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Author Topic: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches  (Read 1608 times)

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Offline MasterMischiefTopic starter

Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« on: April 02, 2012, 05:56:46 PM »
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/high-court-upholds-jails-strip-searches-16054456

Quote
Jailers may perform invasive strip searches on people arrested even for minor offenses, an ideologically divided Supreme Court ruled Monday, the conservative majority declaring that security trumps privacy in an often dangerous environment.

So much for defending the Constitution.

Offline Aiden

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2012, 06:07:56 PM »
Well now if they are hiding it up their ass, it will be easy to find.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2012, 06:43:35 PM »
And 'security' kills forty+ years of precedent.

Offline BCdan

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2012, 08:02:41 PM »
Apparently minor crimes includes not using a turn signal.  What the hell.  The Supreme court is just wrong on this.  Totally wrong. 

Offline sexhaver

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2012, 08:17:08 PM »
I think they're all just eager to get their hands dirty.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2012, 08:24:10 PM »
Apparently minor crimes includes not using a turn signal.  What the hell.  The Supreme court is just wrong on this.  Totally wrong.


IF I read the article right.. 'sitting in the passenger seat during a failure to signal a turn' is a crime.. he wasn't driving if I read it right.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2012, 08:41:07 PM »
Actually if you have one area for minor petty criminals and one for serious criminals its justified on the latter not the former, but jails doing that now are few and far between. But I do agree this is not a good ruling but is the law of the land now. Couldn't internal policies or county and state level ordinances/laws correct this after all the police have the right to do this that is not overlooking limits placed on them by the government for example so that could be the place to fight this now.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2012, 09:17:23 PM »
I am very disappointed with the current court's recent decisions..and what makes me even less happy is the thought of the President, you know the one who okay the NDAA..requested the detenion clause, getting to replace anyone on it.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2012, 09:23:33 PM »
Apparently minor crimes includes not using a turn signal.  What the hell.  The Supreme court is just wrong on this.  Totally wrong.

You know.. if a Justice got pulled and 'appropriately searched' there would be a totally reversed outlook on this.

Offline sexhaver

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2012, 09:26:26 PM »
Good point by RubySlippers. The guards probably suspected that the serious offenders would try to hide contraband/evidence in the cavities of minor offenders, expecting them to not be searched. By having a jail-wide search policy, that tactic can no longer be used. It's still horribly wrong, of course, so segregating the detainees by the severity of their charges would definitely be the best approach. In fact, legislation to mandate segregation in jails nation-wide would make for a very good follow up in the face of this ruling, if this sort of thing matters to legislators. I'm hoping it does, because any one of them could in the near future be made a victim of this ruling just as easily as Mr. Florence was -- unless they think they their influence as politicians carries enough weight in a jail house to escape such a fate.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2012, 09:52:23 PM »
What about the guy who spent two days in jail because he ran out of money to fix up the siding on his house?

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/minnesota-man-thrown-in-jail-for-failing-to-put-up-siding-on-his-home/

http://kstp.com/news/stories/s2542281.shtml

According to Reuters (is Reuters right or left?  I have no idea), the Obama administration was actively fighting for this.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/02/us-usa-jail-stripsearch-idUSBRE8310ZA20120402

Quote
The decision was a victory for the jails and for the Obama administration, which argued for strip searches of all those entering the general jail population, even those arrested on minor offenses.

As Ruby said, I understand the reason for heavy-duty offenses.  I'm good with this if the person is a lifer who stabbed people to death and who keeps making shivs out of the plastic spoons and other things that the state is required by law to give an inmate (although I wouldn't mind changing that law if the inmate abuses those things as well).  However, for minor offenses, no.

Is the Supreme Court required to make an all or nothing decision on this?  I fully understand why they'd give the okay if their only choices were to allow them for everyone or to allow them for no one.  Were they able to make the distinction of "this is only acceptable for violent offenders" or something like that?

Of course, before I can even get a post, I get an answer:

Good point by RubySlippers. The guards probably suspected that the serious offenders would try to hide contraband/evidence in the cavities of minor offenders, expecting them to not be searched. By having a jail-wide search policy, that tactic can no longer be used. It's still horribly wrong, of course, so segregating the detainees by the severity of their charges would definitely be the best approach. In fact, legislation to mandate segregation in jails nation-wide would make for a very good follow up in the face of this ruling, if this sort of thing matters to legislators. I'm hoping it does, because any one of them could in the near future be made a victim of this ruling just as easily as Mr. Florence was -- unless they think they their influence as politicians carries enough weight in a jail house to escape such a fate.

A plausible reason, as well as a good solution.  Don't we already segregate jails, though?  I've heard of "white-collar resorts" in the movies, though I have no idea if there's truth to it, and I know we have places like Guantanamo Bay as well.

If we don't, I would figure that throwing lifers in with minor offenders would be just like throwing the bullies in with the nerds (to use easily recognizable, if perhaps pejorative, terms).  The bullies don't get any smarter thanks to the nerds, but when the bullies make life a living hell for the nerds, it definitely disrupts the learning of the nerds.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2012, 10:01:07 PM »
Wll in my county they do not stripsearch anyone without a serious issue in place, for petty crime we have options either if homeless the county sheriff run homeless shelter in lieu of jail or seperate sections since they do not want serious felons in with petty criminals. And there are clear policies to respect the rights of the person while assuring safety while in jail here. He will stripsearch as a policy and its fairly narrow those in for violent crime, drug offenses or the like where there is reason to be concerned for such matters.

So this can be dealth with by police policies being tight, local ordinances or state law the ruling did not take away those rights just said its okay in a mixed population to stripsearch anyone which I agree is invasive a modern body scanner or even patdown and wand would solve most issues.

Offline Shjade

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2012, 10:07:46 PM »
In theory, I don't see the problem with this. It's a security measure for the prison, which makes sense: it doesn't matter why you're in there once you're there, you are a possibility for the same breaches as anyone else at that point (albeit perhaps a less likely possibility).

The problem in this case seems to be more the question of what offenses merit being put into the prison system in the first place, thereby making you subject to the aforementioned searches.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2012, 10:50:08 PM »
Thing is.. the guy whose case went all the way.. didn't go to PRISON. He was in jail. Short term detention while they checked the facts of his case (since it's clear they didn't believe him)

Offline AndyZ

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2012, 10:51:04 PM »
Thing is.. the guy whose case went all the way.. didn't go to PRISON. He was in jail. Short term detention while they checked the facts of his case (since it's clear they didn't believe him)

Showing my ignorance.  Difference between jail and prison please?

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2012, 11:19:56 PM »
Showing my ignorance.  Difference between jail and prison please?

The man wasn't found GUILTY and sentenced to a term in prison. He was being held in the jail while being processed. He hadn't been tried and found guilty.

In fact.. he was held without just cause.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2012, 11:22:03 PM »
Much obliged.  I was incorrectly under the impression that jail and prison were synonymous.

Offline Shjade

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2012, 04:23:42 AM »
The man wasn't found GUILTY and sentenced to a term in prison. He was being held in the jail while being processed. He hadn't been tried and found guilty.

In fact.. he was held without just cause.

My statement above still applies: it's not about what you did to get there, it's about being there and the security of the place in question. The problem lies in what brought him there in the first place, not in security routines once he's there. At least that's how it seems to me.

Offline Anjasa

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2012, 07:50:27 AM »
I'd be pissed enough being put in jail for 6 days for a fine I already paid - and had proof that I already paid it, and showed the arresting officer that proof.

The fact that they strip searched him twice, including cavity searches, and said it's okay?

That's terrifying.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2012, 08:44:34 AM »
I'd be pissed enough being put in jail for 6 days for a fine I already paid - and had proof that I already paid it, and showed the arresting officer that proof.

The fact that they strip searched him twice, including cavity searches, and said it's okay?

That's terrifying.

Exactly. The presumption of innocence before guilt is rapidly vanishing in this country.  And explain to me what justification there is for such treatment in the failure to pay a fine to begin with?

Seems tome that his real crime was 'failure to be WASP'. And I hate putting the race card down. How much was the fine I wonder? Was it more than the cost of detaining him for six days?  Clearly something was up. Why did it take six days for the system to get that it was an invalid charge?

In his place I would have sued and taken this to the high court. Arrested unjustly, when proof was there to the contrary. In front of my wife AND child. Loosing money from my job. Humiliated TWICE. I hope that at least someone was penalized for this, though with the decision I doubt it.

Offline vtboy

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2012, 12:12:30 PM »
Exactly. The presumption of innocence before guilt is rapidly vanishing in this country.  And explain to me what justification there is for such treatment in the failure to pay a fine to begin with?

Seems tome that his real crime was 'failure to be WASP'. And I hate putting the race card down. How much was the fine I wonder? Was it more than the cost of detaining him for six days?  Clearly something was up. Why did it take six days for the system to get that it was an invalid charge?

In his place I would have sued and taken this to the high court. Arrested unjustly, when proof was there to the contrary. In front of my wife AND child. Loosing money from my job. Humiliated TWICE. I hope that at least someone was penalized for this, though with the decision I doubt it.

I suspect one thing on the minds of the justices who upheld the practice was the difficulties that might follow from adopting a rule which would require correction officers to exercise discretion on a case-by-case basis in determining which minor offenders warrant a strip search and which do not.

Certainly, the pettiness of the arrestee's offense should not be an absolute bar to a strip search when there are other factors known to the jailers which suggest he or she might have a concealed weapons or contraband -- e.g., behavior suggesting the effect of drugs, or a criminal history of violent crimes involving weapons. Once correction officers make these sorts of calls, however, room for dispute enters the process --why search this one and not that one? was the search reasonably justified, or was it prompted by malice, bias, or even kink? It does not require great imagine to predict the ensuing lawsuits.

Perhaps it is better that those jails which aleady conduct some strip searches of persons charged with petty offenses be permitted to adopt a neutral, "search 'em all" policy.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2012, 02:25:39 AM »
Much obliged.  I was incorrectly under the impression that jail and prison were synonymous.

Jail can also be used for detention after a guilty verdict, if the sentence is under one year.  Typically, that means a misdemeanor crime.

Offline Deva

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2012, 05:09:18 AM »
I agree with what seems to be the general consens here, that it may just be necessary in high security prisons; yet is uncalled for in jails.

The problem is rather some of the things people go to prison for, not how they are treated there, if someone is dangerous, search away. If someone had drugs on him one time too often(think you can go to prison for that) or had consensual sex with someone that was 17(not trying to start that discussion, just poking at things) and no history of -violent crimes- searching him is messing with his rights, .. then again seperating things like that or actually changing laws related to this to allow non violent offenses to go under different conditions costs.. oh yes. Money!

Offline vtboy

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2012, 06:32:21 AM »
I agree with what seems to be the general consens here, that it may just be necessary in high security prisons; yet is uncalled for in jails.

The problem is rather some of the things people go to prison for, not how they are treated there, if someone is dangerous, search away. If someone had drugs on him one time too often(think you can go to prison for that) or had consensual sex with someone that was 17(not trying to start that discussion, just poking at things) and no history of -violent crimes- searching him is messing with his rights, .. then again seperating things like that or actually changing laws related to this to allow non violent offenses to go under different conditions costs.. oh yes. Money!

As another poster pointed out, prisons (whether high security or not) are where those serving sentences, generally of a year or more, are sent after conviction. Jails are usually local facilities where those awaiting trial are housed, regardless of the nature or degree of the offense, and where those convicted of relatively minor crimes (misdemeanors and lesser offenses, carrying sentences of less than a year) serve their sentences. Jail is a real melting pot, as those charged with drive-by shootings, armed robberies and rapes get to rub elbows with those charged with or convicted of shoplifting and spitting on the sidewalk.

I don't think there is much question but that those serving sentences, whether in prison or in jail, may be subjected to strip searches. The question before the Supreme Court was whether those inventoried in the local hooscow pending trial on some petty charge, such as double parking or failing to signal a left turn, may be forced to undergo strip searches, without offense to due process.

Offline SilentScreams

Re: Supreme Court OKs Routine Jailhouse Strip Searches
« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2012, 09:07:43 PM »
When you are first booked into jail there is something called the Golden Hour. It's not necessarily an hour, but it's never shorter then an hour without a legitimate reason (such as being a danger to one's self or others) before one completes the intake process.

After you are booked into jail you are typically left in a holding tank until a bail is set. At that time you are given an opertunity to to leave on bail. If you can't afford it, or don't have anyone to sign the bond mans note, then you proceed to intake.

Once in intake you are stripped out. The reasons for this are many. First, everything you enter jail with is contraband within the jail. Your clothes must be taken from you because others will steal them. All your personal possessions, including jewelry, is logged and added to your file. Your shoes are also taken. The prison gives you a new set of clean clothes.

The strip process, regardless of offense booked on, is for safety and security reasons. People recovering from even minor surgery need to be identified by the prison for health reasons, they are typically held in a separate area of the jail. In addition, excluding the obvious drugs and weapons, the COs are also looking for things like signs of abuse, infections, tattoos (which need to be cataloged for a host of reasons including gang affiliation), bug infestations, etc.

Another issue. If you don't have a policy in place to strip everyone processed through intake (please be careful in throwing words about- there is a substantial difference between being booked and being processed) how do you decide who gets stripped?  The answer is you don't. Everyone has to receive equal treatment. There is no difference between the misdemeanor offense and the accused felon. There are many instances of violent felons being arrested after they have committed their crimes on minor charges. Various intake facilities have discovered drugs, guns, knives, and a plethora of other potentially dangerous items on those being stripped. It's a sad fact that many police pat searches miss even the most obvious of hidden weapons (for anyone interested there is a famous video of a man accused of killing his wife being interviewed in an interrogation room. The individual had been patted down when arrested, taken to a holding cell, patted a second time at the station, been uncuffed, been escorted to the interrogation room to meet with an unarmed detective. The detective, obviously not expecting the individual to be armed, asks if he would like anything to eat. Keep in mind this is several hours after being arrested but never booked or processed. The man orders a turkey sandwich. The detective sits and starts talking with him. The detective eventually leave the room to get the sandwich. The man then removes a .45 pistol from his pants and shoots himself in the head.)

The case, if anyone is interested in reading it and not taking their cues from the media who typically have no legal training, is Florence v. Board of Chose Freeholders of County of Burlington. Another thing that is VERY important but that the media did not report in its politically motivated reliance on the emotions associated with a 5-4 split is that this case is NON BINDING. There was no majority opinion. In order for an opinion to be binding there must be a majority opinion. In this case there wasn't one. Justice Kennedy wrote the opinion because the case was assigned to him by the Chief.  That assignment makes his opinion the lead one. However, he was only joined by Justice Thomas. The Chief filed a separate, concurring opinion as did Justice Alito. Concurring opinions do not count towards a majority opinion, they only indicate the reasons why that particular Justice held that way.

Florence was arrested because he had an outstanding warrant in the state database. The warrant was a bench warrant issued when he didn't show up to court to pay his court mandated fine for fleeing from the police, obstruction of justice, and assault with a deadly weapon. For some reason, the computer system wasn't updated when he paid his fine and the warrant was still outstanding (he was not arrested for failing to signal, he was arrested as a violent offender with an outstanding warrant).

This is not the only case to deal with this. There have been at least a dozen cases over the last twenty years and, as courts are required to do, they give deference to the experts in the field. In this case, the COs and the people who write the Standard operating procedure for securing such institutions. In these instances, the court has in the past properly noted that prisoners, many of whom are professional criminals, continue to engage in illegal activities while in prison. Strip searches are a means of eliminating many of the drugs and weapons which are smuggled into prisons on a daily basis.

Justice Kennedy goes out of his way to point out that the court has not been asked to decide on who can be taken to jail (when a Justice writes this it means that the court wants to hear a case on who may be taken to jail).

The opinion then goes on at some length about why searches are conducted in the first place, pointing out that there were over ten thousand assaults on prison staff last year and many more prisoner on prisoner assaults, some of which were carried out using simple objects as stabbing weapons such as pens.

The court next looks at people who have done bad things and been arrested for minor offenses as well as people who have gotten themselves arrested on minor charges in an attempt to smuggle contraband (drugs, weapons, porn, matches, lighters...the list is endless) into prisons.

The court next goes on to say that they are only ruling on those who are kept in general population, not on people who will have no interaction or access to other prisoners.

The court basically did nothing but to continue allowing COs to do everyday what they have been doing for decades.

Another important point to take notice of is this; when a case is appealed the appellant (the one making the appeal) generally tries to convince the court (whether its a state ct. of app, a fed ct. of app. or the Supreme Ct.) to adopt a new rule to use in the place of the one they are arguing against. In this case Justice Kennedy noted that the appellant proffered no workable rule to the court that would be able to be administered in a fair manner which would also result in the security of the facility, those who work there, and those who are housed there.