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Federal appeals court rules chalking tires for parking limits unconstitutional

The Federal Appeals Court in Cincinnati ruled the long-time strategy of chalking tires is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Posted: Apr 23, 2019 6:09 PM
Updated: Apr 24, 2019 7:32 AM

A common practice by Huntsville parking attendants could soon be a thing of the past. A federal appeals court ruled marking tires with chalk is unconstitutional. 

The Federal Appeals Court in Cincinnati ruled the long-time strategy of chalking tires is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. The court ruled in favor of a Michigan woman, saying marking tires amounts to "unreasonable search and seizure." They based it on a 2012 decision by the Supreme Court. 

Haylee Willis, who lives in Decatur, doesn't see why it's a big deal. 

"I don't think it's a big deal to chalk somebody's tires, if it makes the meter maid's job a little bit easier," Willis said. 

Parking attendants mark tires frequently outside of the Madison County Courthouse. It's used where parking spaces have time limits, but no meters. 

Both Willis and David Farkas, who is visiting Huntsville, see technology as the future. 

"Most cities are now going to these apps where you put in your license plate, and it kind of keeps track of how long you've parked," Farkas said. 

Huntsville has a parking app that lets you feed the meter from your phone. The city tells WAAY 31 they are planning to switch to a process where they scan license plates instead of chalking tires in the future.

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