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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Now you can be strip searched after ANY arrest

... thanks to a 5-4 decision by the US Supreme court.

So for any crime, any crime at all, if you are arrested and about to be jailed, prepare to bend over and cough.

"Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, joined by the court’s conservative wing, wrote that courts are in no position to second-guess the judgments of correctional officials who must consider not only the possibility of smuggled weapons and drugs, but also public health and information about gang affiliations."

Even if they have no reason to suspect you of being in possession of contraband!

"The procedures endorsed by the majority are forbidden by statute in at least 10 states and are at odds with the policies of federal authorities. According to a supporting brief filed by the American Bar Association, international human rights treaties also ban the procedures."

Nice, so now the Court is ignoring state legislative activity, typically used by the Court as an indicator of the right thing to do. Not in this case.

What is at stake here is captured in what happened in the scenario that prompted the case: It "arose from the arrest of Albert W. Florence in New Jersey in 2005. Mr. Florence was in the passenger seat of his BMW when a state trooper pulled his wife, April, over for speeding. A records search revealed an outstanding warrant for Mr. Florence’s arrest based on an unpaid fine. (The information was wrong; the fine had been paid.)"

Got that? A man was arrested for not paying a fine, a fine he actually paid. And he was jailed for it. And then strip searched! Twice! (because he was held for a week in two jails) 

Just like the nun who was arrested for protesting US war. She was strip searched too.

Now it is all legal! Chief Justice John Roberts concurred in the decision, and said that exceptions to Monday’s ruling were still possible “to ensure that we ‘not embarrass the future.”

Too late, sir!

1 comment:

  1. Reading Mr. Florence's comments about the times he was strip searched are more than upsetting. He states that he felt "less than a man" and "humiliated", and he had already paid the fine for which they were arresting him for. This is frustrating that one little mistake, on the hand of the police department, can cause all of your personal rights to go out the window. While I believe that searching a person can be important when sending them into the prison or jail population, there has to be a way to make sure that there is a legitimate reason for the strip search. Speeding and not paying a fine doesn't seem like a legitimate reason. It is also frustrating that the high courts agreed to allow the strip searching of anyone for any offense. If someone didn't pay child support or didn't pay the bills, it doesn't really make sense that they should be searched.