Michigan v. DeFillippo

LOCATION: Vineville Presbyterian Church

DOCKET NO.: 77-1680
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: State appellate court

CITATION: 443 US 31 (1979)
ARGUED: Feb 21, 1979
DECIDED: Jun 25, 1979

James C. Howarth - for respondent
Timothy A. Baughman - for petitioner

Facts of the case


Media for Michigan v. DeFillippo

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 21, 1979 in Michigan v. DeFillippo

Warren E. Burger:

We'll hear arguments first this morning in Michigan against DeFillippo.

Mr. Baughman you may proceed whenever you are ready.

Timothy A. Baughman:

Mr. Chief Justice and May it please the court.

Before I discuss the question of the constitutionality of the Detroit Stop and Identify ordinance I would first like to discuss whether the constitutionality of that ordinance is necessarily relevant to the ultimate issue in this case and that is whether or not the Phencyclidine seized from respondent is admissible against him in a trial for possession of phencyclidine and the facts are these.

On September 14th, 1976 at approximately 10:00 PM two Detroit police officers answered a radio run to investigate a complaint regarding two persons drunk in an alley by a garage.

As they pulled their scout car into the alley and questioned they observed respondent and a woman who was in the process of talking her pants down.

They drove on into the alley and while seated in the scout car directed questions to these persons.

The woman stated that she had to go to the bathroom.

Respondent was asked for identification and stated that he was Sergeant Mash.

He was asked for his badge number and he gave a number.

He was again asked for identification and this time he stated that he worked for Sergeant Mash.

At this point the female approached the scout car and she was asked for identification.

Her response was to dump the contents of her wallet through the open police car window on to the lap of the officer who was seated inside.

She was then arrested for disorderly conduct because of her intoxicated condition.

The respondent was arrested for a violation of the Detroit ordinance for refusing to identify himself.

He was searched and on his possession a quantity of Marijuana was found.

Also taken from him was a package of cigarettes and in that package the officer observed a tin foil packet.

That packet was ultimately determined to contain a quantity of Phencyclidine and it was for possession of phencyclidine that respondent was ultimately charged.

He was bound over for trial in Detroit Recorder's Court and a motion to quash the information was brought before the 12 judge and denied.

The Michigan Court of Appeals granted an interlocutory appeal and ordered that the information bequest and the case dismissed.

The Michigan --

William H. Rehnquist:

The Court of Detroit, the Court of General Criminal jurisdiction.

Timothy A. Baughman:

It handles all criminal matters in the city of Detroit both felony and misdemeanor.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Mr. Baughman you stated the one that petitioner who responded rather refused to identify himself he was arrested.

Timothy A. Baughman:

Yes that's correct.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

The ordinance doesn't provide for an arrest in that situation or is that considered to be an arrest.

Timothy A. Baughman:

It is our position that it is considered to be an arrest.

The ordinance declares that it as unlawful to refuse to identify oneself and an unlawful act under a general penalty provision of the Detroit City code calls for a 90 day penalty and a $500 fine.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

It's under the general code rather than the sentence that says, if the person is unable to provide reasonable evidence of his true identity the police officer may transport him to the nearest precinct in order to ascertain his identity, that's not what you are --

Timothy A. Baughman:

That's correct, I believe that is separate provision from the refusal to identify portion, I think that's made more clear in the ultimate revision of the ordinance by the Detroit City Counsel.