Posted at cryptogon.com
April 2nd, 2012
Via: Los Angeles Times:
The Supreme Court refused Monday to limit strip searches of new jail inmates, even those arrested for minor traffic offenses.
Dividing 5-4 along ideological lines, the high court said jail guards needed the full authority to closely search everyone who is entering a jail in order to maintain safety and security.
It would be “unworkable,” said Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, to make an exception for persons who are arrested for minor offenses. County jails often must process hundreds of new inmates a day, he said.
“Experience shows that people arrested for minor offense have tried to smuggle prohibited items into jail,” Kennedy said. And officials cannot take such a risk, he added.
The decision is a defeat for civil liberties groups and a New Jersey man who was strip-searched twice after he was stopped on a highway and taken to jail over an unpaid fine.
Albert Florence was held for six days and finally released when he showed the fine had already been paid before he was arrested. He then sued county jail officials for violating his privacy and subjecting him to a humiliating strip search.