The “Crime” of Interfering With Revenue Collection

If the point of a traffic enforcement zone is to ensure that people are driving carefully, why would police cite drivers who flash their headlights to warn others about it, thereby prompting them to slow down? On the other hand, if the purpose of enforcement zones is revenue collection, issuing such a citation makes perfect sense.

Washington, D.C. attorney Mark Zaid was recently given a $50 ticket for flashing his lights to acknowledge a warning of an enforcement zone in Maryland’s Montgomery County. True to form, the armed tax-feeder tried to impress his victim by his generosity, claiming that Zaid could have been charged with “obstructing a police investigation.”

All of this is  “bootstrapping” a charge, of course. What Zaid — a lawyer who specializes in helping government whistle-blowers — did was perfectly legal. When he challenged the ticket in court, the officer who issued the citation didn’t appear. Zaid’s ticket was dismissed, as were all the other citations issued by the officer at the enforcement zone.

Ironically, the officer wasn’t available because he was on military leave. This is one of the few instances in which the co-mingling of military and law enforcement actually worked to the benefit of individual liberty.


12:46 pm on June 18, 2009