Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Protesters Beware

21. June 2004 • Rob Goodspeed
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Well, it’s official, “If a cop asks your name, you have to tell.”



  1. Michigan is not listed in the article as one of the states with a similar law (the justices’ decision meant that the Nevada law in question is constitutional), nor did it mention any federal laws. This means that, around here, we’ve still got the pressuring-our-legislators route to protecting the privacy of our names.
       —Murph    Jun. 21 '04 - 12:18PM    #
  2. BoingBoing’s post quotes a bloomberg.com article and has a great comment:

    “Joining Kennedy’s opinion were Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justices John Paul Stevens, Stephen G. Breyer, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Gin.”

    By bizarre coincidence, the same five justices who ruled against our right to privacy are the same five who appointed popular and electoral loser Bush to be president.
       —Scott Trudeau    Jun. 21 '04 - 12:45PM    #
  3. I’ve come to expect better from this blog and Rob in particular. Murph is right -the decision (and the article) did not say we now have to give cops our names. It said that if a state has a law requiring you to, that law does not violate your federal constitutional rights. The decision did not address the application of any state’s constitution, under which such a law could be illegal. An example would be random police roadblocks which were found, in a Michigan case, to be allowed under the Federal Constitution, but prohibited under our State constitution, and therefore not allowed. A state can give you more civil rights than the fed; it cannot give you less.
       —sergei    Jun. 22 '04 - 07:05AM    #
  4. Sergei, any idea how many states have Constitutions that are definitively more privacy-oriented than the federal Constitution? I know I’ve heard that Oregon’s Constitution explicitly states a right to privacy, but I’m too lazy to just google if there’s a chance you know offhand.
       —Murph    Jun. 22 '04 - 08:27AM    #
  5. Lawyers help me out here – how will this latest decision impinge on, say, Miranda? I can back up from the International Herald Trib what Scott said above – it was the conservative end of the Supremes which won the day.
       —TheaLogie    Jun. 22 '04 - 11:33AM    #
  6. No Murph, I don’t know by the numbers which directly address privately directly vs. those that have been interpreted to create certain rights of privacy vs. those that throw you to the wolves. You might check the Electronic Privacy Information Center website. I still haven’t read the opinion, but I’ve read a few more articles about it, and from what I am seeing, I gather that part of the rationale had to do with the fact that this Defendant was otherwise stopped by the police for a legitimate reason – the Defendant matched the description of a man who had allegedly assaulted a woman. The question probably was, in the context of a Terry stop, where the cop is permitted to ask you questions based on a valid suspicion of the commission of a crime, but you have a right not to incriminate yourself, toward which interest does the needle lean when you are asked “what’s your name” – the state’s or yours. Had he been in trouble solely for refusing to give his name, he probably would have had a better shot.
       —sergei    Jun. 22 '04 - 02:34PM    #