November 23, 2005
The ACLU of Colorado announced today that its attorneys will defend Deborah Davis, a Denver-area passenger on a public RTD bus who declined to produce ID and was subsequently arrested, handcuffed, and removed from the bus on September 26 by Homeland Security officers at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood. Ms. Davis is scheduled to appear in federal district court on December 9 to face criminal charges stemming from her failure to show ID.
“Ms. Davis was not getting off the bus at the Federal Center and had no intention of entering any federal building,” said Gail Johnson, an ACLU cooperating attorney who will defend Ms. Davis in court. “Our client believes that the federal government had no right to demand that she produce identification as a condition of riding to work on a public bus that happens to pass through the Federal Center. She is willing to risk going to jail in order to take a stand as a matter of principle.”
The arrest occurred as Ms. Davis was commuting to work on RTD Route #100, which crosses through the Federal Center property. When the bus stopped at the entrance, a guard boarded and demanded that each passenger produce a photo ID for inspection. Ms. Davis, a 50-year-old mother of four children, one of whom is a U.S. Army soldier fighting in Iraq, has said that she refused to produce ID because she believes the government had no right to demand it. Federal law enforcement authorities held her for two hours, and she later received a formal notice to appear in court.
“We don’t believe that the federal government has the legal authority to put Deborah Davis in jail, or even to make her pay a fine, for declining the government’s request that she produce photo identification,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. “Ms. Davis was commuting to her workplace and had no intention of exiting the bus at the Federal Center. She was doing nothing wrong, and she was not even suspected of doing anything wrong. Passengers are not required to carry passports or any other identification documents in order to ride to work on a public bus line.”
Also representing Ms. Davis as an ACLU volunteer attorney is Norman Mueller. Both Mueller and Johnson are with Haddon, Morgan, Mueller, Jordan, Mackey & Foreman, P.C.
More information about Deborah Davis and her case is available on her own web site at www.papersplease.org/davis.