The Fourth Amendment and Tire Chalking
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and…parking? Parking tickets are a common legal violation that many Americans have to contend with more than they’d wish. Thanks to a recent decision, it may soon become more difficult for the police to prosecute parking violations. A federal appeals court recently ruled that using chalk to mark the tires of a car in order to track how long it has been parked in one spot is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment. Objectives:
- Students will examine previous Supreme Court cases on the Fourth Amendment and searches and seizures
- Students will assess the arguments on each side of the tire chalking debate and form their own opinions on the issue
- Handout A: Court Says Using Chalk on Tires for Parking Enforcement Violates Constitution
- Handout B: How Have the Protections of the Fourth Amendment Been Interpreted, Applied, and Enforced?
- Handout C: Attitude Inventory
Warm-up Activity (20 minutes) Directions: Have students read Handout A and answer the following questions.
- Why do cities chalk the tires of parked cars?
- What constitutional principles did the court rule tire chalking violates?
Activity (30 minutes) Directions: Have students read Handout B and answer the comprehension and critical thinking questions below. Then, have students fill out Handout C. Lead a classroom discussion in which students defend why they chose the answers that they did.
- What is the purpose of the Fourth Amendment?
- In your own words, explain the Exclusionary Rule.
- Do you think chalking tires is unreasonable based on the reasonableness standard for the purposes of the Fourth Amendment? Do you think chalking a tire constitutes as a “search” for the purposes of the Fourth Amendment?