If police ask who you are, do you have to say? Yes!

To answer the question I asked here, the Supreme Court says, “Yes!”

I’m still pretty torn on the issue, and it’s a sufficiently cloudy issue to divide the court 5 v 4. I think the dissenting opinion makes a compelling argument:

In a dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens says the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination must always shield a criminal suspect who is being questioned by police. Since police may only request the name of someone they find suspicious (under the upheld Nevada statute), that person is by definition a criminal suspect who may not be compelled to make statements that might incriminate him, Justice Stevens says.

This is pretty straight-forward and seems self-evident that the Fifth Amendment probably will apply. However, I just think it’s ridiculous that the government can’t even ask for the name of its own citizens. And realistically, by not providing a name, it only slows down the whole process because the government will probably find out who the individual is anyway.

So, in the end run, do I side with the Constitution or what seems to be common sense? Anybody got a coin?

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