What if an outdated, impractical law was being enforced to the letter, even though the law had been declared unconstitutional by the courts? This is a real problem with A.R.S § 28-1595 (C).
A.R.S § 28-1595 (C) essentially requires that anyone, at any time, may be required to show identification to law enforcement upon request, even if they are not driving. This statute effectively criminalizes a failure to carry identification.
Not in America, one might thinks … and the Arizona courts have agreed, in this case.
After having duly considered a challenge to this statute, and in accordance with applicable constitutional principles, the Arizona Court of Appeals declared this statute “unconstitutionally vague” (State v. Akins, 75 P.3d 718, 2003), “because it fails to provide reasonable notice to passengers or others of what evidence of identity is required to avoid violation of the statute.”
While pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-2412, it is a class 2 misdemeanor to refuse to provide one’s truthful name after being advised that refusal to answer is unlawful, when one has been lawfully detained based on reasonable suspicion that one has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime, providing one’s true full name is all that is required.
Yet, we have recently discovered that police are still using this statute to arrest and jail citizens, prosecutors are still charging citizens with violating this statute, courts are entering criminal convictions against citizens for violating this statute, and judges are sentencing citizens for these convictions, even though these citizens have committed no crime!
A review of records provided by three local courts showed that at least 65 individuals have been cited or arrested, and at times prosecuted, and even convicted and sentenced or fined, for something that is not a crime in Arizona. It is likely that a more thorough check of the records of the hundreds of courts in Arizona would uncover perhaps thousands wrongfully convicted.
We are pursuing efforts to aid those wrongfully convicted of a non-crime. Kielsky Rike PLLC is providing legal representation to correct these wrongs, clear the records, and pursue restitution. If you or anyone you know has suffered a wrongful conviction of A.R.S § 28-1595 (C) or a similar unconstitutional city ordinances criminalizing the failure to carry identification for non-drivers, you may want to contact Kielsky Rike PLLC.
It is almost unthinkable that in this day and age innocent people may be convicted pursuant to a statute that has been unequivocally declared unconstitutional — yet it continues to happen. The police should know better, but if they make a mistake, the prosecutors should certainly know better, and if they also recklessly ignore the state of the law, well then judges should certainly know better before letting someone be convicted of a non-crime — and still it has happened.
Contact Kielsky Rike PLLC if you may have been victimized by this.