Friday, April 6, 2012

One by One........

Strip Searches: The Supreme Court's Disturbing Decision

It might seem that in the United States, being pulled over for driving without a seat belt should not end with the government ordering you to take off your clothes and "lift your genitals." But there is no guarantee that this is the case -- not since the Supreme Court ruled this week that the Constitution does not prohibit the government from strip searching people charged with even minor offenses. The court's 5-4 ruling turns a deeply humiliating procedure -- one most Americans would very much like to avoid -- into a routine law enforcement tactic.

This case arose when a man named Albert Florence was pulled over by New Jersey state troopers while he was driving to his parents' house with his wife and young son. The trooper arrested him for failing to pay a fine -- even though, it turned out, he actually had paid the fine. Florence was thrown into the Essex County Correctional Facility, which has a strip search policy for all new arrestees

Florence -- who had not even violated the law -- was subjected to one of the more degrading interactions a citizen can have with his government. He was made to disrobe, lift his genitals for the guards to show that he was not hiding anything, and cough in a squatting position. Florence said he was strip searched twice.

After he was released, Florence sued, arguing that strip searches of people arrested for minor offenses violate the Fourth Amendment. There is a lot of support for the view that strip searches are an extreme measure that should only be used when the government has reason to believe the specific person they want to search is concealing weapons, drugs, or other contraband. The American Correctional Association -- the oldest and largest correctional association in the world -- has a standard saying that strip searches should only be used when there is individualized suspicion. Law enforcement groups -- including the U.S. Marshals Service and the Immigration and Custom Services -- adhere to this standard.

Many courts have said just what Florence argued -- that the Constitution prohibits strip searches of people arrested on minor offenses unless there is individualized suspicion. That includes at least seven U.S. Courts of Appeals -- the powerful federal courts that are just one rung below the Supreme Court. Ten states -- including Florida and Michigan -- actually make suspicionless strip searches illegal.

But the Supreme Court, by a 5-4, has now given its blessing to strip searches of people who are charged with minor crimes -- even if the government has no specific reason to believe they are concealing anything.

See there is a direction all of this stuff is going...........

1 comment:

  1. there is no excuse for that kind of wanton abuse of individual power in those to whom we grant the power to use lethal force.
    I'm gonna keep my head down 'til i can get the @#$% outta here. something's gone very wrong here in our great country when the supreme court legalizes this kind of draconian behavior.