Many of us were critical of the Seminole County Sheriff and prosecutors who insisted that citizens could be ticketed for flashing their lights to warn others of a speed trap. Ryan Kintner, 25, can now claim to not only have warned neighbors of a speed trap but to have protected their constitutional rights. Kintner has won his challenge under the first amendment and a court has ruled that the Sheriff and local prosecutors were misconstruing a statute and violating the rights of citizens.
Circuit Judge Alan Dickey previously ruled that that state law does not apply to people who flash lights as a warning and in Tuesday’s decision ruled that such action constitutes protected speech under the First Amendment.
Kintner was home when he spotted the speed trap and jumped into his car to go up the street to warn his neighbors.
Much like the effort to prosecute citizens videotaping police in public, the use of these laws against citizens appears part of a trend in police-citizen relations where citizens are expected to be passive and obedient. The decision is an important corrective measure in that trend. However, there still appears to be no public backlash against officials who fight for such expanded powers in violation of the Constitution.
Source: Orlando Sentinel