The United States Supreme Court has decided that it is ok for jail officials to conduct strip searches on inmates. The right of jails and prisons to conduct strip searches was being challenged by a man who was wrongly arrested for a fine that he had paid in full. Through a technical error, the police believed the fine had never been paid and there was a warrant issued. As he was driving with his wife and children, Albert Florence, was pulled over and arrested. His attempt at explaining that he had paid the ticket fell on deaf ears. In fact, Mr. Florence kept proof of the paid ticket in his car just in case something like this happened. The cops refused to let him show them the proof, and instead, placed him under arrest.
After transporting Mr. Florence to the jail, the cops conducted a strip search. Mr. Florence was taken to two different jails during six days and stripped searched on both occasions. There was no reason to suspect that he was hiding contraband, but they still performed the search.
Mr. Florence and his attorney filed suit claiming that the strip search violated his constitutional rights. The search, without any reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing or concealment of contraband, is cruel and unusual punishment and is excessive. The US Supreme Court, in a decision reached Monday, decided that it was not a violation and upheld the rights of the jails, instead the rights of the human beings. The majority opinion stated that the jails and prisons have an interest in protecting the other inmates and staff from concealed contraband or diseases, and the only way to determine whether they exist are through a strip search. There is no need for reasonable suspicion that the inmate is likely hiding contraband. Unless a person can show that the individual facility has excessive rules, there is no relief. That means any person taken to jail on a minor matter, or even something they have not done, will be forced to drop his or her pants for the whole world to see. If that is not cruel and unusual, then I don’t know what is!
Contact the Law Office of Stephanie M. Arrache, a criminal defense firm, if you have any questions about jailhouse strip searches and your rights as a human being.
Law Office of Stephanie M. Arrache
A Criminal Defense Firm
PO Box 3297
Palm Springs, CA 92262
Office: (760) 237-8295
Cell: (760) 668-8295