Skip to comments.Rigorous strip searches in US jails upheld by Supreme Court
Posted on 04/02/2012 1:08:50 PM PDT by katiedidit1
The Supreme Court upheld Monday the power of jails across the United States to carry out invasive strip searches on all incoming detainees, including those suspected of minor offenses.
In a 5-4 ruling, it threw out an innocent New Jersey businessman's claim that his constitutional rights were violated when jailers showered him with delousing agent and lifted his genitals during his week behind bars.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
New Jersey man arrested for a traffic fine that had already been paid. A minor violation...he was strip searched twice. I view that as “unreasonable” search and seizure but wonder why it wasnt checked out before hand that his fine had already been cancelled out.
Basing my views on what I have heard about this case.
Standard procedure, practically everywhere.
Have you ever been to jail?
But the decision to uphold it was only 5-4.
No, thank the Lord..but this guy was arrested for a traffic fine he had paid years ago and strip searched! not once..but twice.
From the top of the hour news, the twice was because he was brought into two different jails. I don’t like this, but if you are arrested the jailers have to be able to keep contraband out of jails.
The solution here is to:
1. Make a bunch fewer laws. We have way too many laws to run a foul of in this country.
2. Make the agency that screwed up and had him arrested pay him damages so huge that the agency is in danger of not being able to perform its function. Since they apparently can not now perform their function anyway, perhaps he should get half their budget.
He may have been undeserving of the treatment, but it's pretty standard procedure.
Has been for hundreds of years. You control access to weapons and such among prisoners this way.
I'm not inclined to outrage over this. It's common and practical and logical.
It does not matter about the circumstances, if you're going into the jail population you gotta be searched.
Even though I was wrongly chastised by a few here for calling the black robed morons, black robed morons, I will do it again.
Here, once more we have either 4 or 5 black robed morons who are supposed to be SUPREME COURT JUSTICE material and cannot agree on what that rather short document means.
Obviously they heard much more that we have in the very limited news reports and again should have taken all that SUPREME Constitutional expertise on our foundation document and be able to agree 9-0 yes or no but instead we have the 5-4 political hack moron factor.
I want the constitution followed otherwise we should all be free to decide what laws we will or will not follow.
Given we do not have the SUPREME Constitutional understanding falsely attributed to these morons, ignorance of the law should be a valid excuse.
YES THEY ARE MORONS. Political hack MORONS. The party above all else even the US Constitution and the citizens. But I’ll give them a little leeway after all they are lawyers so honesty and character are not their strong suits.
Where do the courts draw the line at “unreasonable search and seizure” ..I mean this was an innocent man and it was over a traffic fine that had been paid. He did appeal it to the district court and won but it went all the way to the Supreme Court and he lost...5 to 4 ruling.
Couldnt agree with you more. Disgrace!
The offense to the guy’s liberty was that some anonymous clerk somewhere failed to clear his traffic charge when the fine had been paid. Jail is an awful place, but it would be a lot worse if people were allowed in and out of the general population without thorough search.
yeah. probably they wouldn’t be able to attract as much “talent” without the “fringe benefits.”
Maybe they should strip search the prison guards upon entering the cells..some contraband is brought in by the guards.
Maybe they should strip search the prison guards upon entering the prisons..some contraband is brought in by the guards.
The problem is that he sued the wrong people for the wrong reasons. He should have sued for wrongful arrest because he had proof of the paid fine. He could have alleged racism in the arrest as well. Instead, the SCOTUS hears a case on whether a person can be strip-searched for minor offenses. They ruled that they can. This poor dude's innocence was never a factor.
Well, police need a court order to take your blood for a DUI test, involuntary, and I would think it would be obvious they would need a court order to conduct a body cavity search.
You make a good point.
My opinion is that he sued the wrong party. The jailers did nothing to him. They merely searched him as they search anyone who in arrested and introduced into the jail. I can assure him that were he arrested and put in a jail where they jailers were not allowed to fully search everyone, more than his dignity would have been at risk.
The party that wronged him was the part of the government that made the error. But maybe he was not allowed to sue them?
Personally, I think a huge mistake after the American revolution was the founders or the courts allowing sovereign immunity to continue. Doing away with the king being better than us, for example not subject to tort law, was what the revolution was all about. Yet sovereign immunity was taken that whole cloth from the British system and I guess other sovereigns in Europe.
If any level of government harms a private citizen, that level of government and the individual who committed the harm should be made to play including individual liability.
Can you imagine how much smaller, more careful and circumspect government would be if in the ordinary course of business they were subject to tort liability like the rest of us?
Maybe so. But this thread was about jails, not prisons.
Did you know, since you posted it?
The two are not the same.
This guy was wronged by the system when it sent him to jail for a ticket he paid. He wasn’t wronged by the prison policy to strip search all prisoners who enter the facility. I bet his family would be suing the prison if he was shot by a gun that was smuggled into the facility.
Florence spent an additional day at the Essex County Correctional Facility, the biggest in New Jersey with more than 1,000 gang members at any one time, where he was "required to lift his genitals, turn around, and cough in a squatting position," in addition to a comprehensive body inspection
Sweet. So if Mr. Innocent had NOT been searched and had a pistol up
his bum, then it would have been available to the 1000 gangstas, yo.
Then one of the gangstas (yo) would have busted a few caps in the guard's asses.
Let's assume nine rounds in the pistol shoved up Mr. Innocent's bum.
That's nine honest innocent guards dead. How many wives and children might
they be leaving behind after being capped by Mr. Innocent's pistol-up-his-bum?
Don't their lives mean a bit more than the dignity of Mr. Innocent?
Sounds like a clerical error led to him being arrested and booked into jail.
Lawsuit if more appropriate vs the jurisdiction that fouled up clearing his traffic fine warrant.
Jails have to strip search people to make sure they don’t introduce weapons and drugs to the facility.
They have actually retrieved a “moderate sized” handgun from a woman’s vagina in the jail in Seattle.
wrong. blood can be drawn for a DUI arrest without a warrant.
And a strip search is not a body cavity search.....to remove the object from a body cavity, the government needs a warrant. To look and see if something is hanging out of your rear end, visually looking, is a strip search, not a body cavity search.
Yes, the Constitution is a "relatively short document." Because of its brevity, it does not clearly spell out every possible application of its rules, which is why there are sometimes legitimate disputes as to what it means. In this case, the Constitutional provision at issue forbids "unreasonable searches and seizures." The issue before the Court was whether it is "unreasonable" to strip search someone who is arrested and held in jail for failure to pay a parking ticket.
The majority held that it is "reasonable" to strip-search anyone who is held in jail for any reason. The dissent thought that it is "unreasonable" to strip-search someone being held for such a petty offense. I frankly don't think either position is so clearly self-evident from the text of the Constitution that we can say that the justices are "morons" because they disagreed.
Florida recently held a man in jail for almost two years. He was arrested, charged and the government tried real hard to convict him of killing his baby daughter.
It was eventually proven that he did not have any involvement at all in his childs death.
(A State licensed, paid childcare provider physically abused and killed her, and at least one other child, as proven to date)
I'm pretty sure the least of his complaints as an innocent man, was the jailhouse strip search.
Well said, Brother.
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Finally someone smart enough to read the ruling as it was.
The problem is that government agencies never pay for anything. Any fines or penalties levied against an agency are paid by the taxpayers.
That's really going to terrify the bureaucrats.
You wrote: “Well, police need a court order to take your blood for a DUI test, involuntary, and I would think it would be obvious they would need a court order to conduct a body cavity search.”
Not anymore in Texas, new law allows forced, warrant-less blood draws: http://www.tdcaa.com/node/5261
Gov't very rarely lessens its powers, nor recognizes its limitations.
You are correct, Gov’t power seems to always ratchet upwards.
That is part of why I suggested personal liability too. Also it is a matter for the tax payers.
There is a limit to what can collected in this country by the federal government and it seems to be around 20% of GDP. So given that and as services fall due to liability, I suspect tax payers would start paying more attention to what the government is doing. It is much like holding stockholder accountable for what their company does up to the value of their shares.
You neglected to mention the User’s Manual for the US Constitution known as the Federalist Papers. Somehow these alleged brilliant minds on the bench must have missed reading those documents as they give the why and wherefores but some of us seem to be perfectly happy as long as the majority leans to the our side.
I want the USSC to lean to the Constitution on ALL issues. I don’t like political bias playing fast and loose with our most basic set of rules intended to relinquish just a small amount of our rights and powers to the federal government. Others seem to be OK with following the sheep.
I refuse to give any leeway to these morons who accept the position of USSC Judge yet do not have a solid grounding in why the Constitution says what it says. To hold such power over us with such a lack of knowledge is being a MORON.
Explain to all of us, how this Federal government has exceeded its constitutional limits if we have brilliant constitutional scholars on the bench. You cannot because we only have political hack morons on the bench.
Maybe morons is not the best word and in fact more and more I think they are simply traitors to the constitution, the founders, and to free citizens by allowing the government to encroach into our daily lives with everyone of their limp 5-4 decisions.
You may have much lower standards but when I think of a US SUPREME COURT judge I think of someone who should know EXACTLY the full and complete history behind the Constitution and the fricken User’s manual.
To the black robed moron/traitors and those who have much lower standards, I say RTFM.
It isn't 1971 anymore. It's not hippies vs. hardhats anymore. We are in a true police state and these anachronisms are making it worse day by day. And we cheer them as “conservatives”?
It's hopeless. Ben Franklin, we lost your republic. Roll in peace. :(
Speaking of a police state..I just heard on the news that new legislation has opened the door for thousands and thousands of drones to be used in America. Some are as small as a hummingbird and citizens can own them. They are very invasive on privacy but it is the new age.
Full body searches are done for the safety of the officers as well as the other perps in the holding cells. This is SOP in almost every jurisdiction.
What is sad is this man was innocent. His traffic fine had been paid and what he endured due to shoddy police or failure to wipe out his ticket is a disgrace. The man was placed in a jail/prison with over 1,000 gang members, deloused and strip searched for a fine he had paid years ago. If it happened to him...it could happen to YOU or me.
The man actually had a court receipt showing the item paid and went through this anyway. More here..
Scary isn’t it? this really could happen to us or our children, parents, spouses. It would be so traumatic that it would change one’s life forever.
Remember when stories like this were repeated by crackpots and we made fun of them? Now, even if they're not true, they're certainly believable. If Rip Van Winkle went to sleep in 1986 and woke up today, he'd assume the USSR triumphed.
As a general matter, the federal government has legislated away soverign immunity. And, typically, you can sue individuals, though they will almost always be indemnified by the government.
Scalia is an originalist. The Fourth Amendment was adopted as a cure to a particular ill: the general warrant. If Scalia sees a case that fits this bill, he’s a great protector of the Fourth Amendment.
But let’s take this case. In 1791, would the Founders have thought it unreasonable to search a prisoner without a warrant? Of course not. For Scalia, end of discussion.
Even accepting your premise, that an evolving society into a “police state” would expand the definition of the Fourth Amendment, are you seriously asserting that jailers shouldn’t have a right to search those people that are being admitted to jail? When you go to jail, you lose rights. Your right not to be searched is one of those rights. That’s a police state?