Refusing To Provide Pedigree Information

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Vesselin Dittrich, 64 and speaks with an accent, is an American citizen and resident of Hoboken, New Jersey. He was sitting on a PATH (Port Authority) train in the Hoboken station looking at a heavily tattooed woman. She objected to his staring and asked him to move to another car. He refused. She threatened to call the police and, overhearing this, the conductor summoned the Port Authority police.

After an officer spoke with the woman, the officer informed Dittrich there would be no charges but requested identification. Dittrich did not want to give it. According to Dittrich, the officer told him he would be charged with obstruction. Dittrich gave his name and address. The officer then asked what country he was from. When he refused to answer claiming the question was irrelevant, the officer insisted, and he refused again. The officer then handcuffed Dittrich and took him to the police station where he was issued a summons.

The summons accuses him of disorderly conduct “by causing public inconvenience and annoyance and refusing to provide pedigree info.”

The implication is that either every member of the public was inconvenienced and annoyed, or the inconvenience and annoyance took place in public instead of in private.

Dittrich was offered a reduction to a municipal ordinance violation if he pleaded guilty, but he refused. Disorderly conduct carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1000 fine. At one hearing, the prosecutor told the judge he would like to see Dittrich spend time behind bars.

According to the ACLU:

Q: Do I have to answer questions asked by law enforcement officers?
A: No. You have the constitutional right to remain silent.

In the case of State v. Camillo, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, ruled:

In this appeal, the question presented is whether defendant’s refusal to provide his name, date of birth, and social security number to a state trooper who required the information to prepare an incident report constituted an obstruction of the administration of law pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1a.   We conclude that under the facts of this case it did not, and consequently we reverse defendant’s March 24, 2004 conviction of that offense.

Clearly, Dittrich, who is acting as his own lawyer, was arrested for asserting his constitutional rights.

H/T: Hudson Reporter, NY Times.

29 thoughts on “Refusing To Provide Pedigree Information”

  1. I’m not so ready to predict a happy ending. Too many stories of moms going to prison for lying about food stamps and homeless young men being beaten to death by cops. Nal, I hope you will follow-up.

  2. “Shady_Grady
    1, December 4, 2011 at 10:01 am

    She called the police because someone was staring at her?
    Why did this incident ever reach this level?”

    Authorities have learned they can control society easier by teaching everyone to be subservient to authority. As part of this we have societal policies to hate on men, and consider almost anything to be a threat, or harassment, or even violence.

    There are well respected websites that encourage women to become affronted by mere looks from others.

    There are also well respected websites that encourage the anonymous posting of photographs of purported harassers with tales of their alleged perversions, and do not allow rebuttable or take down.

    Have you participated in the hatred and even oppression of men lately? If not, why not?

  3. Don’t take the trains that often,but I am familiar with the Hoboken Terminal.Kind of a strange place espescially early in the morning just before rush hour time.

  4. “…but the fact that it got to this point is an indication where we are heading.” -rafflaw


  5. We shouldn’t forget that the cop had the authority to do nothing and his superiors had the authority to not bring in the defendant and the prosecutor has a boss who should have corrected this obvious miscarriage of justice. Mespo is right that the Constitution will probably win in the long run, but the fact that it got to this point is an indication where we are heading.

  6. Hooray for Mr. Dittrich for standing up for his rights. I wonder what the hell this prosecutor was thinking give the well-known tendency of same to dismiss clearly minor cases to clear caseloads. As for the tattooed lady in my aged opinion anyone that gets numerous tattoos and exposes them while in public, is exhibiting exhibitionist behavior that of course invites staring. Why else get a tattoo if not to exhibit it, except if done on or near certain body parts meant to be seen only by intimate partners. Perhaps her discomfit wasn’t his staring but the look of disapproval on his face. As to the police officer, this is clearly an issue of being upset by Mr. Dittich’s refusing to being abject in his presence. All it would have take to resolve this was a brief conversation and yet the officer not getting his due, turned it into an unnecessary confrontation.

  7. I like this guy and wish him well in his upcoming court appearance. We could do with more new citizens like Mr. Dittrich.

  8. Correction…

    SB: You too…, AY… (superfluous commas this Sunday morning…)…

  9. You, too, AY.

    Regarding, “remember take off the tats before you go outside”: 🙂

  10. Great point mespo….remember take off the tats before you go outside….


    Good to see you today…

  11. I think a person wearing tattoos invites the staring and that this cop apparently had very little to do that day. Mr. Dittrich will most likely “walk” vindicating the constitution and also giving the public a glimpse into just what kind of a justice-adverse idiot this prosecutor’s statements portray him to be. While Mr. Dittrich will suffer some inconvenience in defense of his rights, no one ever said that freedom would be easy. Thus Mr. Dittrich wins; the Constitution wins; and the good citizenry of Hoboken who elect their prosecutor wins.

    I call this a win-win-win and am looking for a downside. Good story, Nal.

  12. One has to wonder if they read him his Miranda rights at the time of his arrest.? The one where the first sentence is: “You have the right to remain silent.”

    If they did, whoever read it was not paying attention or has serious reading comprehension problems.

  13. Sometimes words escape me….I think the Prosecutor should be slapped a little if they really said that….but sometimes practicality of the situation would give most folks an inclination to at least cooperate with a reasonable request…but then again…I can see where the private citizen is coming from…There are many more questions I have than answers….


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