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By exploring the intertwined histories of the automobile, policing, criminal procedure, and the administrative state in the twentieth-century United States, this Essay argues that the growth of the police’s discretionary authority had its roots in the governance of an automotive society. To tell this history and the proliferation of procedural rights that developed as a solution to abuses of police discretion, this Essay examines the life and oeuvre of Charles Reich, an administrative-law expert in the 1960s who wrote about his own encounters with the police, particularly in his car. The Essay concludes that, in light of this regulatory history of criminal procedure, putting some limits on the police’s discretionary power may require partitioning the enforcement of traffic laws from the investigation of crime.


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