Patriot-News | Case opens eyes of driver seeking shut-eye photo
Billy Reed just lost a 19-month battle to protect his rights, or what he believes is his right to have his eyes closed in his driver’s license photo.

But Reed, 49, of Fleetwood, Berks County, said he might appeal yesterday’s Commonwealth Court ruling against him to the state Supreme Court.

A three-judge panel of the Commonwealth Court rejected Reed’s arguments in a published opinion, in which it found that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s requirement that subjects keep their eyes open for the photograph is reasonable.

Reed claimed there is no law supporting PennDOT’s position and that the law requires only that a person submit to a photograph. He argued that PennDOT was violating his right to freedom of expression, due process and his “right to happiness.”

“Petitioner’s only argument regarding his right to freedom of expression is that the Department’s policy denies him this right,” Judge James Gardner Colins wrote for the court. “Petitioner simply states ‘PENNDOT is currently doing its darndest to upset my happiness.’

“Keeping one’s eyes open and looking straight ahead while being photographed for a driver’s license is a minuscule requirement that Petitioner must deal with if he wants his license.”

So much time, so much trouble spent fighting the wrong battles.

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