Taylor v. Saginaw, No. 17-2126 (6th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Saginaw uses a common parking enforcement practice known as “chalking.” City parking enforcement officers use chalk to mark the tires of parked vehicles to track how long they have been parked. Parking enforcement officers return to the car after the posted time for parking has passed, and if the chalk marks are still there—a sign that the vehicle has not moved—the officer issues a citation. Taylor, a frequent recipient of parking tickets, sued the city and its parking enforcement officer, Hoskins, alleging that chalking violated her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search. The district court dismissed , finding that, while chalking may have constituted a search under the Fourth Amendment, the search was reasonable. The Sixth Circuit reversed, characterizing the practice as a regulatory exercise. The chalking involves a physical intrusion and is intended to gather information. While automobiles have a reduced expectation of privacy, the court concluded that the need to deter drivers from exceeding the time permitted for parking—before they have even done so—is not sufficient to justify a warrantless search under the community caretaker rationale.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on April 25, 2019.