Defendant was in an adult bookstore where a police officer was hanging out because it had been robbed a few times. Suspecting defendant and his girlfriend were underage, the officer asked them for their driver’s licenses which he held for 10-15 seconds and handed them back. He called it in for verification but did not ask for wants or warrants. Dispatch radioed back that the young man’s was under suspension. He waited for them to get into a car and leave, and he pulled defendant over for driving on a suspended license. He moved to suppress that information. The court held that asking for ID under those circumstances was not a seizure. Also, people expect that LEOs will run any ID they have. State v. Backstrand, 354 Ore. 392, 313 P.3d 1084 (2013):
Police requests for identification are a subset within the general category of police requests for information or cooperation. But asking for and verifying identification is not unique to police-citizen encounters. Rather, as other courts have observed, in this day and age, requests for valid government-issued identification are commonplace in ordinary dealings in society, both between private citizens as well as in a variety of citizen-government contexts (such as entering public buildings). See, e.g., Golphin v. State, 945 So 2d 1174, 1189-90 (Fla 2006), cert den, 552 U.S. 810 (2007) ("[T]he act of identifying oneself through presentation of valid, government-issued identification [is] a necessary part of a panoply of human endeavors, from cashing a check to boarding an airplane.").14 Police officers, in their official dealings with citizens, likewise commonly seek to determine and verify with whom they are dealing for reasons that range from simply documenting the activities the officers engage in while on duty to ascertaining information that may assist in enforcement of the criminal laws. See, e.g., Fair, 353 Ore. at 614 (officer checked potential witness for outstanding warrants as means of verifying identification and ascertaining information relevant to investigation of domestic assault); State v. Ellenbecker, 159 Wis 2d 91, 98, 464 NW2d 427, 430 (1990) (where it is reasonable for officer to ask for license, running status check on license carries out "deterrent function of the law").
14 See also State v. Martin, 2011-0082, p 9 (La 10/25/11); 79 So 3d 951, 957 (individual is "practically immobilized" in modern society without adequate identification); People v. Jackson, 39 P3d 1174, 1189 (Colo 2002) ("[t]he need for identification is pervasive in today's society"), abrogated on other grounds by Brendlin v. California, 551 U.S. 249, 259, 127 S Ct 2400, 168 L Ed 2d 132 (2007).
Until now, this court has not been asked to decide — and has not in fact decided — whether an officer effectively seizes an individual simply by asking for an individual's identification. Where the issue is that straightforward — based on the request alone and nothing more — the circumstance comes well within the bounds of a "mere encounter," which, as we held in Holmes, police remain free to have with citizens without implicating Article I, section 9. 311 Ore. at 410. Asking for identification is exactly the kind of interaction that Holmes contemplated — a request for information and a citizen's cooperation. Id. Thus, we agree with the United States Supreme Court, which has held for purposes of the Fourth Amendment that an officer's questions relating to identity or a request for identification do not result in a seizure unless the circumstances of the encounter are "so intimidating as to demonstrate that a reasonable person would have believed he was not free to leave if he had not responded." INS v. Delgado, 466 U.S. 210, 216-17, 104 S Ct 1758, 80 L Ed 2d 247 (1984).15 For purposes of Article I, section 9, our conclusion is the same: A mere request for identification made by an officer in the course of an otherwise lawful police-citizen encounter does not, in and of itself, result in a seizure.
. . .
In combination, Warner, Painter, and Hall confirm, at least implicitly, our holding today. Police remain free to approach citizens and to ask for or impart information and to seek their cooperation. Asking a citizen to identify himself or herself and to show police a formal piece of identification is a form of cooperation and involves the kind of information that, as a general proposition, police are free to request. But when the content of the questions, the manner of asking them, or other actions that police take (along with the circumstances in which they take them) would convey to a reasonable person that the police are exercising their authority to coercively detain the citizen, then the encounter rises to the level of a seizure, the lawfulness of which must be analyzed as such.
The purely legal issue that remains is whether verification of identification is a further circumstance that elevates a mere encounter to a seizure. We see no principled basis for concluding that, when an officer checks the validity of a proffered identity or piece of identification, such an action per se conveys to a reasonable person — who is not otherwise restrained and who has willingly tendered the information to the officer — that the officer is now exercising his or her authority to coercively restrain the person's liberty or freedom of movement. To be sure, as we have already discussed, a person tendering identification to an officer may not subjectively feel comfortable refusing the officer's request. Instead, for any number of personal reasons or instincts, the person may be unwilling to decline the officer's request. Those internalized motivations and feelings, however, are not the test for whether there is a seizure under Article I, section 9. A person who turns over identification to a law enforcement officer reasonably would expect that the officer will take steps to verify its validity. For the officer to do so does not objectively convey an exercise of the officer's authority to restrain the person's liberty or freedom of movement. The circumstance is akin to when a person gives valid consent to search. Part and parcel with giving consent is a reasonable person's expectation that he or she will likely either need or want to stand by while the officer performs the search. The person who waits while a consent search is completed is not thereby seized for purposes of Article I, section 9. So, too, with a person who, in a noncoercive setting, gives an officer his or her identification for the officer's examination. The fact that the officer conducts that examination is not, in and of itself, a basis to conclude that the otherwise noncoercive encounter has become a coercive restraint on the person's liberty.
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"If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn't, and they don't."
"Love work; hate mastery over others; and avoid intimacy with the government."
—Shemaya, in the Thalmud
"A system of law that not only makes certain conduct criminal, but also lays
down rules for the conduct of the authorities, often becomes complex in its
application to individual cases, and will from time to time produce imperfect
results, especially if one's attention is confined to the particular case at
bar. Some criminals do go free because of the necessity of keeping
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and enforcing a Bill of Rights. This country is built on the assumption that
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safer if the Constitution is strictly enforced."
—Williams v. Nix, 700 F. 2d 1164, 1173 (8th Cir. 1983) (Richard Sheppard Arnold, J.), rev'd Nix v. Williams, 467 US. 431 (1984).
"The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing
can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws,
or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence."
—Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 659 (1961).
Any costs the exclusionary rule are costs imposed directly by the Fourth Amendment.
—Yale Kamisar, 86 Mich.L.Rev. 1, 36 n. 151 (1987).
"There have been powerful hydraulic pressures throughout our history that
bear heavily on the Court to water down constitutional guarantees and give the
police the upper hand. That hydraulic pressure has probably never been greater
than it is today."
— Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 39 (1968) (Douglas, J., dissenting).
"The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their
—Entick v. Carrington, 19 How.St.Tr. 1029, 1066, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (C.P. 1765)
"It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have
frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people. And
so, while we are concerned here with a shabby defrauder, we must deal with his
case in the context of what are really the great themes expressed by the Fourth
—United States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 69 (1950) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting)
"The course of true law pertaining to searches and seizures, as enunciated
here, has not–to put it mildly–run smooth."
—Chapman v. United States, 365 U.S. 610, 618 (1961) (Frankfurter, J., concurring).
"A search is a search, even if it happens to disclose nothing but the
bottom of a turntable."
—Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 325 (1987)
"For the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly
exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth
Amendment protection. ... But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in
an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected."
—Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967)
“Experience should teach us to be most on guard to
protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born
to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded
rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men
of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”
—United States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1925) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)
“Liberty—the freedom from unwarranted
intrusion by government—is as easily lost through insistent nibbles by
government officials who seek to do their jobs too well as by those whose purpose
it is to oppress; the piranha can be as deadly as the shark.”
—United States v. $124,570, 873 F.2d 1240, 1246 (9th Cir. 1989)
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But if you try sometimes / You just might find / You get what you need."
—Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
"In Germany, they first came for the communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for
the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Catholic. Then they came
for me–and by that time there was nobody left to speak up."
—Martin Niemöller (1945) [he served seven years in a concentration camp]
“You know, most men would get discouraged by
now. Fortunately for you, I am not most men!”
—Pepé Le Pew
"There is never enough time, unless you are serving it."
"The point of the Fourth Amendment, which often is not grasped by zealous officers, is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime."
—Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14 (1948)