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US Supreme Court rules no right to public anonymity

Today the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that anybody can be compelled at any time to identify themselves, if a police officer asks. People who refuse to identify themselves, even if they are not suspected of a crime, will be arrested. Sound Orwellian? The case is Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada
Found on slashdot.org at,
http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/04/06/22/0130243.shtml?tid=103&tid=123&tid=158&tid=99

Here's a decent article that the above story links to,
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0622/p01s01-usju.html
I'd post the content, but csmonitor is very restrictive about such things, so read it there instead.

Here's the website of the defendant,
http://papersplease.org/hiibel/
Scary 22.Jun.2004 06:37

dandelion

This is bullshit. A major major change has just happened to our right to freedom, and very few people will even be aware of it until it is to late. It is amazing how they are stealing our rights in this country. Rather then do it all at once, they chip away at them, and we hear about the newest ruling on the back pages of our papers. Putting two, and two together becomes difficult, and next thing we know we wake up without a bill of rights.

Time for a civil right initiative 22.Jun.2004 06:56

need rights

If you want the right to not give your name you got to put it on the ballot. A right to privacy would be a good one too.

this is terrible 22.Jun.2004 10:07

thanks for posting this here

Above poster is right, we won't hear about this one on FOX news, i'll bet. It really makes me sick to my stomach. We can't ever rest, there are so many fires to put out.

New ID needed 22.Jun.2004 13:38

Make your own

Until we get our Republic back where can an American citizen obtain one of those consular cards? That should be our alternate ID.

Nothing has changed 22.Jun.2004 15:07

James

This was already the law in (I think) 22 states across the nation. The Supreme Court was simply upholding those state laws. Indeed, if you've ever looked at a "know your rights" pamphlet from the ACLU (or similar groups), one of the points stressed is that you must provide your name and address to the police when asked.

You do not need to provide an identity card unless you are driving. And the police still need reasonable cause to stop you. But you simply have to provide a name and address when asked.

The net effect of the Supreme Court upholding these laws is nothing. Nothing has changed. States which already required this still require it. States which do not still do not.

It's really not all that bad.

...And it was widely reported on Fox News, CNN, and most all other major media outlets.

OR ID 22.Jun.2004 16:02

rubba

i thought that in oregon it was the law that you were supposed to have id on you at all times.

really? 22.Jun.2004 16:05

concerned citizen

"Indeed, if you've ever looked at a "know your rights" pamphlet from the ACLU (or similar groups), one of the points stressed is that you must provide your name and address to the police when asked."

Hmmm, perhaps you can source that.

From the NLG (whom I expect will issue a press release on this case within the next week or so):

Do I have to give my name?

Legally, you do not have to give your name unless they suspect you of a crime, but refusing to give your name is likely to arouse suspicion. Be aware that police/ agents may be carrying a list of deportable aliens. Giving a false name could be a crime. If you are driving a car, you must show them your license, registration and proof of insurance, but you do not have to consent to a search, although the police may have legal grounds to search your car anyway.

Source 22.Jun.2004 16:35

James

 http://archive.aclu.org/issues/criminal/bustcardtext.html

This is from the ACLU's "BustCard" publication:

"1. You have the right to remain silent and to talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police. Tell the police nothing except your name and address. Don't give any explanations, excuses or stories. You can make your defense later, in court, based on what you and your lawyer decide is best."

It doesn't say you have to give your name to the police, because in most states you do not. But in 22 states, you do. Still, even when you're not required to provide your name to the police, it's probably a good idea to do so, just to avoid confrontation.

The Supreme Court's decision held that there were no constitutional prohibitions against such laws. The Fourth Amendment says "unreasonable searches and seizures," and the Court held that requiring citizens to provide a name and address was not unreasonable when the police have a reasonable suspicion of the citizen.

It's hardly the Reichstag Fire Decree.

questioning that source 22.Jun.2004 17:35

not a lawyer

That source applies to when an individual is arrested, which is not applicable to this case. No one is contesting that when you are arrested you are legally required to give a name. The case in question is whether you have to give a name when being detained, or approached on the street. In fact, the change from the ACLU card is this:

"It's not a crime to refuse to answer questions, but refusing to answer can make the police suspicious about you. You can't be arrested merely for refusing to identify yourself on the street."

This is now no longer true as the court ruled that the police can legally arrest someone for "merely for refusing to identify yourself on the street" provided that person is in a state that requires "suspicious" people (i.e. everyone) stopped by the police to give their names.

For the list of states:
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/06/291107.shtml#127772

I know there has been some confusion because the case in question is about someone inside a car and that's confused with the requirements for id for people pulled over in a car. That is, if you are pulled over you have to produce id, but if you are sitting in a car and the police approach you your rights are no different than if they approach you in another setting.

This is certainly a landmark case though it may be one that is challenged again in the not too distant future. Obviously it doesn't change anything for those who are used to refusing to identify themselves and landing in jail for it. In a sense, the court is merely providing legal justification for what the police are already doing. We do need to watch for legislation to push laws through that would fall under the scope of this case, in all states.

Good point 22.Jun.2004 18:02

James

Good point on that last link I provided. But other ACLU publications do "recommend" that you provide your name to the police when stopped, even if you're not under arrest.

Take, for example, this link from the Oregon chapter of the ACLU:

 http://www.aclu-or.org/police.html

"If you are approached by the police (in a non-driving situation)
YOU SHOULD:

Be polite to the officer at all times.
DO NOT physically resist the officer, under ANY circumstances.
Tell the officer your name (it's a crime to give a false name).
NEVER offer money to a police officer."


"Obviously it doesn't change anything for those who are used to refusing to identify themselves and landing in jail for it. In a sense, the court is merely providing legal justification for what the police are already doing. We do need to watch for legislation to push laws through that would fall under the scope of this case, in all states."

Right. If the police are doing that in Oregon, they're still breaking the law, even with this decision.

I'd be interested to know if there has ever been a time in the history of this country when people were not routinely put in jail for refusing to identify themselves. I would posit that there has not been any such time. The difference today is primarily the size and scope of police forces.

Legislature Watch 22.Jun.2004 18:13

Hawkeye

I commented on this topic on another thread:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/06/291107.shtml#127909

Similar to 'not a lawyer' , I'm wondering why the concern over the court decision hasn't taken into account that the ruling applies only to those states that have an existing law mandating that anyone provide his/her name upon request by a member of the domestic security forces, for any or no reason, under penalty of arrest for failing to do so.

It would seem that if a state doesn't have such a statute, then the authorities in that state have no legal basis for getting your name for no reason--regardless if the Supreme court majority has found for those states that do have such a statutes.

What should be of concern, if your state doesn't penalize refusal to give your name "upon demand" for no apparent reason (discounting motor vehicle operation matters, which has been discussed elsewhere in this IMC forum), is that your state legislature doesn't succeed in enacting such a statute.

Apparently Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, Alaska and Hawaii don't have name-upon-demand-or-face-arrest laws like Nevada, California, New Mexico, Utah and Montana (to name Western states).

California's out too 19.Jul.2004 16:21

identity refused

I've been arrested in California, and also refused to give my name. Afterwards I hit the law library to look up the statutes related to my charge, and accidentally came across one that says a person charged with a FELONY can be charged with resisting a police officer if they don't identify themselves. However, misdemeanors had no such similar law.

-Not a law student, but learned some