I’d ask, “How is this still even a thing?” but given how backward our country has gone in the past few years, it is.
Edward Hasbrouck writes:
In a disturbing decision, a 3-judge panel of the the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the arrest of a driver who refused to show ID on demand of police at what was purportedly a “sobriety” checkpoint for motorists in Vallejo, California.
All charges against the driver, David P. Demarest, were dismissed before Mr. Demarest filed his Federal lawsuit against the police. The 9th Circuit opinion didn’t address whether any conviction would have withstood Constitutional scrutiny. But the 9th Circuit dismissed Mr. Demarest’s complaint against the police and the city of Vallejo for violating his civil rights by demanding that he show ID at a “sobriety” checkpoint without a warrant or probable cause to believe that he had committed any crime, and arresting him when he declined to show ID.
The tortured reasoning of the decision, Demarest v. City of Vallejo, No. 20-15872, decided August 16, 2022, hinges on the dubious and self-serving claim by the police that their “intent” wasn’t to use the “sobriety” checkpoint for general law enforcement purposes, that ID checks are an objectively permissible purpose for a checkpoint as long the subjective intent of the police wasn’t to operate a general law enforcement dragnet (as in fact it almost certainly was), and that the ID checks only minimally delayed most motorists beyond the delay that would have been occasioned by sobriety checks.
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