A bill currently pending in the Kentucky Senate appears as if it could have been taken straight out of the Hollywood movie “Minority Report.” The bill, if passed, will give state law enforcement powers outside their usual pervy.
Simply put, law officials will be able to stop you on the street and require you to provide proof of your identity. If that isn’t bad enough, they can legally force you to explain your intentions as well. The wordage included in the bill is not setting well with and is receiving criticism from lawyers defending civil rights.
The lawyers who have chosen to speak up against the proposed legislation have pointed to the fact that the wording would lead to creating a device that would prove to be unconstitutional towards primarily minority-based groups.
Under the bill, Senate Bill 89, the entire law hinges on what the police officer suspects may happen, not so much what is happening. For example, if they see an individual in public, and the law enforcement official suspects that the individual is going to commit a crime, whether they are at the moment or not, the officer has the power to stop and detain that individual.
The officer can demand information such as the individual’s name, the address where they reside, their age, and to see their identification. The office can then legally, under the new bill, demand that the individual explains what they are currently doing, and it has to be “to the satisfaction of the officer.”
If the answers are not to the officer’s satisfaction, the individual can be legally held for up to two hours. However, the detention time would not be seen as the individual is under arrest, resulting in the fact that the individual does not have any rights to calling or obtaining an attorney.
The bill came about, according to Stephen Meredith, republican senator of Leitchfield, was approached by law enforcement official sin Grayson County citing several incidents in their locally that showed that there was a need for the bill.
Opponents and critics are speaking out against the bill introduced by Meredith state a double violation of rights—that of the 4th Amendment that protects against the unreasonable search and seizure of US citizens, as well as the 5th Amendment that protects against any self-incrimination.
Aaron Tucek, attached to the ACLU of Kentucky, offered that it is currently legal for officers to approach an individual and ask their name. Still, at the same time, the individual can refuse to respond. With this new bill, if passed, the individual will be bound to answer or be detained.
Is this just the first step of many that will whittle away at our inalienable rights?