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TV strip search brings reversal of man's drug conviction [Indiana]
AP ^ | Apr 8 2005

Posted on 04/08/2005 10:32:58 AM PDT by george wythe

An appeals court threw out a man's cocaine conviction because his strip search was filmed by a camera crew for a television program.

The Indiana Court of Appeals said in a ruling issued Thursday that filming Andra Thompson's strip-search was "unprofessional and unreasonable."

During a 2003 sting operation at a motel, officers strip searched Thompson and found cocaine stuffed between his buttocks.

[snip]

At one point, the camera focused for several seconds on Thompson's naked posterior while he was bent over in handcuffs.

"Where should the media line be drawn?" Judge Edward Najam wrote. "We will not sanction such conduct, which demeans the suspect and degrades the entire legal process."

(Excerpt) Read more at fox41.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: donutwatch; leo; privacy; wodlist
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1 posted on 04/08/2005 10:33:00 AM PDT by george wythe
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To: george wythe

Bad boys, bad boys, what ya gonna do?


2 posted on 04/08/2005 10:34:17 AM PDT by Jersey Republican Biker Chick (People too weak to follow their own dreams, will always find a way to discourage yours.)
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To: george wythe

I dont understand this... fault the police or the media who filmed him, and discipline them if they must... but the guy STILL HAD COCAINE IN HIS BUTT


3 posted on 04/08/2005 10:34:42 AM PDT by Mr. K ("All your base are belong to us" (gosh I miss that))
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To: george wythe
cocaine stuffed between his buttocks

LIke the butt map from "3 kings".

4 posted on 04/08/2005 10:35:34 AM PDT by BenLurkin (O beautiful for patriot dream - that sees beyond the years)
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To: george wythe

Cut the guy some slack, it's not like he was a cokehead. :)


5 posted on 04/08/2005 10:36:41 AM PDT by WV Mountain Mama (My kids are super cool, I hear they get that from their mom!)
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To: george wythe
found cocaine stuffed between his buttocks


6 posted on 04/08/2005 10:37:16 AM PDT by KidGlock (Get in the pit and try to love some one)
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To: WV Mountain Mama

Where should the 'line' be drawn.....on the mirror hehehe.


7 posted on 04/08/2005 10:37:46 AM PDT by bicyclerepair (Help I'm surrounded by RATS (South. Florida))
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To: Mr. K
but the guy STILL HAD COCAINE IN HIS BUTT

Oh MY!

8 posted on 04/08/2005 10:38:28 AM PDT by Protagoras (Christ is risen.)
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To: Mr. K
but the guy STILL HAD COCAINE IN HIS BUTT

He wouldn't have if the cameras hadn't been there!!! The cameras made the coke appear in his butt.

9 posted on 04/08/2005 10:38:31 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If You're Not A Part Of The Solution, There's Good Money To Be Made In Prolonging The Problem.)
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To: george wythe

"We will not sanction such conduct, which demeans the suspect and degrades the entire legal process."

I'm sorry, but the Judges in this country have already degraded the entire Legal Process. The Camera Crews are about 100 years too late.


10 posted on 04/08/2005 10:38:38 AM PDT by Leatherneck_MT (3-7-77 (No that's not a Date))
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To: george wythe

IMHO, the news crew was not unreasonable. According to my brother (a city police officer) the two common places for prople to carry 'rocks' of crack cocaine are in their mouths and between their butt cheeks. Grossed him out the first time he saw a dealer pull a rock out of his pants and the buyer stash it in his mouth.


11 posted on 04/08/2005 10:39:31 AM PDT by RebelBanker (To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!)
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To: george wythe

Has anyone researched this case more or heard more about it? I'm curious as to the legal grounds--the search (and a conviction resting on it) could be rendered illegal if the police didn't have probable cause or consent to search, but how would the presence of a camera affect that? I'm just wondering what this judge did to try to link this decision to some legal theory. As judges usually don't want to get reversed on appeal, it would be odd for this judge to not even attempt to couch this decision in terms of an illegal search.


12 posted on 04/08/2005 10:40:26 AM PDT by VRWCisme
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To: Mr. K

I used to work for an episodic law enforcement show. (Im sure the theme song is in your head) You would be surprised how many of those fools, not only sign releases, but when we were called as witnesses, we were told that what was shot, was not actually what was seen. This show that I worked on has been around for a bizzilion years, but trust me, what is seen on tv, isnt necc, what was shot on location (it has been edited to what the City Atty and Cheif of Police want seen)I know of quite a few drug convictions thrown out for tampering with evidence.


13 posted on 04/08/2005 10:40:46 AM PDT by duck duck goose
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To: bicyclerepair

See post 11, I don't want near that line.


14 posted on 04/08/2005 10:40:46 AM PDT by WV Mountain Mama (My kids are super cool, I hear they get that from their mom!)
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To: RebelBanker

"prople" => "people"

Spell check is your friend, dum-dum.


15 posted on 04/08/2005 10:41:04 AM PDT by RebelBanker (To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!)
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To: agrace

I guess the judge meant he didn't want anyone ELSE to demean to legal system, just judges.


16 posted on 04/08/2005 10:41:19 AM PDT by lightingguy (Sorry, I got distracted)
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To: Mr. K
fault the police or the media who filmed him, and discipline them if they must... but the guy STILL HAD COCAINE IN HIS BUTT

LOL!

I know it sounds ridiculous, but that's the rule of law. A cop who breaks into a drug dealer's house without a warrant may find drugs, but he may not use those drugs against the drug dealer, unless the cop finds a sympathetic judge.

17 posted on 04/08/2005 10:41:53 AM PDT by george wythe
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To: duck duck goose
we were told that what was shot, was not actually what was seen.

Are you saying that the 'reality' cop shows have some scenes that are staged?

18 posted on 04/08/2005 10:44:38 AM PDT by george wythe
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To: lightingguy

Hey thanks for the ping to this, I now have the most delightful lunchtime visual.


19 posted on 04/08/2005 10:46:45 AM PDT by agrace (All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen. - Ralph Waldo Emerson)
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To: Mr. K
I dont understand this... fault the police or the media who filmed him, and discipline them if they must... but the guy STILL HAD COCAINE IN HIS BUTT

I started working in Amateur Photography in the 50's. I learned early, that if you want to ever sell an image, or use it in any way, you must have the person's permission.

If you watch Cops" on TV, you will see many of the faces obscured.

Butt cheeks aren't game. That is an invasion of his rights. They are his cheeks. It is cheaper to set him free, and wait to catch him again. He'd have a good case against the city and photog. He's gonna be there again. I'd bet a thousand bucks on it!

(Did you know that it has been reported, "more than 97% of hundred dollar bills have cocaine traces on them"?)


20 posted on 04/08/2005 10:46:51 AM PDT by pageonetoo (You'll spot their posts soon enough!)
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To: george wythe; MeekOneGOP; PhilDragoo; Happy2BMe; potlatch; ntnychik; Smartass; DoughtyOne; ...

Say "cheese"!

The famous "Butt-Monkey" exception defense......


-- Laura Ingraham, ex-attorney-at-microphone

21 posted on 04/08/2005 10:47:31 AM PDT by devolve (WWII : http://pro.lookingat.us/RealHeros.html James Bond - 007 : http://pro.lookingat.us/007.5.html)
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To: george wythe
During a 2003 sting operation at a motel, officers strip searched Thompson and found cocaine stuffed between his buttocks.

Cocaine is bad. Crack cocaine is worse (and stinkier too).

22 posted on 04/08/2005 10:49:09 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (Blackwell for Governor 2006: hated by the 'Rats, feared by the RINOs.)
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To: Mr. K

"I dont understand this... fault the police or the media who filmed him, and discipline them if they must... but the guy STILL HAD COCAINE IN HIS BUTT"

Are you sure it wasn't just some crack?


23 posted on 04/08/2005 10:50:35 AM PDT by flashbunny (Every thought that enters my head requires its own vanity thread.)
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To: george wythe

No , not staged, just raw footage that is shot, is obtained by the city, which may or may not make it to air. I worked on a show in Albequerque in 2000 and shot a stabbing call (had 3 camera guys with me, because it was around the holidays and we wanted to get through our schedule to have time off to be with our families) So because I had 3 cameras rolling,(we had 3 various angles) what should have been a stabbing call and a harboring fugitive call, ended up being a domestic violence call(which was never actually declared a domestic violence call) that made it to air. Some cities do want want certain calls to be aired because of the decline in population, etc. Its sad but it is happening everyday. Some of those shows, when the police officers offer commentary, it is either the next day or some commentary is taken out. Its all in the editing.


24 posted on 04/08/2005 10:51:39 AM PDT by duck duck goose
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To: devolve

Why do you think they call it "crack"


25 posted on 04/08/2005 10:51:50 AM PDT by Crankbait (I put the FUN in Dysfunctional)
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To: george wythe

They should have thrown it out.


26 posted on 04/08/2005 10:53:38 AM PDT by biblewonk ("Ah yyeah, I'm gonna go ahead and have you move to the smokey back room")
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To: duck duck goose

I meant that some cities do NOT want certain call aired because of rise in crime and decreased populatin. Sorry.


27 posted on 04/08/2005 10:54:54 AM PDT by duck duck goose
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To: duck duck goose

And I still cant spell. hahaha


28 posted on 04/08/2005 10:55:27 AM PDT by duck duck goose
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To: VRWCisme
As judges usually don't want to get reversed on appeal, it would be odd for this judge to not even attempt to couch this decision in terms of an illegal search.

I don't know about the merits of the case, but Indiana's judicial system is interesting in that the Indiana Supreme Court grants transfer about, oh, never, so the Courts of Appeals are pretty much the courts of last resort in Indiana. Obviously, the Supreme Court takes cases, but seriously, the number is very very low, even compared to other states.

This issue is pretty much a yawn, so I doubt seriously that it would go up in Indiana.

29 posted on 04/08/2005 10:56:16 AM PDT by Publius Valerius
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To: george wythe; KidGlock
I thought that's why they had that pixel technology so we don't see it when they play it on TV.
30 posted on 04/08/2005 10:57:19 AM PDT by OXENinFLA
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To: Publius Valerius

Ok, that explains a lot. Usually when there will be review by a higher court, the court issuing the decision must fit it into the legal framework to avoid sending up a red flag. But if this court knows there is little chance of getting reversed, they can extend the illegality of a search to cover the presence of a camera that had nothing to do with the legality in the first place. It doesn't fit the 4th Amendment caselaw framework, but I guess for them that doesn't matter.


31 posted on 04/08/2005 10:59:17 AM PDT by VRWCisme
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To: KarlInOhio
Cocaine is bad. Crack cocaine is worse (and stinkier too).

The officer had to wear gloves:

Officer Gard then took Thompson into the bathroom to search him. Officer Gard pulled down Thomspon’s pants and ordered him to bend over. The officer discovered a package of cocaine in between Thompson’s buttocks.

Officer Gard had to wait for Officer Lee to bring him a pair of rubber gloves so that he could remove the package of cocaine. Officers later determined that the cocaine weighed more than three grams.


32 posted on 04/08/2005 11:00:56 AM PDT by george wythe
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To: george wythe
What kind of idiot would film this? It runs afoul (no pun intended) of every law enforcement and privacy principal on record. *ssh*le (again, no pun intended) TV producers compromise a perfectly legitimately bust (forgive the half-way pun.)

These TV producers are such morons. "If it's there, film it. If it's on film, run it." I hope the sensational value made the cost of their fines and attorney costs worth it.

33 posted on 04/08/2005 11:02:26 AM PDT by N. Beaujon (Carter sucks.)
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To: VRWCisme
doesn't fit the 4th Amendment caselaw framework

Well, in fairness, we don't know if it does or not. But besides that, the state constitutions can always grant MORE protection than the US Constitution in terms of civil liberties. The US constitution is just a floor for rights.

34 posted on 04/08/2005 11:02:30 AM PDT by Publius Valerius
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To: Leatherneck_MT
. . . the Judges in this country have already degraded the entire Legal Process.

Exactly so. Wonder how many other crimes the druggie will commit now that he is free to go.

35 posted on 04/08/2005 11:02:41 AM PDT by madprof98
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To: N. Beaujon

I couldnt agree with you more. But you would be so surprised at how many cities want this show in their town.


36 posted on 04/08/2005 11:06:20 AM PDT by duck duck goose
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To: VRWCisme
Opinion here:
Andra Thompson v. State of Indiana
The short version is that it is not reasonable to conduct a search with a civilian TV camera, especially if the TV film is broadcast to the whole world, showing a person's private parts.
37 posted on 04/08/2005 11:06:46 AM PDT by george wythe
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To: Publius Valerius

True, which is what I was getting at with my first question (the legal basis for the decision.) But it sounds like that doesn't even matter for this court, whether the state has language going past the federal protections or not.


38 posted on 04/08/2005 11:07:10 AM PDT by VRWCisme
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To: pageonetoo
I learned early, that if you want to ever sell an image, or use it in any way, you must have the person's permission

That's odd. My local sheriff's department posts mug shots of recently arrested folks. I can see how he might have a case for suing for his image being used without permission, but I don't see what it has to do with the conviction.
39 posted on 04/08/2005 11:08:14 AM PDT by andyk
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To: duck duck goose

Thank you for explaining some of the inside decision-making process in these reality cop shows.


40 posted on 04/08/2005 11:09:00 AM PDT by george wythe
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To: george wythe

For the record, when I was first hired, this show was already in production. I had no say in what was produced, but yet my name was on everything. After being called to testify a few times, and traveling 30 cities in 52 weeks, it got old. Real OLD.


41 posted on 04/08/2005 11:12:29 AM PDT by duck duck goose
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To: VRWCisme
Has anyone researched this case more or heard more about it? I'm curious as to the legal grounds--the search (and a conviction resting on it) could be rendered illegal if the police didn't have probable cause or consent to search, but how would the presence of a camera affect that? I'm just wondering what this judge did to try to link this decision to some legal theory. As judges usually don't want to get reversed on appeal, it would be odd for this judge to not even attempt to couch this decision in terms of an illegal search.

You make a very interesting point. I'd be interested in reading the opinion. Can anyone find it? Ruth Bader Ginsburg has written countless opinions where her "test" is simply that something "shocks the conscience." She is a moron and so are her tests but they stand. She typically applies them to Gender discrimination and police conduct cases, I could pull a few of her cases for you but I'd hate to have you lose your lunch. (She truly is awful.)

My guess however is that they used this standard to justify throwing out the conviction (e.g. a violation of one of the crackheads- no pun intended- constitutional rights.)

But, still, I would like to read this judge's opinion.

42 posted on 04/08/2005 11:13:17 AM PDT by N. Beaujon (Carter sucks.)
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To: george wythe

Sounds like he needs some instruction in proper snorting technique. Sounds like he's doing it way too hard.


43 posted on 04/08/2005 11:15:03 AM PDT by ItsForTheChildren
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To: VRWCisme
"As judges usually don't want to get reversed on appeal,..."

You've obviously never heard of the U.S. Ninth Circus Court of Appeals!
LOL!

44 posted on 04/08/2005 11:20:54 AM PDT by Redbob
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To: pageonetoo

There is a difference between editorial usage and commercial use of images. If they used the images on "Cops" which is considered a commerical entertainment program, a release is needed. If the image was used on a news program, a release generally will not be needed.

However, if the image is used to defame or degrade the subject, a release is usually needed to protect from libel or defamation lawsuits. In this case, you can assume that this would have defamed and/or degraded the subject as they pulled the cocaine from his buttocks on TV.

The real issue is the way the police department allowed the camera crew to accompany them during the search. Courts have ruled that the Police have no authority to allow camera crews to accompany them into private property without the owner or resident's permission.
---

To answer another post, this does not affect in any way photos taken for court records like mugshots which are considered part of a court record and subject to open records laws. If your mugshot has been taken, it is open season. However, it can't be used with inaccurate information that will defame. i.e. using the mug with "John Smith arrested for disorderly conduct on April,8 2005" is OK if that is accurate. Running the mug with the headline, "John Smith: Drunk, Peeping Pervert," is going to get a newspaper in a boatload of trouble.


45 posted on 04/08/2005 11:27:21 AM PDT by MediaMole
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To: AppyPappy
The cameras made the coke appear in his butt.

Wow! That FX is great!

46 posted on 04/08/2005 11:32:07 AM PDT by Navy Patriot
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To: N. Beaujon
I would like to read this judge's opinion.

From the opinion:

The strip search of Thompson differed from the strip searches in Williams and Cofield. Thompson was required to bend over with his bare buttocks exposed and raised in the air, while the officers allowed the camerawoman to observe and film him in that position, for a program to be aired on national television. As we have stated, the camerawoman stood at the threshold of the motel bathroom door and filmed Thompson’s exposed buttocks as Officer Gard stood over him while Officer Lee walked outside to retrieve rubber gloves. During that time, the camerawoman zoomed in on Thompson’s bare buttocks for several seconds.

Where should the media line be drawn? We think the line should be drawn here. Otherwise, the next case might well involve a civilian filming or photographing a strip search incident to arrest where the contraband is found and removed from an anal or vaginal cavity. Where, as here, the search occurs in a private place and the police are in complete control of the circumstances surrounding the search, we can find no justification for law enforcement to allow a civilian to film or photograph the strip search of a suspect naked below the waist. We conclude that, under these circumstances, the strip search was not only unprofessional but was unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.


47 posted on 04/08/2005 11:34:09 AM PDT by george wythe
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To: george wythe
What a sickening case. The undercover cop talks to the guy on the phone, and the guy says he'll come to the motel to sell her some drugs. So he gets to the motel, and as soon as he arrives they arrest him--before any drugs are even witnessed. *Then* they take him into the bathroom for the butt-check. Doesn't sound to me like they even had cause to arrest him before the search. And even if they *did* have cause to arrest him before any drugs were visible, wouldn't the police station be the proper location for searching his ass? Seems pretty obvious that they just wanted to get the butt search on tape, otherwise they would've done what normal cops do, i.e., wait for the guy to pull out the drugs and *then* arrest him.
48 posted on 04/08/2005 11:54:01 AM PDT by Sandy
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To: devolve

"Say "cheese"!"

http://www.pechin.com/images/DeliPhoto3copy.jpg


49 posted on 04/08/2005 11:55:02 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP (There is only one GOOD 'RAT: one that has been voted OUT of POWER !! Straight ticket GOP!)
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To: devolve
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

50 posted on 04/08/2005 5:50:25 PM PDT by potlatch (Does a clean house indicate that there is a broken computer in it?)
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