Silent No More: Hiibel and Its Implications

By Christine Klein
October 01, 2004
In Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial Dist. Court of Nevada,  the Supreme Court held that a person, as to whom there is otherwise no probable cause for arrest, can be sent to jail merely for declining to identify himself to a police officer. This marked a watershed moment in Fourth and Fifth Amendment jurisprudence, although absent an understanding of the relevant Constitutional context, it may at first blush be difficult to see why. Perplexity arises even at the highest levels: during oral argument, one Justice wondered why any “responsible citizen” would refuse to give his name....