Unmoving Violation

How’s this for a new Miranda right: You have the right to not have your car impounded from your driveway after the cops caught you teaching your unlicensed wife how to drive.

That’s the gist of Thursday’s Ninth Circuit opinion in Miranda v. City of Cornelius. The court ruled that the vigilant cop who “noticed that Mrs. Miranda was driving poorly and at a speed of about 10 miles per hour? on a neighborhood street should not have impounded her husband Jorge’s car after he parked it in their driveway.

“The impoundment of Plaintiffs’ vehicle was an unreasonable seizure not justified by the community caretaking doctrine because the police have no duty to protect a vehicle parked on the owners’ property and there was no reason to believe that impoundment would prevent any threat to public safety from its unlawful operation beyond the brief period during which the car was impounded,? Ninth Circuit Judge Ronald Gould wrote for a unanimous panel.

While it’s doubtful that the opinion will be widely applied, it appears to be a blow for the city of Cornelius, Ore., which will have to pay legal fees for the Mirandas.

Justin Scheck

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