Supreme Court Says You Can Be Strip Searched When Admitted To Jails For Any Offense

from the what-4th-amendment dept

The Supreme Court continues to chip away at whatever is left of the 4th Amendment. A ruling on Monday (with a close 5 to 4 vote) decided that jails can strip search those enrolled for pretty much any offense. However, the reasoning behind this was very suspect. In this case, it was a man who was mistakenly arrested (there was an erroneous warrant out for a fine which he had already paid).

The majority opinion, by Justice Kennedy, basically argues (1) that jails are really dangerous, so we have to search everyone and (2) that some bad people might be arrested for other things, and a strip search might find them out. Neither argument makes much sense when you think about it. As Amy Davidson writes at the New Yorker link above, if jails are so dangerous, why are we sending so many people there? Shouldn't we be working on that part? And as for the other part:
He mentions that one of the 9/11 hijackers got a speeding ticket, though not how strip-searching him might have stopped the attacks, or how many millions of speeders you need to sort through to find a terrorist. Never mind, Kennedy writes: “People detained for minor offenses can turn out to be the most devious and dangerous criminals.”
And thus, let's strip search everyone!

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  1. icon
    Torg (profile), 3 Apr 2012 @ 10:20am

    Re:

    What the hell are they doing locking someone with a traffic violation up with a violent offender? That seems like a problem that should be addressed.

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