Strip Search in Prison - Updated 2017

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Original Article:
The Supreme Court recently upheld the use of strip searches as a general policy in prison. In a 5-4 ruling, admitting that while the Court has no expertise in running a jail or prison, any person who is arrested, even if they are just being detained briefly can be exposed to a routine strip search, as long as the strip search only involves a visual inspection without any touching or abusive gestures. It is also legal for the prisoner to be told to manipulate certain parts of their bodies during this strip search.

This ruling however, only allows these strip searches to be conducted if the prisoner is going to be placed within the general population or among other prisoners in the facility.

In holding so, the Court declined to place any limitation of the authority for the prisons to use strip searches only in cases where an explicit person gave police any reason to think that the prisoner could be dangerous or may be carrying a concealed weapon or any drugs. Anyone who is going to be placed with other prisoners, even temporarily, is subject to a strip search.

A full opinion on this ruling may be found by clicking here:

A Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in the Fort Lauderdale area will guide you through all aspects of criminal procedure and can make a large difference moving forward after an arrest is made.

Updated July, 2017
Although the high court ruled in favor of the practice relating to strip searches in the prison system, these considerations do not extend to law enforcement when a potential arrest is pending.

In a case which took place this past summer (2017), an African American couple was pulled over by police in South Carolina and subjected to a roadside strip search as well as a search of the male's body cavity. During the strip search of the female, she claimed that her breasts were exposed while being detained and searched by a female officer. The couple maintained they were pulled over by police because they had a temporary paper license plate.

Police maintained the couple was stopped while driving because one of the officers knew the driver and had previously interacted with him on drug related issues although the officer did admit that those issues hadn't happened recently and in fact it was many years since the officer had any problems with the driver of the car. Regardless, he felt the potential was probable that the male may be in possession of illegal narcotics.

The couple sued after nothing was found. One officer was heard to say that because of the males past history he felt it necessary for a police dog to check the car. When nothing was found in the vehicle as well, the officer apparently said "You gonna pay for this one boy." During the search, a mass that was uncovered by the officer while the male was cavity searched turned out to be a hemorrhoid. The female expressed that she felt extremely embarrassed during the roadside search as other vehicles drove by.

The lawsuit was filed after several high-profile incidents generated a nationwide debate relating to the issue of how African-Americans who are stopped by Caucasian police are treated by the white officers.

In this particular case, the couple won and received a $150,000 settlement, according to a document obtained by the Aiken Standard. There was no dash camera video of the roadside stop but the audio was active and became a strong piece of evidence in the case.

Michael B. Cohen is a veteran Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney with many years of experience with cases of this type. He previously worked for the State of Florida and the federal government for the prosecution before he opened his private practice law firm to the public vigorously defending the Constitutional rights for all who seek his help.

If you've been stopped and searched by police in Fort Lauderdale, as well as Dade and Palm Beach County for what you believe to be an illegal search, politely say as little as possible until you're able to get in touch with an attorney who is expert in the category of illegal search and seizure practices. If an arrest is made, don't say a word as are your rights which are laid out under Miranda. Please click here to find out what your next step should be or call Mr. Cohen directly at any of the phone numbers listed above.

Mr. Cohen's entire list of qualifications can be found by clicking here.

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