This appeal presents the question whether appellant was validly convicted for refusing to comply with a policeman's demand that he identify himself pursuant to a provision of the Texas Penal Code which makes it a crime to refuse such identification on request. They observed appellant and another man walking in opposite directions away from one another in an alley. Although the two men were a few feet apart when they first were seen, Officer Venegas later testified that both officers believed the two had been together or were about to meet until the patrol car appeared. The car entered the alley, and Officer Venegas got out and asked appellant to identify himself and explain what he was [p49] doing there.
They observed appellant and another man walking in opposite directions away from one another in an alley. Although the two men were a few feet apart when they first were seen, Officer Venegas later testified that both officers believed the two had been together or were about to meet until the patrol car appeared.
The car entered the alley, and Officer Venegas got out and asked appellant to identify himself and explain what he was Page U.
The other man was not questioned or detained. The officer testified that he stopped appellant because the situation "looked suspicious, and we had never seen that subject in that area before.
However, the officers did not claim to suspect appellant of any specific misconduct, nor did they have any reason to believe that he was armed. Appellant refused to identify himself and angrily asserted that the officers had no right to stop him. Officer Venegas replied that he was in a "high drug problem area"; Officer Sotelo then "frisked" appellant, but found nothing.
When appellant continued to refuse to identify himself, he was arrested for violation of Tex. While being taken to the El Paso County Jail, appellant identified himself.
When he was booked, he was routinely searched a third time. The Page U. On appeal here, we noted probable jurisdiction. II When the officers detained appellant for the purpose of requiring him to identify himself, they performed a seizure of his person subject to the requirements of the Fourth Amendment.
In convicting appellant, the County Court necessarily found as a matter of fact that the officers "lawfully stopped" appellant.
The Fourth Amendment, of course, "applies to all seizures of the person, including seizures that involve only a brief detention short of traditional arrest. The reasonableness of seizures that are less intrusive than a traditional arrest, see Dunaway v.
New York, U. Brignoni-Ponce, supra at U. Consideration of the constitutionality of such seizures involves a Page U.
Prouse, supra at U. See United States v. The State does not contend that appellant was stopped pursuant to a practice embodying neutral criteria, but rather maintains that the officers were justified in stopping appellant because they had a "reasonable, articulable suspicion that a crime had just been, was being, or was about to be committed.
Ohio, supra at U. However, we have required the officers to have a reasonable suspicion, based on objective facts, that the individual is involved in criminal activity.
New Jersey, U. The fact that appellant was in a neighborhood frequented by drug users, standing alone, is not a basis for concluding that appellant himself was engaged in criminal conduct. When pressed, Officer Venegas acknowledged that the only reason he stopped appellant was to ascertain his identity.
The record suggests an understandable desire to assert a police presence; however, that purpose does not negate Fourth Amendment guarantees. The Texas statute under which appellant was stopped and required to identify himself is designed to advance a weighty social objective in large metropolitan centers: But even assuming that purpose is served to some degree by stopping and demanding identification from an individual without any specific basis for believing he is involved in criminal activity, the guarantees of the Fourth Amendment do not allow it.
When such a stop is not based on objective criteria, the risk of arbitrary and abusive police practices exceeds tolerable limits.
Prouse, supra, at U. Well, the Governmental interest to maintain the safety and security of the society and the citizens to live in the society, and there are certainly strong Governmental interests in that direction, and because of that, these interests outweigh the interests of an individual for a certain amount of intrusion upon his personal liberty.
But why should it be a crime to not answer? Again, I can only contend that, if an answer is not given, it tends to disrupt. What does it disrupt?Brown v. Texas (No. ) Argued: February 21, Decided: June 25, ___ Syllabus; Opinion, Burger; Syllabus.
Two police officers, while cruising near noon in a patrol car, observed appellant and another man walking away from one another in an . The opinion of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rests squarely on the interpretation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution in Coolidge v.
New Hampshire, U.S. (), and on Texas cases interpreting that decision, e. g., Howard v. United States Supreme Court BROWN v. TEXAS, () No. Argued: February 21, Decided: June 25, Two police officers, while cruising near noon in a patrol car, observed appellant and another man walking away from one another in an alley in .
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It has been accepted for inclusion in Supreme Court Case Files by an authorized administrator of Washington & Lee University School of Law Scholarly Commons. For more information, please [email protected] Brown was convicted in municipal court and fined.
He then exercised his right to a trial in the county court and moved for dismissal on the grounds that the Texas statue was unconstitutional under the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments.