HIIBEL v. SIXTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT OF NEVADA, HUMBOLDT COUNTY

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
03-5554
Petitioner 
Larry D. Hiibel
Respondent 
Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, Humboldt County, et al.
Advocates
(argued the cause for Respondents, on behalf of the United States, as amicus curiae)
(argued the cause for Respondents)
(argued the cause for Petitioner)
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Facts of the Case 

Larry Hiibel was arrested and convicted in Nevada state court for failing to identify himself to a police officer who was investigating an assault. Nevada, and many other states, has a law that requires a person to tell an officer his name if asked. Hiibel challenged the conviction, claiming it violated his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself and his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches. The state intermediate court and Supreme Court rejected his argument in affirming the conviction.

Question 

Did Hiibel's arrest and conviction for not telling a police officer his name violate his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself and his Fourth Amendment right to be free from an unreasonable search?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, Humboldt County, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 4: Fourth Amendment

No. In a 5-to-4 opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Court ruled that the search did not violate the Fourth Amendment because it was based on reasonable suspicion (the police officer was investigating the assault, and Hiibel was nearby) and involved only a minimally intrusive question (his name). It also did not violate the Fifth Amendment because Hiibel never argued that telling the officer his name would actually incriminate him of any crime. Justice Kennedy wrote, "While we recognize petitioner's strong belief that he should not have to disclose his identity, the Fifth Amendment does not override the Nevada Legislature's judgment to the contrary absent a reasonable belief that the disclosure would tend to incriminate him."

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HIIBEL v. SIXTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT OF NEVADA, HUMBOLDT COUNTY. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 26 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2003/2003_03_5554>.
HIIBEL v. SIXTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT OF NEVADA, HUMBOLDT COUNTY, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2003/2003_03_5554 (last visited October 26, 2014).
"HIIBEL v. SIXTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT OF NEVADA, HUMBOLDT COUNTY," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 26, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2003/2003_03_5554.