U.S. Supreme Court Legalizes Strip Search For Any Offense

Anthony Kennedy (2009, cropped)Make sure you don’t jaywalk, ride a bike without a bell, protest anything, or otherwise upset a police officer, because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that you can be forced to strip naked for a visual search no matter how trivial your alleged offense. NPR reports:

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that jailers may subject people arrested for minor offenses to invasive strip searches, siding with security needs over privacy rights.

By a 5-4 vote, the court ruled against a New Jersey man who complained that strip searches in two county jails violated his civil rights.

Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his majority opinion for the court’s conservative justices that when people are going to be put into the general jail population, “courts must defer to the judgment of correctional officials unless the record contains substantial evidence showing their policies are an unnecessary or unjustified response to problems of jail security.”

In a dissenting opinion joined by the court’s liberals, Justice Stephen Breyer said strip searches improperly “subject those arrested for minor offenses to serious invasions of their personal privacy.” Breyer said jailers ought to have a reasonable suspicion someone may be hiding something before conducting a strip search.

Albert 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. Even if the warrant had been valid, failure to pay a fine is not a crime in New Jersey.

But Kennedy focused on the fact that Florence was held with other inmates in the general population. In concurring opinions, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito said the decision left open the possibility of an exception to the rule and might not apply to someone held apart from other inmates…

[continues at NPR]


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13 Comments on "U.S. Supreme Court Legalizes Strip Search For Any Offense"

  1. Gregory Wyrdmaven | Apr 3, 2012 at 8:52 am |

    Wow, the Constitution now seems more fictional than an acceptance letter from Hogwarts.

  2. Eric_D_Read | Apr 3, 2012 at 9:15 am |

    A classic method for dehumanizing you. It only backfires when the cops realize midway through the search that you have the biggest dick in the room.

  3. This is just an extension of the “handcuff everyone IMMEDIATELY” guideline that has become accepted in the US.

    The police in most Western nations do not automatically cuff every detainee as a “precaution.” They’re often taken to the police station uncuffed.

    Eric_D_Read is right, the cops do everything they’re allowed to do in order to put you in a psychologically vulnerable state.

    If you’re ever strip-search it might be fun to take an “involuntary” shit during the “spread your cheeks” portion of the festivities.

  4. Terryjamesneal333 | Apr 3, 2012 at 11:26 am |

    The “Supreme Idiot Court” should be disbanded in it’s entirety…  The people on it are pushing only “agendas” and never justice. Sick….   Our “Republic”….our “Capitalist System” is broken. We need to fix it! 

  5. This article is completely misleading.  Riding a bike without a bell?  Come on.  They ruled that strip searches are allowable when someone has already been arrested and is being placed into the county jail’s general population.  If you can manage to get arrested and subsequently jailed for riding a bike without a bell, you’ve got other, bigger problems.  

    • chinagreenelvis | Apr 4, 2012 at 3:14 am |

      Disinfo has plunged into sensationalism, and, sadly, many of the readers don’t read beyond the headlines.

  6. The last jail I was in uses the scanners like at the airport.

    • StipSearch | Apr 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm |

       The last jail I was in used scanners like in the David Cronenberg movie.

  7. Triple6inc | Apr 3, 2012 at 10:54 pm |

    Several year’s back,I was awarded 1400.00 in A class action suit against A police dept who thought they could strip search everyone,And get by with it.

  8. If I had to choose one item to smuggle into prison… it’d be a tiny portable music device that plays loud kinky porn music when activated by some movement (like spreading of the cheeks).

    I also think it might be effective if everyone decided to moan obnoxiously when being felt up by TSA.

    If they’re going to make us uncomfortable, we should have some recourse, right?

  9. I’ve always wanted to see some local sheriff or chief of police subject these Supreme Court members to the practical results of these stupid rulings they come up with. These idiots don’t always stay in D.C. so it is theoretically possible they could wander into the jurisdiction of some wackadoo LEO like Arpaio.

    It’s unlikely to happen for a number of reasons, but I’d just love to see one of them arrested on some trumped up charge around Thanksgiving and be stuck in jail for several days without even a bond hearing.

    Or in this case arrested and taken to jail for a strip search on the thinnest of pretexts.

  10. can i pick what hunk does mine?? lol…

  11. ddearborn | Apr 4, 2012 at 8:27 am |


    Ah gosh I know that the peace of mind of prison officials is national priority but what about…..The Constitution and the Bill of Rights? You know that gosh darn piece of paper that makes strips searchs like the ones the “supreme” court just ruled as legal to be without any shadow of a doubt unconstitutional. I don’t suppose that the court can still read in their dillusional state of mind but for the rest of you here is the simple reason that their ruling is null and void. That pesky old 4th Amendment specifically prohibts such searches. OK people it is time to explain to the court that they are NOT above the Constitution. Their job is to ensure that the rest of the government abides by the Constitution. Instead they are allowing the government to violate the Constitution and our inalienable rights left, right and sideways.

    In order for the government to strip search you they need, probable cause, an oath or affirmation and a WARRANT issued by a judge. Without every one of those things the government CAN NOT LEGALLY SEARCH YOUR PERSON WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION. Now it is important to note that there is NO exception in the 4th amendment for paraniod prison guards, nor anything else for that matter. Oh and the 4th amendment does NOT say of course if you are arrested you automatically forfit your Constitutional rights—including the 4th amendment. Nope doesn’t say that anywhere..Remember people that in America you are innocent until proven guilty.

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”

    Nope don’t see any exceptions for prison guards anywhere. So what the Supreme court is telling the American people is that they don’t believe that the government has to follow the Constitution and the BIll of rights if the court says its OK. How do you feel about that? Is Bush right? Is the Constitution just a g*d d*mn piece of paper?

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