Jonathon Friedman had his day in a San Francisco court, then Jurist Frank Drago had his say, declaring Friedman guilty. The case centered on a sheaf of corporation papers that Friedman used to make a statement about corporate 'personhood.' Driving in a carpool lane in the Bay Area, Friedman was pulled over for not having at least two people in the car. His response was to show the officer his business papers and, citing US Supreme Court decisions that have affirmed that corporations are people, said he indeed did have two people in the car and so was, in fact, carpooling.

The case went before the traffic referee, and the officer who issued the ticket even showed up to defend it. Friedman's attorney, Ford Greene, pointed to the "constitutionally vague" correlation between the California vehicle code that defines a person as "natural persons and corporations" and the carpool lane signs that demands cars in the High Occupancy Vehicle lane be occupied by "two or more persons."

The jurist wasn't interested in all that "novel" malarkey. Drago said, "Common sense says carrying a sheath of papers in the front seat does not relieve traffic congestion," then declared Friedman guilty. Now, we're not constitutional law scholars, but it's been a while since we heard "common sense" used as the sole litmus test for extracting the intention of a law and assigning guilt – and we wonder if that's the same common sense that was used to declare corporations people in the first place.

No matter, Friedman said he expected to lose, and that he'll be appealing the ruling within 30 days.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Do people who have multiple personalities get off for being in the HOV lane?
      • 2 Years Ago
      I hope he appeals it all the way to the same Supreme Court that established the equivalence between corporations and people. It would be hilarious to see how they dealt with the fallout from their own absurd decision. One thing's for sure: unlike the SF traffic court, there will not be any common sense considerations in the US Supreme Court.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Whooray, Jonathon Friedman, finally someone, brave enough to show how ridiculous the supreme court is!
      Kolawole Adereni
      • 2 Years Ago
      The aim of Jonathan might not even be the fine but the constitutionality of corporate "personhood". I guess if he wins the case at the higher court that might shed some light into having a second look at the issue of corporate "personhood".
      • 2 Years Ago
      At last. A Judge with a voice of reason.
      • 2 Years Ago
      now how can a Corporation be a person people have hearts Corporations only have wallets
      • 2 Years Ago
      "sheaf of corporation papers"? Would have been better off with "binders full of women".
      • 2 Years Ago
      I believe Mitt romney would disagree with the judge....
      • 2 Years Ago
      Of course a "sheath" of papers is useless. A "sheaf", however, would have made all the difference. In the law, like English, words matter.
      • 2 Years Ago
      So fine each and every indiviual named in the corporation for not wearing their seat belt.
      • 2 Years Ago
      The idea of HOV lanes help traffic congestion is a big question to me. Each time I see the HOV lanes merge back into regular traffic it seems everything stops. The HOV people loose the time they saved and regular traffic stops as well. If they want HOV lanes like they have left lanes with no trucks, I understand it. But to make a separate divided road that you can't get in or out of except at a special location just makes a mess. That tosses all the merge traffic into a small area making a huge mess. Who thought this was a good idea?
        • 2 Years Ago
        Here's something even dumber; In Fl. you can buy a Sun Pass card that allows you to by-pass the toll booths because it automatically ''reads'' your window sticker. This means you don't have to lose time stopping. You pay a premium for this even though in most things you get a discount when you pay in advance for multiples of something. When traveling many of the toll roads you will come up to the line of booths and the unattended ones which are for those with the Sun Pass have an arm down which requires you to stop, even though you don't have to stop to pay and even though it is supposed to let you save time and even though you paid extra for the privilege. I asked one of the attentents why and she told me, ''It slows people down''. Well, duh!
        • 2 Years Ago
        Loose - Not tight. Lose - Opposite of gain.
      b.f.k. sr
      • 2 Years Ago
      in the past corporations have been found guilty of things like polluti,g a water supply and harming people. the result has been fines and money settlements. as people can the corporation now be charged with crimes and sent to jail like any other person?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @b.f.k. sr
        Not if you work on Wall Street. You can gamble other peoples money, shatter the economy, get bailed out with peoples tax money, & 4 years later be richer then you were before.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X