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En banc re-hearing in checkpoint case denied

PCJF Press Release

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has denied D.C.’s petition for an en banc re-hearing in the case challenging the constitutionality of the checkpoint program first deployed in 2008 in northeast Washington, D.C.’s Trinidad neighborhood.

“The D.C. circuit has firmly rejected the police’s extraordinary seizure and interrogation barricade program as unconstitutional. We hope this puts the matter to rest,” stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, attorney and co-founder of the Partnership for Civil Justice. “This program, which allowed police to conduct suspicionless seizures and questioning of people, was not only unconstitutional but it was ineffective in addressing the deep needs of D.C.’s communities.”

On July 10, a unanimous three-judge panel declared the District of Columbia’s so- called Neighborhood Safety Zone checkpoint program to be unconstitutional, reversing a lower court ruling in favor of the municipality.

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund filed the lawsuit challenging the military-style checkpoint program whereby police may surround a targeted neighborhood, interrogate people without suspicion, and prohibit entry down public streets to those persons who lack a police- defined “legitimate reason” for driving into the neighborhood.

Today’s order is available to read below.