February 20, 2004

Drawing the Line in War

There's been a great deal of bloviating over phantom rights violations in this War on Terror. Then again, cops do still cross the line. There is no requirement in the United States to have identification papers. If you're not engaged in an activity requiring a license, you don't have to have a license with you.

Dudly Hiibel is pushing this principle all the way to the Supreme Court. He was arrested in 2000 simply for not having an ID and ended up being fined $250.

A police officer had the right to stop him. There was a report that he had hit his daughter. A police officer had the right to temporarily confiscate his knife while he was being questioned for safety reasons. He even has the right to temporarily take events down to the station to sort things out in a controlled environment. But he didn't have the right to demand identification papers in order to do a background check absent any evidence of actual criminality.

Given that the police didn't even try to talk to his daughter until she got hysterical at seeing her father cuffed and hauled away, this is no sort of domestic abuse investigation. The fishing style question of "how did you get home yesterday" sounds suspiciously like there's a back story to this episode.

There's a video of the stop along with some audio so it's not just a case of conflicting verbal testimony. Clearly the arrest is over the line and it would still be over the line today. Martial law has not been declared. Rights have not been suspended. If we're even close to the level of threat requiring such emergency measures, no proper legal actions have been taken to invoke such powers (and thus also invoke the accountability for their use at the next election). I'd be as disturbed about the case if it happened post 9/11 as I am about it happening today.

Hopefully, we're going to see a 9-0 decision in favor of Mr. Hiibel.

HT: Slashdot

Posted by TMLutas at February 20, 2004 06:57 AM