- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 28, 2001

Perhaps Tracey Hedgepeth can be excused for having a Big Mac, or at least a supersized unhappy meal attack. After all, last October, her 12-year old daughter Ansche was one of a group of juveniles arrested, frisked, cuffed and stuffed for violating D.C.s conceal and carry laws carrying, possibly concealing, and definitely eating french fries while aboard the Metro.
Everyone agreed that Metro had lost its marbles, and that this was "taking a bite out of crime" a little too far, and after every pundit had used salty rhetoric to grill and deep-fry the Metro Transit Police and the nation had caught its breath from a violent big-laugh attack, the policy was changed. As of February, Metro cops were instructed to issue written warnings to juvenile offenders (look for the citations with the attached McDonalds coupons). The parents of such gustatory delinquents will receive letters, as will the schools they attend, presumably in the hope that they will receive a "time out" or some other punishment more in line with the gravity of their delinquency. According to a Metro spokesperson, this policy will give police much more discretion in such cases, although that might not stop the them from treating the quarter-pound offenses of small-fry as whopper-sized sins.
It doesnt really matter anyway, since quicker than you could say, "Super-Size it," Mrs. Hedgepeth retained a lawyer. Thankfully, she is not asking for damages for emotional distress (every Metro rider could join in that class-action lawsuit), but she wants her daughters record expunged, and she wants transit police prohibited from arresting juveniles for gluttonous sins. Making a constitutional case out of it, she claims that her daughters Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures and her Fifth Amendment rights under the Equal Protection clause were violated.
Yet even if Ansches mom is as mad as a wet hen, a judge should still carbonize her lawsuit. Food-fights over clearly half-baked police procedures are a messy, albeit necessary part of the exercise of a healthy republic, but constitutional fast food rulings can only strain the heart of justice.


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