A driver in San Rafael, California is attempting to appeal a traffic citation for driving alone in a High Occupancy Vehicle lane. Jonathan Frieman and his attorney, Ford Greene, argue that since Frieman had corporate incorporation papers in his car when he was stopped by an officer, he was actually carpooling at the time. Technically, the state of California's definition of personhood includes both "natural persons and corporations." But Frieman's out to do more than just skirt a $478 traffic ticket with a little fancy legal footwork.

He's sworn to chase the case all the way to the Supreme Court should the first trial not go his way in an attempt to "expose the impracticality of corporate personhood." If Frieman eventually wins his case, the victory could have serious implications on the US Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.

While the US legal system has weighed the benefits and drawbacks of corporate personhood for years, the issue became more clear in 2010 when the Supreme Court ruled that restricting corporate political spending violated the First Amendment. Granting corporations constitutional rights implies the entities themselves have personhood.


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  • 143 Comments
      RJC
      • 1 Year Ago
      Instead of wasting time with the traffic ticket issue, they should take a second look at the Citizens United case.
      rllama
      • 1 Year Ago
      He's just trying to get on the Colbert Report. (I wonder why Delaware can't use this argument to increase their seats in the US House of Representatives?)
      Rob J
      • 1 Year Ago
      The problem with HOV lanes is that they are CLEARLY a communist plot. Freedom loving Americans can see through this facade and therefore are totally opposed to them. /sarc
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Actionable Mango
      • 1 Year Ago
      Pregnant women try this excuse from time to time and it never works.
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        @ Actionable Mango very interesting. Does the act actually define what a passenger is?
          Actionable Mango
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marcopolo
          I googled. Top story was for Nevada. Nevada defined it as a person occupying their own separate space in the car. That is a surprisingly specific definition.
      capn233
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is great. As far as "interesting" lawsuits go, I support this much more than say suing the Cowboys because you sat on a hot bench.
      raktmn
      • 1 Year Ago
      An update is in order (follow the link to the original Pacific Sun story, they've updated their story). He's already gone in front of the judge now. For background, he isn't trying to get out of a ticket he happened to get, he engaged in civil disobedience in order to run his case through the courts on purpose. The first step in that was for him to lose his case at the local level so he could appeal it all the way to the Supreme Court. The update is that he succeeded. By that I mean the lower court rejected his argument and ruled against him, setting up his appeal to higher courts. And for anyone really bent out of shape about this case costing money, go complain on some blog about former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg suing the gov't for bailing out AIG after he drove the company to the brink of bankruptcy. That is a case that will actually cost taxpayers money to defend.
      Patrick R. Gibbons
      • 1 Year Ago
      Since this is a blog about cars I can forgive the bloggers ignorance of corporate personhood laws and the recent Supreme Court decision. The case vindicated the idea that people can pool their resources together and still recieve the same legal protections as if they were acting as individuals. This means people can pool resources as a club, non profit, union, sports team or yes, even corporation and still have free speech rights. This Friedman guy is either a Marxist dingaling or yet another left-winger ignorant of why we actually have corporate personhood rules in the first place. Without corporate personhood corporations would not be able to 1) be sued 2) own property 3) enter into contracts 4) hire employees) 5) sell goods or services... Marxists use the personhood word to scare ignorant people into fighting against personhood laws. Their goal is to use your ignorance to end capitalism.
        brotherkenny4
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Patrick R. Gibbons
        6) buy politicians to influence policy for monitary gain 7) socialize all corporate risk.
          Patrick R. Gibbons
          • 1 Year Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          response to that should be to limit government's ability to influence economic outcomes and pick winners and losers - no more bailouts, corporate welfare etc. Limiting free speech was not the correct response.
        Yeah yeah
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Patrick R. Gibbons
        So instead of saying corporations are people why not just pass a bill saying corporations can 1) be sued 2) own property 3) enter into contracts 4) hire employees) 5) sell goods or services. It would accomplish the same thing without looking so idiotic.
          Patrick R. Gibbons
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Yeah yeah
          um... the courts don't say corporations are people, that is the rhetoric of the ignorant. Corporate personhood implies corporations (which are people pooling resources together) have some rights granted to individuals... all those rights combined are simply the corporate personhood concept. All this said, your dislike of it appears entirely irrational. Its the word "personhood" that you hate. That's just silly.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Yeah yeah
          @ Yeah yeah Try substituting "Legal Entity', instead of person-hood, and see if you feel so angry. Corporations are not "natural persons' in the true sense. But the Constitution was written a long time ago, in a different era, with different terms of expression. It's just too hard and expensive to keep re-writing every law so that the language can keep up with popular vernacular to avoid deliberate misconception by the media. Wouldn't you rather your tax dollars were spent on something more useful ?
        James
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Patrick R. Gibbons
        Patrick, I felt so alone in the world until I read your post. Thank you for proving that there are intelligent people in the world that actually know why things are the way they are.
        edward.stallings
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Patrick R. Gibbons
        Where do you get off using logic and facts when posting here? That is not allowed! btw - my upvote did not change anything...
      Basil Exposition
      • 1 Year Ago
      Thanks for wasting taxpayer dollars and tying up the court's time with this nonsense you dousche.
        edward.stallings
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Basil Exposition
        Just so you know, I voted you up and a down vote was recorded -lol. I think the spelling is douche, but you are correct with you observation.
      gop.hates.america
      • 1 Year Ago
      @Patrick R. Gibbons Since this is a blog about cars, I can forgive their ingnorance of the personhood laws. Like you said, personhood laws were creatred to allow corporations to own peoperty, sign contracts, sue someone or be sued, hire employees, sell goods or services etc but here's the imporatant distinction. This is how the communist conservatives define a person in their fairy tale world Corporation is a person Fertilized ovum is a person Ovum and sperm in close vicinity is a person (that's why using barrier contraceptives is like killing people) A CEO is a person A corporation registered in Cayman Islands is a person A woman is not a person A gay person is not a person A person of color or an immigrant is not a person A person of a minority religion or atheist is not a person A blue collar worker is not a person If you look at the laws passed by the communist conservatives in any red state, you will see how this definition fits perfectly.
        edward.stallings
        • 1 Year Ago
        @gop.hates.america
        First: Communism is a form of collectivism. Conservatives are not advocates of socialism, communism or any forced collectivism. Second: You seem to be mentally ill.
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @gop.hates.america
        Your stereotyping is ugly and ignorant. As a socially liberal person, you are embarrassing to me.
        IBx27
        • 1 Year Ago
        @gop.hates.america
        Excuse me, but communism is an absolute opposite of conservatism.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @IBx27
          @ IBx27 Yeah, "gop.hates.america" is just an embarrassing troll, but strictly speaking from a grammatical point of view, I suppose there could be 'conservative' communists, as opposed to 'progressive' communists. It's just changing the noun to an adjective :)
      James
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is so silly. Just because a corporation possesses some elements of personhood or legal standing under the state does not mean that extends to all definitions of personhood. This lawyer is going to end up homeless, and maybe even having his bar license revoked, after 10 years of wasting his and the court's time appealing this crap over and over.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @James
        He has raised a valid point that can be adjudicated. Clearly, a major part of this is to raise awareness of this silly legal fiction and he has succeeded with that goal.
          James
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          I have an idea. I'll incorporate, and commit murder by holding a knife with the incorporation documents. Then they'll send the pieces of paper to prison instead of me.
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      Absolutely brilliant way to fight a stupid rule.
        Gordon Chen
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Grendal
        How is it a stupid rule? It's to fight congestion which is a major problem.
          CoJoNEs
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Gordon Chen
          pretty sure he means "corporations are people" is a stupid rule
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