Tuesday, November 22, 2005
For the Crime of Using Public Transportation? (Updated)
She hadn’t been accused of a crime--in fact, there was no cause to believe that she had committed or would commit a crime. Where is her obligation to produce identification, and the private information contained on the ID, to a security guard on a bus? And for what cause? Seriously, why did that security guard need to see her identification? Was he going to remove her from the bus if he didn’t like her name? What was the cause requiring him to check the ID of every person using public transportation?
Real security is taking measures to ensure that bombs, guns, and knives don’t get into the places where they will do the most harm. Real security is not capricious demands of citizens for no discernible cause.
The bus that she was riding did travel across Federal property--the Denver Federal Center--but the request for ID at a checkpoint is nothing but a compliance test. It’s a meaningless show of power since the only “pass” is producing the identification. The IDs aren’t checked for veracity or against any list of dangerous figures, and producing ID allows you to pass through the Federal property.
From another part of the site:
Sounds about right.
To tell the truth, after reading through the complaints and the site supporting her cause, I’m guessing this isn’t a person I would like. I’m guessing that she really was a little rude and not entirely respectful; that isn’t relevant when discussing whether she had the obligation to produce ID on demand.
The Supreme Court has recently said that police have the right to demand a name from a person who isn’t suspected of a crime (in this case that would seem to be similar), but I don’t have to believe that they decided correctly.
And, frankly, even that seems like a stretch since there was no accusation of criminal activity--with the exception of her refusal to show ID--on the part of Davis. Consider this, about the earlier case, from Talk Left:
Let’s be honest: I’m not a lawyer and my knowledge of law is limited to what I read on Volokh Conspiracy (since I automatically discount anything I see on TV or in the movies as being more based in drama than in fact). In fact, I’m sure that there is more to this than I could find with a few simple Google searches. For that matter, maybe someone can articulate a compelling reason that police should expect citizens to produce identification on demand, regardless of suspicion of illegal activities or any demonstrable security purpose.
I realize that my understanding of the intricacies is limited. So, hey, I’m listening.
Update: And don’t forget to read what Publicola has to say.
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