Walter Williams III
Issue #7: Police Identification
Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada(2004)
Background: Larry D. Hiibel was arrested and convicted in a Nevada court for refusing to identify himself to a police officer during an investigative stop involving a reported assault. Nevada's "stop and identify" statute requires a person detained by an officer under suspicious circumstances to identify himself. Hiibel filed suit claiming that the statute violated his Fourth Amendment right not to incriminate himself, as well as Fifth Amendment right against unreasonable searches.
Lower Court Decision: The state intermediate court and the state Supreme Court rejected Hiibel's argument in affirming the conviction
Supreme Court Decision: Affirmed by a 5-4 count
Majority Opinion Writer: Justice Anthony Kennedy
Statement of Legal Issues: Legal issues in question here were whether or not Hiibel's arrest and conviction violated his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself, or his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches.
Rulings on Each Issue: The court ruled that the Nevada “stop and identify” statute did not violate either the Fifth Amendment or the Fourth Amendment.
Justification Offered by the Majority Opinion: Justice Kennedy wrote that the search did not violate the Fourth Amendment because it was based on reasonable suspicion as the officer was investigating the assault, and the suspect was nearby. He also stated that asking for Hiibel's name was only a minimally intrusive question. Kennedy goes on to state that the Fifth Amendment is not violated because Hiibel never argued that telling the officer his name would actually incriminate him of any crime.
Dissenting Opinion Writer: Justices John Paul Stevens and Stephen G. Breyer both authored a dissent.
Justification Offered by the Dissenting Opinion: Justice Stevens offered that the Court's precedent required it to strike down...