Article from Reason by Scott Shackford.

A Kentucky lawmaker wants to grant police in his state the power to detain a person for two hours if he or she declines to offer up identification or answer an officer’s questions while they’re investigating possible criminal activity. Lawyers? Miranda warnings? Forget about them.

The bill was introduced by state Sen. Stephen Meredith (R–Leitchfield), and civil rights lawyers are warning that it could open a big, nasty, easily abusable, unconstitutional can of worms.

The bill states that the person who is being detained by police in this process is not considered under arrest, which appears to be a mechanism to try to keep a person from demanding a lawyer. It could also get people to incriminate themselves by making them answer police questions or face temporary detention.

While police are obviously empowered to investigate criminal activity, this bill, SB 89, seems designed to give police the power to target individuals for harassment for the sketchiest of reasons. Meredith told the Lexington Herald-Leader that one of the incidents that inspired the bill (which he acknowledges was pushed forward at the urging of local police) was a man lingering outside an apartment complex, which made neighbors nervous. They called the police, but the man refused to answer their questions and left. They found out later that he had outstanding arrest warrants.

Read the entire article at Reason.

Image Credit: By Jamelle Bouie [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons