A lot of people weren’t happy with the “Citizens United” case, where the Supreme affirmed corporations were definitely “people” under law. However, a California man is putting that legal bulwark to an interesting use, utilizing it to fight a carpool lane ticket.
Corporate personhood used in carpool lane ticket case
The idea that somehow corporations are “people” has always been…well, odd. Legally it is tradition, famously upheld in the “Citizens United” Supreme Court case, where the court held corporations were people and as such, could make political donations as money was in that case “speech.”
However, a California man, according to AutoBlog, is using that to fight a carpool lane ticket. Jonathan Frieman of California, was traveling in the carpool lane, or in California, the High Occupancy Vehicle or HOV lane, with documents of incorporation in the car, near San Rafael. When he was pulled over and ticketed by police in 2011, according to NBC News, he pointed out that the documents legally formed a corporation, therefore a person, which police didn’t buy.
Part of a stunt
He’s fighting the ticket on the basis that since federal law and California law recognize corporations as people, those articles of incorporation are a corporation, therefore a person. Ergo, he was carpooling, according to him.
[To Get The Ultimate Package Deal For A New Or Pre-Owned Car, Van, Truck or SUV Consult Courtesy Dealer Brooklyn Right Now!]
Frieman is not only out to dodge a $481 carpool lane ticket, he’s vowing to take the case to the Supreme Court if necessary, precisely because of how ridiculous it all sounds. In fact, that was the idea to drive in the carpool lane in the first place.
Freeman, among many other people, believes that the idea of corporate personhood is as ridiculous as it is impractical. If his case goes to the Supreme Court and gets tossed, it might result in “Citizens” being overturned and a new definition being installed.
A novel approach
That isn’t the only curious manner a person has tried to circumvent the law and beat carpool lane tickets. Whereas Friedman was acting purposefully — he wanted to get caught as an act of political protest — others are simply trying to pull a fast one.
For instance, according to Snopes.com, a number of pregnant women have used the HOV lane, claiming their fetus as persons. It usually doesn’t wash in court. According to Time magazine, one woman was pulled over and ticketed in Sept. 2012, after she tried using a teddy bear in a passenger seat to use the carpool lane. Similar instances of using a prop person have been recorded.
Two articles from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer recount men using dolls; one in 2010 who used a cartoon doll in San Diego around the time of the San Diego Comic-Con and another in 2011, who used a blow-up doll and applied clothing and makeup to make her appear to be a person. Police, though, are no dummies and both got tickets.
Seattle PI: http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattle911/2010/12/09/stop-diego-stop-cartoon-doll-gets-man-carpool-lane-ticket/
Seattle PI: http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattle911/2011/05/04/man-uses-inflatable-woman-doll-for-carpool-lane/