Driver Ticketed for Warning Others about Speed Trap Sues City

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Missouri man who received a traffic citation for warning motorists about a speed trap is now suing the small town of Ellisville, located west of St. Louis.


Michael J. Elli claims he was ticketed by an Ellisville police officer for flashing his headlights at oncoming traffic on November 17, 2012. Elli said he flashed his lights in an effort to warn other drivers about a nearby speed trap that police had set up.


In suing the small town (population: 9,200), Elli, who is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, argues that the ticket he received represents a violation of his right to free speech.


He also claims that when he appeared before a local judge to contest the citation—his first in 35 years, according to Elli, the judge accused him of obstructing justice. Elli pleaded not guilty, but the charges against him were dropped nine days before his next court appearance.


Similar lawsuits regarding flashing warnings to other drivers have been contested in Florida and England.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Indignant Driver Takes on City Speed Trap (by Joe Harris, Courthouse News Service)

ACLU: Ellisville Illegally Prosecuting Drivers Who Flash Headlights, Charging $1,000 Fines (by Sam Levin, Riverfront Times)

Michael J. Elli v. City of Ellisville, Missouri

Speed Traps in Ellisville, Missouri (National Speed Trap Exchange) (United States District Court of Missouri Eastern Division)

Infamous Speed Trap Town Eliminates Entire Police Department (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)

Man Sues Florida for Right to Flash Headlights (by Steve Bousquet, Tampa Bay Times)

America’s Worst Speed Trap: 10,000 Tickets in 4 Weeks (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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