California ID Cards

The following was a post to the Libernet e-mailing list by Jeff Chan in the mid-1990s:

Saw on the TV news last night that the California state supreme court has ruled that you can be arrested for not carrying ID. That's right, if you can't produce an ID the police in California now have the discretion to arrest you on the spot. The news people described this as based on an interpretation of the Vehicle Code.

According to the report, this new ruling applies even if you're not driving. In theory if you went jogging without your wallet and were stopped for jaywalking, not being able to produce ID could land you in jail. The story I saw was on KTVU Channel 2.

According to the TV report California is the only state with this rule and some civil rights lawyers said they would take it to Federal Supreme Court. Note that this makes us the same as present day Germany (and probably other countries too). (Someone else cited South Africa's pass law.)