Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Court lets cops hassle couples

The Supreme Court in Hiibel v. Nevada just ruled 5-4 that a suspect has to identify himself to a Nevada police officer investigating a crime, even if he is not under arrest. (Actually, if he is under arrest, he can remain silent under the Miranda rules.)

This might be reasonable if the cops were fighting real crimes. But the whole premise of the case was that the police need to monitor and log minor domestic disputes where no one makes a complaint. Some busybody had claimed that Hiibel had some sort of fight with his wife or girlfriend, and the police insisted on intervening even tho all appeared well when they arrived on the scene.

Conventional wisdom says police need to intervene into domestic disputes, even if the wife is not complaining. People point out how the cops didn't do much when Nicole Simpson called 911, and a couple of years later O.J. stabbed her to death.

I don't buy it. If no one complains, then the cops should butt out. We already have no-fault divorce, in which any wife can walk out of any marriage at any time and for any reason. We have restraining orders, in which bitter ex-wives and ex-girlfriends can make sure that they won't be bothered. We don't need cops going around busting up ongoing marriages.

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