Frieman argues that if corporate personhood is valid, and corporations have legal rights of people as evidenced by e.g., the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that a corporation's constitutional rights as a person, specifically their rights under the First Amendment to the US Constitution, barred the government from limiting corporate donations to political campaigns, then corporations should have a right to join a carpool and thereby enable a vehicle to legally occupy the carpool lane.
This may also be some kind of test case / legal protest of corporate person as the article suggests he would also be OK with a ruling that corporations aren't really people after all.
Ford Greene, Frieman's attorney, pointed to California vehicle code section 470, which says the definition of a person includes "natural persons and corporations." The signs on the freeways ask carpoolers to carry "2 or more persons" which, Greene said, "is constitutionally vague."
The CVC online shows:
- "Person" includes a natural person, firm, copartnership, association, limited liability company, or corporation.
but this is a general definition and I would expect the part of the CVC that discusses the HOV lanes to have its own definition or terminology for a person, or perhaps an occupant, etc...
The traffic court judge ruled against Frieman, citing the purpose of the carpool lane as defined in the code is to reduce traffic congestion:
"Common sense says carrying a sheath of papers in the front seat does not relieve traffic congestion ... And so I'm finding you guilty."
But Frieman plans an appeal...
Outside the courtroom, Frieman said he would appeal the ruling within 30 days. "I expected to lose," Frieman said. "And I expected the judge to cite the reasons he did."
- has there been an appeal of this case in California?
- if not, does Frieman have a case or is this purely frivolous nonsense?
Information on similar cases is welcome.