ABA Journal


Opening Statements

Lawsuit claims that flashing headlights are protected speech

Jul 1, 2013, 09:10 am CDT


I find the argument “If communicating the presence of a speed trap with headlamps is the obstruction of justice, then so too is communicating the same message by CB or at the corner gas station.” compelling.

I talk to my friends about when and where the most likely speed traps are, and I’ll text them once I’m at work if I passed one and I know they are headed that way.  Surely that is protected speech, so so would headlight flashing in that context.

What is the counter-argument?

By Besomyka on 2013 07 05, 3:28 pm CDT

If that is how the judge reacted when the defendant refused to plead guilty, then I believe disciplinary hearings are in order.

By Island Attorney on 2013 07 06, 11:34 pm CDT

I got stopped for the same thing 2 years ago—-I was ticketed for “improper use of equipment” and “obstruction of justice”—- I challenged it in court and the judge dismissed both charges, with a lecture to the police officer who wrote the ticket.

By System6 on 2013 07 07, 12:09 am CDT

Michael Elli of Elli’s ville, MO?  Sheesh, when the guy has the whole town named after him, you’d think the cops might cut him a break!

Seriously, though, our country badly needs a whole lot more Mr. Ellis right now—people who will push back against police state overreach.  Clearly this is a form of free speech; sounds like Florida has the right idea.  Kudos Mr. Elli!

By Just Some Bloke on 2013 07 09, 7:10 pm CDT

P.S.  I’m also glad to know that flashing your headlights to warn oncoming motorists they are approaching a speed trap is still a thing.  I always, always warn as many oncoming motorists as possible—good karma and all that—but have noticed in recent years that this practice seems to be dwindling.  Let’s spread the word and fully revive the practice!

By Just Some Bloke on 2013 07 09, 7:14 pm CDT

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