Apply Strip Searches Fairly

The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN), April 5, 2012 | Go to article overview

Apply Strip Searches Fairly


The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling Monday upholding the use of strip searches for those arrested for even minor offenses, puts pressure on law enforcement officials to come up with clear policies on when those searches should take place.

In the 5-4 decision, the court said safety concerns outweigh personal privacy rights.

The ruling noted that states were still allowed to forbid searches.

Strip searches are one of those law- enforcement issues that garner strong arguments for and against.

For the safety of jailers and prisoners alike, it's reasonable that turnkeys want to make sure people under arrest aren't carrying or concealing contraband that could cause major problems in a jail setting.

But there is a danger of law enforcement officers arbitrarily conducting strip searches based on subjective criteria.

The Supreme Court ruled against a New Jersey man, Albert Florence, who said he was subjected to two invasive strip searches while incarcerated for seven days in 2005 after being mistakenly arrested for not paying a fine.

The finance manager for an auto dealership was a passenger, along with his 4-year-old child, in a BMW being driven by his pregnant wife when they were stopped by a state trooper on a New Jersey highway.

Florence was arrested despite showing the trooper an official receipt from the state of New Jersey showing that his ticket had been paid. …

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