Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Federal Appeals Court Rules Neighborhood Checks Unconstitutional

On Friday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that a neighborhood motorist checkpoint violated the plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment rights. The Washington D.C. police department had set up a Neighborhood Safety Zone program in the Trinidad neighborhood of Washington D.C. Eleven checkpoints were set up which did not allow motorists to enter the neighborhood unless they could prove they lived in the neighborhood and had valid reasons for entering. The lower court had denied a motion for preliminary injunction by the plaintiffs' to enjoin future implementation of the program. The Court of Appeals overturned the lower court's denial of the motion for preliminary injunction by finding that the purpose of the checkpoint is not immediately distinguishable from the general interest in crime control. The court found that the plaintiffs' were likely to prevail on the merits of the case and overruled the denial of the preliminary injunction.

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