daniel B's. I'm a fan of more indignation outside of class. Police officers should be reminded that they work for us.
2.25.2006 5:18pm
Scared of cops:
Dont miss the closely related story on Boingboing, http://cbs4.com/topstories/local_story_033170755.html

It becomes increasingly documented that the police are often out of control and drunk with their own authority.
2.25.2006 5:34pm
Fishbane (mail):
It becomes increasingly documented that the police are often out of control and drunk with their own authority.

And here in Brooklyn, just plain drunk. (Not kidding, I live near a popular cop bar, and see them transporting beverage to vehicle in uniform maybe once a week or so.)
2.25.2006 5:43pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
With the high risk and low pay why would anyone want to be a cop except for the fringe benefits of flouting the traffic laws and free doughnuts at the 7-11.
2.25.2006 5:52pm
Bruce:
The fact situation here reminds me of the "Andy Griffith" episode where Barney Fife tickets Gomer Pyle for some trivial infraction, and Gomer goes around yelling "Citizen's arrest! Citizen's arrest!" every time Barney made an illegal U-turn or something.

In a bizarre coincidence, I just heard Don Knotts died.
2.25.2006 6:48pm
jb (mail):
come on, how many times have you seen a police car or meter amid parked in a hospital zone or a red zone or in front of a fire hydrant. i made the mistake of calling one of them on it and they gave me some smarmy answer and went along their way.

i think sixty minutes or dateline did a piece about 10 years ago where they followed police cars who were racing down the freeway at well over the speed limit not attempting to pull over speeders. if i remember correctly they found that a high perrcentage of them were racing home for dinner or some other abuse of the flashing lights.

to paraphrase lord acton: powers corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

who is going to give a speeding police officer a ticket? admonish them for speeding? for pushing through an intersection with their lights flashing?
2.25.2006 6:50pm
nk (mail) (www):
True story: 911 call: "He cut me off, then I cut him off, then he shot me and I'm bleeding all over my blouse... ." Just get in your car to get where you're going and don't try to enforce the traffic laws. As for the Barney Fife/Gomer Pyle episode, I do not believe that "citizen's arrest" applies to petty offenses such as traffic violations. It must be a "crime".
2.25.2006 7:54pm
great unknown (mail):
How about a little research to uncover the names of the Judge and policeman?
2.25.2006 8:57pm
Bruce:
Just came across this news story, concerning what happens if you ask for a complaint form in South Florida police stations.
2.25.2006 10:16pm
Fire Marshal Bill (mail):
I think the fact that those friends of mine who have either a Fraternal Order of Police (from their parents) card or sticker have received numerous warnings but never a ticket is consistent with this thread.

I really do believe that, at least among a significant (understandably relative) number of police officers, the idea is less about being a public servant and more about being a Boy in Blue... and that's not you.
2.25.2006 10:20pm
therut:
I remember the one time I dove in NYC had to go the the UN for a graduation ceremony. Being from Arkansas it was a new experience. But if the police arrested everyone in NYC who violated a noise law by honking their horns that would have been everyone but me driving that day. I noticed it was just a cultural thing that everyone honked their horn at every stop light prior to the light turnig from red to green. This was also back when the groups of people where throwing dirty water on your windshield and washing it then demanding money for their unsolicited work. I was a very uneasy day to say the least. I will not step foot much less car into NYC again. I did leave my firearm at home that day to not break the law. Never again will I be put in that situation.
2.26.2006 12:05am
abb3w:
Back when I worked at a restaurant, one of the staff came in fuming about having gotten a jaywalking ticket from city officer "Fred"; she had crossed on "don't walk"... but there wasn't a car in sight at the time, nor did one pass the entire time the officer was writing the ticket. She was claiming it was because he was a "racist pig". The security guard laughed at her plight, and said that "Fred" had a reputation for ticketing ANYBODY who breaks the law.

"Fred" has pulled over ticketed other cop cars for making a right on red without coming to a full stop nor using a proper turn signal. He's ticketed the local traffic court judge for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. He's even once found that the car he pulled over for speeding was the off-duty chief of police, his boss... and wrote the ticket. The guard didn't mention if "Fred" had ticketed anyone for misusing their flashers, but it wouldn't suprise me. He also never writes warning tickets.

According to the security guard, "Fred"'s utter integrity and absolute universal enforcement of the law made him the most professionally respected cop in town... and the most personally loathed by his coworkers.

There are a few cops out there who believe in universal equality before the law. Unfortunately, there are a lot more who believe in the Blue Wall.
2.26.2006 10:26am
Fatherofyoungones (mail):
The account in this report is not indicative of anything. A judge had to handle an immature driver and an immature police officer. The judge probably had to listen to the officer's well rehearsed explanation of why he cleared the intersection, then was immediately called off the run, then the driver of the vehicle blasted the horn at him while in the performance of his duties. Technically, probably did disturb the peace. The driver, quite probably, complained of how the cop was creating a hazard and the motorist was just registering his disgust with the officer's actions to prevent something like this from ever happening again.

The judge did not have time to check the officer's story and the driver most likely unknowingly admitted to all the elements of the crime. In the interest of getting this insanity out of his courtroom, he ruled as was reported.

Cop was small-minded. Driver was immature. Judge had better things to do. Slow news day in Chattanooga.
2.26.2006 10:41am
jon burrows (mail):
Supreme Court Justice do not have to be lawyers either. Maybe a few more citizen judges would be a refreshing breeze in the legal system. To argue that the law is too complicated for the average citizen condemns the law or the public education system. Tough choice.
2.26.2006 2:28pm
gs (mail):
Frank Drackmann wrote:
With the high risk and low pay why would anyone want to be a cop except for the fringe benefits of flouting the traffic laws and free doughnuts at the 7-11.
The high risk is undeniable, but I'm not entirely sure about low pay. Years ago William Buckley wrote a column (I con't have a link) which concluded that, counting overtime, Connecticut state troopers earned an upper-middle-class income.

While I personally haven't had negative encounters with the police, it's my impression that some of them are out of control. I wondered if I'd spent too much time at www.theagitator.com, and thought to find some reassuring legal erudition in these comments; instead the remarks have confirmed my concerns.

Afaic, unless it can be proved that the officer ran the light in the course of duty (if so, why did he stop to ticket the honker?), the officer deserves disciplinary action for issuing the ticket (as a practical matter, I wink at his running the light), the judge deserves a reprimand, and the citizen deserves compensation for his inconvenience. Unfortunately, it sounds like the officer and the judge have gotten trifling disincentives to repeat their behavior.
2.26.2006 3:44pm
Defending the Indefensible:
This was an interesting story on a group in Florida that wanted to find out how many police departments have complaint forms. Some amazingly abusive responses from some of the officers they encountered.
2.27.2006 1:51am
therut:
DtI-----------Yes very abuse language over a complaint form. I remember back in the 1970's when I was teenager and muscle cars were the thing a harrowing experience occurred. My boyfriend was driving his brothers Road Runner that had a large motor 400 something I think. There was a straight streatch on the interstate were all the kids would put the metal to the pedal as we said back then. Well we passed an off duty policeman and his wife like they were sitting still. The guy put a blue light on his dash board. We stopped. My boyfried got out and the cop who we did not know was a cop for sure drew his revolver and jacked my boyfriend up aganist the car with the gun gouged in his abdomen. Cussing all the while. He finally settled down. We followed him to the county police station and boyfriends father came to pick us up. Ticket was paid. Very scary. Very dumb teenagers we were. We learned our lesson but the cop overreacted and I am just glad he kept his finger off the trigger and did not have a Glock as many do now.
2.27.2006 2:19am
Houston Lawyer:
The last time the Rockets won the NBA Championship the obligatory parade was held downtown. My then wife came to the parade and she and I left the parking garage in her car. The streets were in complete gridlock. After making a city block in about half an hour, I got out of the car to walk through the gridlock to my car in another parking garage. I came across a group of about ten policemen at a corner just lounging together. I was quite pissed at this time and I confronted the group and yelled at them for sitting on their asses in the middle of the chaos. Much to my amusement, they disbursed like a group of embarrassed schoolboys. I think it definitely helped that I was wearing a suit.
2.27.2006 11:57am
dweeb:
"the purpose of the horn is to prevent accidents, not admonish people."

Here I thought it was to prod people to pick up the pace.

Anyway, although I lack the tools to find the record of it, in the late 80's or early 90's, there was a news item about a man arrested for DUI in Bowling Green, OH, who was only pulled over for flipping the police "the bird" to express his disapproval of them. His conviction was overturned because making a profane gesture to the police was ruled not to be probable cause for pulling him over.
Seems that constituted a stronger negative message than sounding one's horn.
2.27.2006 5:09pm
Dave:
Interesting question:

how many of the people that are criticizing this abuse of police power and present examples of cops clearly overstepping their jurisdiction because they can get away with it defend, say, the portions of the Detainee Treatment Act added by Lindsay Graham that makes certain U.S. military detentions unreviewable? Or Bush's unreviewable power to spy on Americans? Or the Justice Department's attempts to quash complaints from Guantanamo prisoners?

Would any person that distrusts local police but trusts the military care to defend the idea that local cops can't be entirely trusted with the power to pull people over but Federal cops can be entrusted with the power to detain people without charge, without access to a lawyer, based on evidence secured via intimidation and abuse?

I think that these are fundamental questions about the rule of law, and I've been consistently surprised by how many self-described "conservatives" have sacrificed their principles because the victims of state abuse happen to be Muslim accused (often without substantial evidence) of terrorism rather than white Christians and accused of dealing drugs.

Dave
2.27.2006 11:51pm
TDPerkins (mail):
Dave wrote, and deserves to be fisked for it:


"the portions of the Detainee Treatment Act added by Lindsay Graham that makes certain U.S. military detentions unreviewable"



Since that bi-partisanly proposed and passed amendment was made pursuant to the powers granted to the Congress in the constitution, I guess you have a problem with the results of lawful democracy--and you think that prisoners taken on the field should have access to the civil courts so they can litigate their confinement. It is foolish thing to want, and it has never been our practice in history. Why do you want to strip the administration of a perfectly common historical power when there is little credible evidence it is being abused.


"Or Bush's unreviewable power to spy on Americans?"



Bush neither has nor has sought such a power. What do you imagine makes you think he has?


"Or the Justice Department's attempts to quash complaints from Guantanamo prisoners?"



When have combatants, prisoner's taken in war had access to the civil courts? When? Why then shouldn't such attempts be quashed?


"Would any person that distrusts local police but trusts the military care to defend the idea that local cops can't be entirely trusted with the power to pull people over but Federal cops can be entrusted with the power to detain people without charge, without access to a lawyer, based on evidence secured via intimidation and abuse?"



I trust local cops to do some things well. I practically count on them disobeying the traffic speed limits the same as anyone else, as long as you don't pass them you're okay. If they break the law in a manner they do arrest or fine other citizens for breaking, why shouldn't I object? And people arrested in the US for offenses, and even US citizens taken armed from a foreign field opposing our armed forced via Rumsfield vs. Hamdi, do in fact have acces to our civil courts. And in the case of Hamdi at least, I think it's a ridiculous result. So what's your problem?


"I think that these are fundamental question"s about the rule of law, and I've been consistently surprised by how many self-described "conservatives" have sacrificed their principles because the victims of state abuse happen to be Muslim accused (often without substantial evidence) of terrorism rather than white Christians and accused of dealing drugs."


You seem to be confused about what powers the military and its CINC has always had in wartime, which powers they presumably retain until they are extinguished in a manner consistent with the constitution. You seem to be confusing how you wish things were but how they have never been with principles to which conservatives somehow aren't being true.

Unless I'm missing something.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
2.28.2006 12:57pm
TDPerkins (mail):
Dave also wrote:

"happen to be Muslim accused (often without substantial evidence) of terrorism rather than white Christians and accused of dealing drugs"

I do not have any reason to think the evidence is not substantial, although I know many of the prisoners assert is it non-existent. I don't care what faith or ethnicity any person is who is accused of federal drugs crimes, since I don't think the Feds constitutionally have the authority to criminalize recreational drug use (states generally do, at least in public places).

In fact, I don't know of hardly any Conservatives who meet the description Dave implies. Maybe he doesn't know anyone outside the DU coccoon?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
2.28.2006 1:12pm
Dave:
Counterfisking:

TDP says that because I think that a particular law is a bad idea, I must "have a problem with the results of lawful democracy." I don't think living in a democracy means that you have to support everything our elected officials do, and I doubt TDP believes that either.

TDP says that I "think that prisoners taken on the field should have access to the civil courts so they can litigate their confinement... Why do you want to strip the administration of a perfectly common historical power when there is little credible evidence it is being abused."

Given that, according to the Administration "the field" now includes the whole world, including the United States, that there is plenty of evidence of abuse, and that there is plenty of historical precedent and military support for the kind of oversight I'm suggesting, I think that reviewing the executive is a good idea.

Your talk of enemy soldiers picked up in the field of combat is plain irrelevant. These are not people that the U.S. military has captured while they were engaged in combat. Many people in Guantanamo were unarmed Afghan refugees with no ties to terrorism that had the bad luck to be picked up by Pakistani bounty hunters and handed over to U.S. forces there. In such cases, the only evidence against the detainees was provided by bounty hunters that were being paid to produce evidence by any means necessary.

Furthermore, after three years in Gitmo, the prisoners are no longer "in the field." Even the detainees that have been determined by their military tribunals to be innocent are not released. Some others were released without charge, but only after two years of detention. If they were terrorists, why were they released? If they weren't terrorists, why were they kept in custody for two years? Shouldn't there be some kind of review of this?

In Iraq, Coalition military intelligence says between 70 and 90 percent of people we've arrested in Iraq were arrested "by mistake." If that were happening at home, there would be a huge public outrage, as evidenced by this thread. Why don't you care that the same thing is happening in a country we're occupying?

Of this nation's "civilian Secretaries of the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy" and "highest-ranking officers of each service, and some half-dozen military lawyers," all but two want to use Common Article III of the Geneva Conventions for "enemy combatants" because otherwise there is literally no check on anything our soldiers do, and no guidelines or clear command structure. Article III has been U.S. policy for five decades, and it includes timely review, something you think is a historical novelty and oppose. Regardless, U.S. law is clear on the subject.

Bush neither has nor has sought such a power [to spy on Americans without review]. What do you imagine makes you think he has?


Well, you're half-right. Bush did not ever seek such a power legally through Congress. He just took it. And you're right that the NSA program is technically reviewed--by the administration itself. As Senator Durbin pointed out when talking to our Attorney General,
Which gets to my point. This so-called safeguard -- and it has been referred to as a check and balance -- is literally the administration talking to itself. People within the administration meet within their offices and decide about the civil liberties and freedoms of those who are going to be subjected to this surveillance.

That is a significant departure from the ordinary checks and balances of our government, is it not, that all of this is being decided within the same executive branch?


Given that the evidentiary standard is clearly not the reaon for Bush's NSA program, it seems clear that unreviewable executive power of the kind John Yoo advocates is the issue here.

When have combatants, prisoner's taken in war had access to the civil courts? When? Why then shouldn't such attempts be quashed?


For all of the above reasons, and also because the kind of tribunals Bush has authorized and is fighting for in Hamdan are substantially different from anything that's ever been used before in terms of the credibility of testimony from the prosecution and the rights granted to the defendant. If you're interested in finding out just what these tribunals allow, I recommend reading professor Luban's analysis of what Hamdan will allow. Alternatively, you could continue to defend what Bush is doing without educating yourself about it. Whichever you prefer.

You seem to be confused about what powers the military and its CINC has always had in wartime, which powers they presumably retain until they are extinguished in a manner consistent with the constitution.


They have been. By FISA. By the UCMJ. By Article III of the Geneva Conventions. By the Army Field Handbook. By McCain's parts of the Detainee Treatment Act. That doesn't stop this administration.

In fact, I don't know of hardly any Conservatives who meet the description Dave implies. Maybe he doesn't know anyone outside the DU coccoon?


I confess I don't know what DU stands for, and apparently, neither does Wikipedia (unless you are referring to "Ducks Unlimited, Depleted Uranium, or one of several frats or colleges I don't attend). If you don't think Conservatives are (or were) concerned about unreviewable executive powers, you don't have to go far to find counter-evidence:

*The conservative news forum FreeRepublic freaked out about Clinton's use of FISA
*John Yoo of all people freaks out about Clinton's executive power
*National Review, like you, opposes (elements of) the Federal drug war for a variety of reasons, many of them including exactly the kinds of executive abuse we're talking about here.
*David Limbaugh freaking out about Clinton's abuses, most of which pale in comparison to what Bush has done
*Concern about the rule of law, executive accountability, and so on, was actually an important reason many conservatives (such as Bill Kristol and David Brooks) supported Bush in the first place.

Believe me, there are plenty more examples. This is a major abandonment of Conservative principles.

Your move.

Dave
2.28.2006 10:16pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Again Eugene, you illuminate a finer point of law, which several seem to miss. Running Code 3 (with lights and siren) is an inherently dangerous practice. And cadets in most police academies are admonished against using it frivolously. (Indeed, the only traffic accident I've ever had was the result of a cop car suddenly lighting up in the opposing lanes when I was pulling away from a traffic light.)

Use of the Emergency Vehicle Exemption is covered well here (PDF). Use of a standard horn is also covered in CVC 27001:

(a) The driver of a motor vehicle when reasonably necessary
to insure safe operation shall give audible warning with his horn.

(b) The horn shall not otherwise be used, except as a theft alarm system which operates as specified in Article 13 (commencing with Section 28085) of this chapter.

It would seem, however, that when a car horn is used as a form of political speech, the First Amendment would take precedent.
3.1.2006 3:08pm