Supreme Court justices approve strip searches for any offense

On Monday the United States Supreme Court ruled that people may be strip searched when arrested for any offense, no matter how trivial, before they go to jail.  This was a 5-to-4 vote.

One justice claimed that the court system should not second guess the corrections officials who have to think about smuggled weapons or drugs.  Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote:

“every detainee who will be admitted to the general population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed.”

It sounds so much nicer when it’s written as a “close visual inspection while undressed”.  Of course Albert Florence was arrested in New Jersey in 2005 when his wife was pulled over for speeding.  There was a warrant out for his arrest (it was later revealed that the warrant for an unpaid fine was a mistake).  Florence was in jail for a week and strip searched twice:

“Turn around,” Mr. Florence, in an interview last year, recalled being told by jail officials. “Squat and cough. Spread your cheeks.”

Florence stated that he was humiliated and felt like less of a man based on this treatment. Justice Stephen Breyer (one of the four opposition votes) agrees.  Justice Breyer stated that strip searches were “a serious affront to human dignity and to individual privacy” and should only be used when there’s a good reason to do a strip search.

One wonders now whether every attractive person who gets a DUI will be asked to take off their clothes for a “visual inspection.”


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