Last year, many of us denounced the police checkpoints in the Trinidad area of Northeast Washington as grossly unconstitutional despite the insistence of D.C. Attorney General Peter J. Nickles that he had ample law on his side. Now, a conservative panel of the D.C. Circuit has ruled as expected that the checkpoints presumptively violate the fourth amendment and granted a preliminary injunction.
The neighborhood safety zone (NSZ) program was an outrage against basic civil liberties and neither Nickles nor Chief Cathy Lanier showed the slightest concern about the use of such authoritarian methods.
The four plaintiffs were represented by Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice (my colleague in the consolidated case involving the World Bank protest litigation). The PCD did a terrific job in the case. The court described the litigants:
Appellants Caneisha Mills, Linda Leaks, and Sarah Sloan were among the 48 motorists denied entry at an NSZ checkpoint during the first implementation of the NSZ checkpoints between June 7 and June 12, 2008.1 Each appellant was denied entry in her vehicle on account of her refusal to provide certain information. Mills refused to provide personal information regarding her identity and intended activities in the NSZ, Leaks refused to provide details about her political activity and intended community organizing, and Sloan refused to provide information about a political meeting she wished to attend.
Of course, the costs of this litigation will be born by the taxpayers due to the failure of Nickles to insist on constitutional means for combatting street crime.
Here is the ruling: 08-7127-1195636