Police Discretion and Traffic Enforcement: A Government of Men?

Illya Lichtenberg, Montclair State University

The paper examines the law of traffic stops and the existing restraints on police discretion in the decision to issue a traffic ticket (or lack thereof). The data on how frequently police issue a summons and the criteria utilized by police in deciding to issue a summons are reviewed. The paper concludes by applying general legal principals, not yet applied to police traffic enforcement practices, and addresses inconsistencies between the law as it is written and the law as it is enforced from a constitutional, socio-legal framework.

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Updated 05/20/2006