NYC Employment, Civil Rights and Criminal Defense Law Blog

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

United States Supreme Court Allows Strip-Searches for Minor Offenses

The United States Supreme Court issued a decision yesterday in the case of Florence v. County of Burlington that has shocking implications.  The Court ruled 5 to 4 that individuals who have been arrested may be strip-searched when they enter jails, even when they have been arrested for only minor offenses.  The Court held that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which protects individuals from unreasonable searches, does not prohibit strip-searches that a correction facility might find advisable, even in the absence of any reasonable suspicion that the person might be hiding drugs, weapons or other contraband.  This means that, under the United States Supreme Court decision, people may be strip-searched after being arrested for offenses that don’t even rise to the level of “criminal” conduct, such as driving in excess of the speed limit or making an illegal U-turn.  While correctional officers are not required to strip-search everyone who enters a correctional facility after arrest, it leaves the decision to do so entirely in their hands, yielding to them a tremendous amount of discretion and leaving individuals vulnerable to the demeaning humiliation of a strip-search.  This decision is a terrible blow to individual rights under the U.S. Constitution.



Traub & Traub, P.C., a law firm located in New York City, New York, has as its mission the advancement and protection of the rights of the individual in cases involving employment, civil rights, criminal defense and general litigation. The firm handles cases throughout the five boroughs of NYC, as well as Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Dutchess and Rockland Counties. In addition to its work in New York, the firm has extensive knowledge and experience in the representation of federal employees in all criminal and employment-related matters and represents federal employees throughout the Northeastern United States.

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