(Image source: SupremeCourt.gov)

 

BY ZACH TOOMBS

 

The Supreme Court refused to limit strip searches at jails in a 5-4 ruling Monday — even in arrests for minor offenses. MSNBC reports the decision applies to newly admitted inmates in jails.  The ruling does not apply to state or federal prisons.

 

“The Supreme Court said no, it’s not unreasonable. It said it’s hard to run jails, it’s hard to know in advance who’s dangerous, especially with 13 million people admitted every year to the nation’s jails.”

 

The court split along ideological lines, with conservative judges ruling in favor of the measure. In the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy writes that strip searches would help stop the trafficking of contraband and the spread of diseases. The Washington Post has it.

 

“There is a substantial interest in preventing any new inmate, either of his own will or as a result of coercion, from putting all who live or work at these institutions at even greater risk when he is admitted to the general population.”

 

Speaking for the dissenting judges, Justice Stephen Breyer says searches without specific reason were “inherently harmful, humiliating, and degrading.” WDAM reports a New Jersey man brought the case to the Supreme Court after he underwent two strip searches in seven days.

 

“Alberta Florence was forced to undress and submit to strip searches following his arrest on a warrant for an unpaid fine, though the fine actually had been paid.”

 

The Supreme Court’s Monday ruling has proved unpopular throughout much of the blogosphere. Outside the Beltway writes:

 

“This is just appalling. The 4th Amendment declares that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated … How is a strip search under the conditions of Florence’s arrest–for a crime that had no relation to violence or hiding of small objects–reasonable?”

 

But, noting a clause in the majority opinion, a blog covering the Supreme Court says the ruling might not be as bad as it sounds.

 

“Some difference of emphasis among the five Justices in the majority made it appear that the decision might be more limited than at first glance. The ruling … did not authorize jail officials to conduct a strip search unless the prisoner was to be placed among other prisoners at the facility.”  

 

Running through a brief history of court rulings on jail searches, CNN says federal appeals courts had deemed strip searches without suspicion unconstitutional — from 1979 until 2008, when ...

 

“Federal courts before the September 11, 2001, terror attacks had been at odds over the constitutionality of strip searches … In 2008, however, appeals courts in Atlanta and San Francisco found searches of every inmate coming into the prison population are justified, even without specific suspicions.”

 

Supreme Court OKs Strip Searches for Minor Offenses

by Zach Toombs
0
Transcript
Apr 2, 2012

Supreme Court OKs Strip Searches for Minor Offenses

(Image source: SupremeCourt.gov)

 

BY ZACH TOOMBS

 

The Supreme Court refused to limit strip searches at jails in a 5-4 ruling Monday — even in arrests for minor offenses. MSNBC reports the decision applies to newly admitted inmates in jails.  The ruling does not apply to state or federal prisons.

 

“The Supreme Court said no, it’s not unreasonable. It said it’s hard to run jails, it’s hard to know in advance who’s dangerous, especially with 13 million people admitted every year to the nation’s jails.”

 

The court split along ideological lines, with conservative judges ruling in favor of the measure. In the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy writes that strip searches would help stop the trafficking of contraband and the spread of diseases. The Washington Post has it.

 

“There is a substantial interest in preventing any new inmate, either of his own will or as a result of coercion, from putting all who live or work at these institutions at even greater risk when he is admitted to the general population.”

 

Speaking for the dissenting judges, Justice Stephen Breyer says searches without specific reason were “inherently harmful, humiliating, and degrading.” WDAM reports a New Jersey man brought the case to the Supreme Court after he underwent two strip searches in seven days.

 

“Alberta Florence was forced to undress and submit to strip searches following his arrest on a warrant for an unpaid fine, though the fine actually had been paid.”

 

The Supreme Court’s Monday ruling has proved unpopular throughout much of the blogosphere. Outside the Beltway writes:

 

“This is just appalling. The 4th Amendment declares that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated … How is a strip search under the conditions of Florence’s arrest–for a crime that had no relation to violence or hiding of small objects–reasonable?”

 

But, noting a clause in the majority opinion, a blog covering the Supreme Court says the ruling might not be as bad as it sounds.

 

“Some difference of emphasis among the five Justices in the majority made it appear that the decision might be more limited than at first glance. The ruling … did not authorize jail officials to conduct a strip search unless the prisoner was to be placed among other prisoners at the facility.”  

 

Running through a brief history of court rulings on jail searches, CNN says federal appeals courts had deemed strip searches without suspicion unconstitutional — from 1979 until 2008, when ...

 

“Federal courts before the September 11, 2001, terror attacks had been at odds over the constitutionality of strip searches … In 2008, however, appeals courts in Atlanta and San Francisco found searches of every inmate coming into the prison population are justified, even without specific suspicions.”

 

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