[ Kennedy ]
[ Stevens ]
[ Breyer ]
LARRY D. HIIBEL, PETITIONER v. SIXTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT OF NEVADA, HUMBOLDT COUNTY, et al.
ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF NEVADA
[June 21, 2004]
Justice Stevens, dissenting.
The Nevada law at issue in this case imposes a narrow duty to speak upon a specific class of individuals. The class includes only those persons detained by a police officer under circumstances which reasonably indicate that the person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime1persons who are, in other words, targets of a criminal investigation. The statute therefore is directed not at the public at large, but rather at a highly selective group inherently suspect of criminal activities. Albertson v. Subversive Activities Control Bd., 382 U.S. 70, 79 (1965).
Under the Nevada law, a member of the targeted class may not be compelled to answer any inquiry except a command that he identify himself.2 Refusal to identify oneself upon request is punishable as a crime.3 Presumably the statute does not require the detainee to answer any other question because the Nevada Legislature realized that the Fifth Amendment prohibits compelling the target of a criminal investigation to make any other statement. In my judgment, the broad constitutional right to remain silent, which derives from the Fifth Amendments guarantee that [n]o person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, U.S. Const., Amdt. 5,4 is not as circumscribed as the Court suggests, and does not admit even of the narrow exception defined by the Nevada statute.
[T]here can be no doubt that the Fifth Amendment privilege is available outside of criminal court proceedings and serves to protect persons in all settings in which their freedom of action is curtailed in any significant way from being compelled to incriminate themselves. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 467 (1966). It is a settled principle that the police have the right to request citizens to answer voluntarily questions concerning unsolved crimes, but they have no right to compel them to answer. Davis v. Mississipi, 394 U.S. 721, 727, n. 6 (1969). The protections of the Fifth Amendment are directed squarely toward those who are the focus of the governments investigative and prosecutorial powers. In a criminal trial, the indicted defendant has an unqualified right to refuse to testify and may not be punished for invoking that right. See Carter v. Kentucky, 450 U.S. 288, 299300 (1981). The unindicted target of a grand jury investigation enjoys the same constitutional protection even if he has been served with a subpoena. See Chavez v. Martinez, 538 U.S. 760, 767768 (2003). So does an arrested suspect during custodial interrogation in a police station. Miranda, 384 U.S., at 467.
There is no reason why the subject of
police interrogation based on mere suspicion, rather than
probable cause, should have any lesser protection. Indeed, we
have said that the Fifth
Amendments protections apply with equal force in the
context of Terry stops, see Terry v. Ohio,
392 U.S. 1 (1968),
where an officers inquiry must be reasonably
related in scope to the justification for [the stops]
The Court correctly observes that a
communication does not enjoy the Fifth Amendment
privilege unless it is testimonial. Although the Court
declines to resolve this question, ante, at 1011,
I think it clear that this case concerns a testimonial
communication. Recognizing that whether a communication is
testimonial is sometimes a difficult question,
Doe v. United States, 487 U.S. 201,
214215 (1988), we have stated generally that [i]t
is the extortion of information from the accused,
the attempt to force him to disclose the contents of his
own mind, that implicates the Self-Incrimination
Clause, id., at 211 (citations omitted). While
[t]he vast majority of verbal statements thus will be
testimonial and, to that extent at least, will fall within the
privilege, id., at 213214, certain acts and
physical evidence fall outside the privilege.5 In
all instances, we have afforded Fifth Amendment protec-
tion if the disclosure in question was being admitted because of its content rather than some other aspect of the communication.6
Considered in light of these precedents, the compelled statement at issue in this case is clearly testimonial. It is significant that the communication must be made in response to a question posed by a police officer. As we recently explained, albeit in the different context of the Sixth Amendments Confrontation Clause, [w]hatever else the term [testimonial] covers, it applies at a minimum to police interrogations. Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. ___, ___ (2004) (slip op., at 33). Surely police questioning during a Terry stop qualifies as an interrogation, and it follows that responses to such questions are testimonial in nature.
Rather than determining whether the communication at issue is testimonial, the Court instead concludes that the State can compel the disclosure of ones identity because it is not incriminating. Ante, at 11. But our cases have afforded Fifth Amendment protection to statements that are incriminating in a much broader sense than the Court suggests. It has long been settled that [the Fifth Amendments] protection encompasses compelled statements that lead to the discovery of incriminating evidence even though the statements themselves are not incriminating and are not introduced into evidence. United States v. Hubbell, 530 U.S. 27, 37 (2000). By incriminating we have meant disclosures that could be used in a criminal prosecution or could lead to other evidence that might be so used, Kastigar v. United States, 406 U.S. 441, 445 (1972)communications, in other words, that would furnish a link in the chain of evidence needed to prosecute the claimant for a federal crime, Hoffman v. United States, 341 U.S. 479, 486 (1951). Thus, [c]ompelled testimony that communicates information that may lead to incriminating evidence is privileged even if the information itself is not inculpatory. Hubbell, 530 U.S., at 38 (citing Doe, 487 U.S., at 208, n. 6).
Given a proper understanding of the category of incriminating communications that fall within the Fifth Amendment privilege, it is clear that the disclosure of petitioners identity is protected. The Court reasons that we should not assume that the disclosure of petitioners name would be used to incriminate him or that it would furnish a link in a chain of evidence needed to prosecute him. Ante, at 1213. But why else would an officer ask for it? And why else would the Nevada Legislature require its disclosure only when circumstances reasonably indicate that the person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime?7 If the Court is correct, then petitioners refusal to cooperate did not impede the police investigation. Indeed, if we accept the predicate for the Courts holding, the statute requires nothing more than a useless invasion of privacy. I think that, on the contrary, the Nevada Legislature intended to provide its police officers with a useful law enforcement tool, and that the very existence of the statute demonstrates the value of the information it demands.
A persons identity obviously bears informational and incriminating worth, even if the [name] itself is not inculpatory. Hubbell, 530 U.S., at 38. A name can provide the key to a broad array of information about the person, particularly in the hands of a police officer with access to a range of law enforcement databases. And that information, in turn, can be tremendously useful in a criminal prosecution. It is therefore quite wrong to suggest that a persons identity provides a link in the chain to incriminating evidence only in unusual circumstances. Ante, at 12.
The officer in this case told petitioner, in the Courts words, that he was conducting an investigation and needed to see some identification. Ante, at 2. As the target of that investigation, petitioner, in my view, acted well within his rights when he opted to stand mute. Accordingly, I respectfully dissent.
1. Nev. Rev. Stat. §171.123(1) (2003).
3. In this case, petitioner was charged with violating §199.280, which makes it a crime to willfully resis[t], dela[y] or obstruc[t] a public officer in discharging or attempting to discharge any legal duty of his office. A violation of that provision is a misdemeanor unless a dangerous weapon is involved.
5. A suspect may be made, for example, to provide a blood sample, Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757, 765 (1966), a voice exemplar, United States v. Dionisio, 410 U.S. 1, 7 (1973), or a handwriting sample, Gilbert v. California, 388 U.S. 263, 266267 (1967).
6. See Pennsylvania v. Muniz, 496 U.S. 582, 598599 (1990) (respondents answer to the birthday question was protected because the content of his truthful answer supported an inference that his mental faculties were impaired); Doe v. United States, 487 U.S. 201, 211, n. 10 (1988) (The content itself must have testimonial significance); Fisher v. United States, 425 U.S. 391, 410411 (1976) ([H]owever incriminating the contents of the accountants workpapers might be, the act of producing themthe only thing which the taxpayer is compelled to dowould not itself involve testimonial self-incrimination); Gilbert, 388 U.S., at 266267 (A mere handwriting exemplar, in contrast to the content of what is written, like the voice or body itself, is an identifying characteristic outside its protection); United States v. Wade, 388 U.S. 218, 223 (1967) ([I]t deserves emphasis that this case presents no question of the admissibility in evidence of anything Wade said or did at the lineup which implicates his privilege).
7. Nev. Rev. Stat. §171.123(1) (2003). The Court suggests that furnishing identification also allows the investigating officer to assess the threat to himself and others. See ante, at 8. But to the extent that officer or public safety is immediately at issue, that concern is sufficiently alleviated by the officers ability to perform a limited patdown search for weapons. See Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 2526 (1968).