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View Diary: Flashing Headlights to Warn of Speed Traps Is Protected Speech (132 comments)

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  •  It's an interesting case (0+ / 0-)

    We had one in central PA a few years ago but it wasn't big enough to be preserved in The Googlez.  My lay opinion is that it should be illegal to flash someone who's obviously speeding, because that's like telling someone with a knife or a fistful of illegal drugs that the cops are up ahead, but it shouldn't be illegal to flash someone who's not obviously speeding because you're not protecting lawbreaking.  Give the practical impossibility of determining whether an oncoming car is obviously speeding, there should be a big presumption in favor of it being legal; I'm open, however, to specific instances where it wouldn't be.  

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 11:43:33 AM PST

    •  It's not illegal to tell someone with a knife (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bluefin, Kevskos

      that the cops are coming. Not even remotely. Maybe if they killed someone and you're lying to the cops to delay the police it might be illegal. Neither would telling someone with drugs that the police are coming. Freedom of speech is incredibly broad, and I'd bet that restricting it as you suggest would have a good number of ramifications, very few of the good most likely.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:33:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's not really true either, though. If you (0+ / 0-)

        and the knife-wielder are assaulting someone and you're serving as the lookout, warning them that the cops are coming is potentially part of your role as an accomplice.  

        •  Serving as the lookout helps the perpetrator (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          commit the crime. Aiding and abetting liability requires that the defendant took some substantial step, did something to help the primary actor do the illegal thing. If you're serving as a lookout and then tell the actor that the cops are coming, you were already guilty of aiding and abetting before you said anything. You were helping him to commit the crime.

          By contrast, flashing your lights to warn of a speed trap in no way helps the other driver to speed.

          •  You're right. I was trying to avoid parsing the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            distinction that finely, but I do think there is a difference between flashing your lights and serving as a lookout.  I was just trying to point out that there are circumstances where alerting someone to the presence of law enforcement would not be constitutionally protected.  

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