Supreme Court: Strip searches, even for minor offenses

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/02/2012 ( 4 moms have responded )

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Siding with security needs over privacy rights, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that jailers may subject people arrested for minor offenses to invasive strip searches.



By a 5-4 vote, the court rejected a challenge from a New Jersey man who argued it's unconstitutional to force everyone to strip down for inspection. Albert Florence was arrested by a state trooper because of an error in the state's records that mistakenly said he was wanted on an outstanding warrant for an unpaid fine. Even if the warrant had been valid, failure to pay a fine is not a crime in New Jersey.



Florence was held for a week in two different jails before the charges were dropped. But at each jail, he was required to shower with delousing soap and undergo a strip search.



But the court's majority said it's difficult for jail officials to know who's dangerous and who isn't among the 13 million prisoners they process each year because criminal records are often not available at the time of intake. The majority opinion was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.



The court also noted that Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, was initially arrested for not having a license plate on his car and that one of the 9/11 terrorists was stopped and ticketed for speeding just two days before hijacking Flight 93. "People detained for minor offenses can turn out to be the most devious and dangerous criminals," the court said.




http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/0...



While I agree that sometimes a person detained for minor offense could turn out to be very dangerous. I am not sure I agree with having to be strip searched for an unpaid ticket. That is a bit overboard, IMO. I would not want that to happen to me. Of course, I would pay my fines, too. ;)



I find it funny though, how they say "criminal records are often not available at the time of intake". Well why the hell not? Why aren't they looking at the database? Ummm, this sounds kinda odd to me.



What do you think? Should they be strip searching ever single person they bring through the back doors of a holding station?

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Johnny - posted on 04/02/2012

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Actually, in this case, the man was not only strip searched while detained. He had been detained incorrectly because he had indeed paid his fine and actually was carrying the documentation to prove it. This case is an absolute travesty. If this man, who had commited no crime and paid the appropriate penalty can be incarcerated for a week in this manner, it can happen to you. Reading the article about this case on CNN actually made me question yet again traveling to the United States. I prefer to stay in places that have proper due process.

Johnny - posted on 04/02/2012

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http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/02/justice/sc...



"The man was a passenger in his family's sport utility vehicle when it was stopped by a New Jersey state trooper in March 2005. His then-pregnant wife was driving and their 4-year-old son was in the back seat as they headed to a Sunday dinner.



Since Florence was the vehicle's registered owner, the officer ran his identification and discovered a bench warrant for an outstanding fine. He had already paid the fine and carried a letter attesting to that fact, since he claimed he had been stopped on several previous occasions. Nevertheless, the 35-year-old Bordentown resident was handcuffed and arrested, then taken to the jail in Burlington County, in the central part of the state.



Court records show Florence was subjected to an invasive strip and visual body-cavity search. He was then held for six days in the county lockup before being transferred to a Newark correctional facility, where, he claims, he was subjected to another more intrusive search before being placed in the general prison population."

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Tracie - posted on 04/04/2012

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If I get strip searched - twice! - and held in jail for a week when I've done nothing wrong, someone's head is going to roll. Guaranteed.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/02/2012

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Oh my, that is brutal!



Now, that is a damn big mistake on the justice side of things. That is just absurd. Yeah, I agree with you. I think sticking to places that actually have correct process in place is a good idea.



This poor guy and his family. Talk about an intrusion of privacy for undo reason.

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