Vanderbilt Law Review


Floyd F. Feeney

First Page



Sixty years ago, before the traffic infraction became a common occurrence, police departments found it necessary to make physical arrests in the case of each traffic violation. As the number of violations mounted, however, the arrest procedure proved to be too cumbersome and demanding. This led to the invention of a new procedure, the citation of promise to appear. The new system proved to be both convenient and practical and in short order it virtually replaced the old arrest procedure. Surprisingly, however, the invention of the new procedure did not lead to a rethinking of the need to arrest and detain persons accused of other kinds of misconduct. Somewhat more recently, the idea did develop that the citation procedure might be used in other situations. Many police departments now use such procedures extensively with juveniles and with regulatory offenses, such as housing code violations, in which there is little likelihood that the person to be charged will flee the jurisdiction.