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Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada

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Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada

Supreme Court of the United States

March 22, 2004, Argued

June 21, 2004, Decided

Full case name: Larry D. Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, Humboldt County, et al.
Citations: 124 S. Ct. 2451; 159 L. Ed. 2d 292; 2004 U.S. LEXIS 4385; 72 U.S.L.W. 4509; 17 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 406
Prior history: Defendant convicted, Justice Court of Union Township, Humboldt County; affirmed, Sixth Judicial District Court, Humboldt County; review denied, 59 P.3d 1201 (Nev. 2002); certiorari granted, 540 U.S. 965 (2003)
Subsequent history: rehearing denied, 125 S. Ct. 18 (2004)
Holding
A Nevada law requiring suspects to identify themselves during investigative stops by law enforcement officers did not violate the Fourth or Fifth Amendments. Supreme Court of Nevada affirmed.
Court membership
Chief Justice William Rehnquist
Associate Justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer
Case opinions
Majority by: Kennedy (text (http://209.123.170.170/hiibel/pdf/03-5554o.pdf) in pdf)
Joined by: Rehnquist, O'Connor, Scalia, Thomas
Dissent by: Stevens (text (http://209.123.170.170/hiibel/pdf/03-5554d.pdf) in pdf)
Dissent by: Breyer (text (http://209.123.170.170/hiibel/pdf/03-5554d1.pdf) in pdf)
Joined by: Souter, Ginsburg
Laws applied
U.S. Const. Amend. IV, V; Nev. Rev. Stat. 171.123(3)

Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, Humboldt County, et al. (2004) was a United States Supreme Court decision that ruled that the United States Constitution does not prohibit police officers from demanding that a suspect give his name when he has been stopped due to a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

Hiibel was an expansion on the "Terry stop" established in Terry v. Ohio, which gave police the ability to stop and frisk someone for weapons when the officer had a reasonable suspicion that the suspect was committing or was about to commit a crime.

Contents

Background of the case

The state of Nevada had a "stop and identify" statute which made it a crime to refuse to identify one's self during a Terry stop.

On May 21 2000, a man named Larry Dudley Hiibel got involved in an argument with his 17-year-old daughter, Mimi Hiibel, about a boy she was seeing. A witness had made a domestic violence report stating that Hiibel had punched his daughter. Mimi had been driving Dudley home, and the two were still arguing loudly. Mimi pulled over, and Dudley Hiibel got out of the truck to cool down and smoke a cigarette. A police officer approached Hiibel in response to the domestic violence report that had been filed. The officer repeatedly asked for identification, and Hiibel refused. Hiibel was handcuffed, and he was asked his name, which he refused to give. Hiibel verbally taunted the officers but did not resist arrest. The incident was videotaped by a recorder in the officer's car.

No evidence of domestic violence was produced, but Hiibel was charged with "delaying a peace officer" and fined $250. The conviction was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.

The Court's decision

Nevada's "stop and identify" statute was upheld in Hiibel as not violative of the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures or the Fifth Amendment's against self-incrimination.

The five-Justice majority, in an opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, wrote that requiring identification allowed officers to quickly determine whether that suspect was wanted for another offense or has a previous violent record. The Court stated that it could also quickly clear a suspect so that the police can redirect their attention elsewhere.

Justice John Paul Stevens dissented, arguing that identification was testimonial and therefore could not be compelled under the Fifth Amendment. Justice Stephen Breyer, joined by Justices David Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, believed that the majority's opinion exceeded the Court's previous line of cases under Terry v. Ohio and violated the Fourth Amendment.

Common misperceptions

The Hiibel case does not compel a person to show identification to a police officer upon demand. As of 2005, Americans are not compelled to carry identification (unless they are driving a car or performing another action that requires a license in that state).

The Hiibel case does not create a federal law that requires a person to give his or her name to a police officer upon request; it merely rules that states may issue such a law, and such a law is not unconstitutional. If a state does not have such a law, then people in that state are not required to give their names.

The Hiibel case only applies when a person is detained due to a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. If no such reasonable suspicion exists, the person is not required to provide his or her name.

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