As bureaucracy in the United States grows, it is becoming harder and harder to avoid a run-in with law enforcement because of some minor infraction; due to a recent Supreme Court ruling, you will likely be strip searched if you do have one.
The Nation’s highest court ruled on Monday by a 5-4 vote that law enforcement officials may strip search any individual who is arrested, regardless of criminal record or severity of offense.
The Justices opined that courts are in no position to scrutinize the judgments of correctional officials who must consider the possibility of smuggled weapons and drugs, identify public health issues and try to collect information about gang affiliations of individuals who are booked.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said it would be “unworkable” to make an exception for people who are arrested for minor offenses because county jails often must process hundreds of new inmates a day.
The case was brought to the Supreme Court by Albert Florence, who was arrested by mistake in 2005 because of a bench warrant issued for a fine he had paid years earlier. Despite having documentation of compliance with the court, a New Jersey state trooper arrested Florence during a routine traffic stop as his wife and child watched. Florence then spent seven days in jail. Florence was reportedly strip searched at two separate jails, despite there being no evidence that he had any contraband or violent behaviors. Florence sued and was granted a summary judgment, but the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s decision.