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This might be old news, but I had not seen it here so I thought I'd share it.

This story made me laugh pretty hard, and then I realized it might actually be more than a guy trying to get to work faster.

Follow me below the squiggle.

To sum up the story a man gets pulled over in the carpool lane for driving alone. It happens all the time in big cities. Some people try to get away with it by having a blow up doll, or cardboard cutout or something of the sort to make it look like they've got a passenger.

But this California man did one better, when the cop started writing the ticket the man pulled out corporation papers and said because corporations are people under California law, he's not driving alone, and should be let go. The cop, acting on what I consider to be common sense, said the papers didn't count and wrote the ticket anyway.

But here's the thing, the man has a point.

The definition of person in California’s Vehicle Code is “natural person, firm, copartnership, association, limited liability company, or corporation.”
In case you don't believe me, here's a link to the DMV website.

The man who was pulled over is doing this specifically to go after the SCOTUS ruling. He, like most of us on this website, don't think that a corporation should be given the same legal credence and protections as a human being. He has decided to challenge the court, and according to MSNBC, he even knows what he wants to say to the judge.

“Your honor, according to the vehicle code definition and legal sources, I did have a ‘person’ in my car. But Officer so-and-so believes I did NOT have another person in my car. If you rule in his favor, you are saying that corporations are not persons. I hope you do rule in his favor. I hope you do overturn 125 years of settled law.”
While I commend him for standing up for what he believes in, and for being much more creative than me, I doubt this will work because the judge will either dismiss his claim, forcing him to appeal to a different court, or the cop won't show up and the ticket will be dismissed.


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Comment Preferences

  •  He doesn't have a chance. (3+ / 0-)

    I'm pretty sure the term the judge will key on is occupancy. Papers of incorporation can hardly be called an occupant.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    by Ex Con on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 07:25:42 AM PST

  •  Thoughts: I'm afraid the cop won't show. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mindara, Tinfoil Hat

    Who's in the area with a camera? C'mon bloggers! Let's go!

    If it's thrown out and he keeps doing it, can there be a mass California protest from everyone who fits that bill? (Not everyone is actually privileged to be Driving Mr. Monopoly around these days. Gotta have that paperwork right next to you to prove it's a legitimate person.) "Let me see your papers, please..."

    They're rolling back the naked x-ray machines, and rumor had it the other day there might be a fast-track keep your shoes on line at some airports. Whee the times are changin' Let's push it some more.

  •  I think the Cop won't show up in court (0+ / 0-)
  •  This is based on a myth (4+ / 0-)

    The SCOTUS did NOT hold that corporations of people in Citizens United.  

    The SCOTUS specifically said that corporations were NOT "natural persons" (constitution speak for "people") but were associations of people -- which they are.  

    You can read it for yourself.  See especially page 26:  

    This protection has been extended by explicit holdings to the context of political speech.  See, e.g., Button, 371 U.  S.,  at 428–429; Grosjean v. American Press Co., 297 U. S. 233,  244 (1936).  Under the rationale of these precedents, political speech does not lose First Amendment protection “simply because its source is a corporation.”  Bellotti, supra, at 784; see Pacific Gas & Elec. Co. v. Public Util.  Comm’n of Cal., 475 U. S. 1, 8 (1986) (plurality opinion) (“The identity of the speaker is not decisive in determining whether speech is protected. Corporations and other associations, like individuals, contribute to the ‘discussion,  debate, and the dissemination of information and ideas’  that the First Amendment seeks to foster” (quoting  Bellotti, 435 U. S., at 783)).  The Court has thus  rejected the argument that political speech of corporations or other associations should be treated differently under the First Amendment simply because such associations are not “natural persons.”   Id., at 776; see id., at 780, n. 16.  Cf.  id., at 828 (Rehnquist, J., dissenting).
    •  that seems to go against (0+ / 0-)

      what the california DMV website says

      •  Trobone - wouldn't the CA legislature (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Trobone, Ex Con, coffeetalk

        just amend the law to make it clear that for the specific issue of HOV lanes that occupants must be human persons?

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:00:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not speaking to just the California (4+ / 0-)

        motor vehicle code. But to the extent this is part of some larger "fight against corporations being people" linked with the CU case, I want to point out that the belief of many here that CU held "corporations are people" is a myth.

        Some codes define terms like persons in certain ways for purposes of that specific code for ease of drafting -- and so people can't avoid regulatory requirements by forming corporations or LLC's.  I don't know in what contexts the California vehicle code uses "persons."  Clearly some of it has to do with vehicle dealers, which apparently can be corporations, LLC's, etc., and which nonetheless are subject to the regulations that use the word "person."  

        If the ONLY beef is against the California law, that's one thing.  If that is the case, I'd suggest this guy look at the California codes defining HOV lanes for the particular area where he is driving.   They can define "high occupancy" any way they want.  They may use "occupant."  Even if they use "person," under THAT code, "person" in that context does not mean "corporation" in that context unless that particular code says so.    

        It is for the same reason that pregnant women who believe that a fetus is a "person" can't use that as a reason to drive in the "high occupancy vehicle" lane and wouldn't be able to even if a fetus were to be designated a "person" for specific purposes.

        If the ONLY reason this guy is protesting is because corporations, LLC's, etc. are persons for purposes of the California Vehicle Code, and he has a problem with corporations being treated as "persons" for purposes of the California vehicle code (like as vehicle dealers, etc.) I'd like to hear what he thinks is wrong with that.  I don't see any problem with that designation for purposes of the California Vehicle Code.

  •  Whatever the legal merits... (0+ / 0-)

    the driver, Jonathan Frieman of San Rafael, is a hero.

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