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Supreme Court Approves Strip Searches For Any Arrestable Offense 747

Posted by timothy
from the if-you-have-nothing-to-hide dept.
sl4shd0rk writes "Taking a page out of the TSA handbook, the Supreme Court has voted to allow strip searches for any offense, no matter how minimal. The article cites these two tidbits from Justice Anthony Kennedy: 'Every detainee who will be admitted to the general [jail or prison] population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed,' and 'Maintaining safety and order at detention centers requires the expertise of correctional officials.'"
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Supreme Court Approves Strip Searches For Any Arrestable Offense

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  • Canada Here I Come (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @09:24AM (#39559043)

    We have gone insane in the United States. Our constitution is consistantly being ignored, and our freedoms are dwindling. This is just one more example.

    • by blahbooboo (839709) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @09:27AM (#39559063)

      Bull shit. You're not going anywhere.

      • by acidfast7 (551610) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @10:10AM (#39559595)

        I left the US to work in Europe because I was very tired of the crappy politics, lack of a social system and erosion of personal rights. This story is perfect example. In certain countries (e.g. Denmark) you don't even need employment for a resident permit. All one needs is 100 points on the new system shown here:

        http://www.nyidanmark.dk/en-us/coming_to_dk/work/greencard-scheme/greencard-scheme.htm

        A PhD from a reasonable university gives 95 points. Speaking English is worth 20 points. Being under 35 helps as well. As does being in a technical field (e.g. IT).

        It's not so hard to leave, so quit calling bullshit on those that have/plan to.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @10:22AM (#39559757) Homepage Journal

        Actually, there are lots of us who are going somewhere. My wife and I have already decided that as soon as my daughter is done with school we're moving to Montenegro. Got a little house in Sutomore, and we'll spend our summers in Belgrade or over here. When the five cunts on the Supreme Court made George Bush president in 2000, I started working on an Italian passport, which I got thanks to my ancestry and I can keep my US citizenship thanks to Jure Sanguinis (who I think is an Italian dude who I paid off to fix the whole thing for me).

        Like the words of the song, "I'm going to a place that has already been burned down, I'm so tired of you, America."

        With US citizenship and EU citizenship, I'll be able to come and go as I please and if things go really south over here, my daughter can come live with us. When I retired at age 50, I had the max into Social Security, so since it's solvent for the next 30 years, I'll probably collect for at least 20 years (assuming we're able to keep the Republicans away from it).

        It's not that I hate America. I love this place, warts and all. But the election of 2000 was the first big sign that I noticed, and the fact that lynching is legal again in Florida is just one more straw on the camel. Can you imagine? More than 20 states have passed these "Stand Your Ground & Shoot a Black Guy" laws already, and if the American Legislative Exchange Council has it's way, it'll be coming soon to a state near me. Fuck that. With my guinea olive skin I would hate some cracker to mistake me for a brother when I'm out on a cold morning doing tai chi in the park with my hoodie up and put a few shots in my back because seeing a potential black guy doing tai chi was just too threatening for him.

        Oh jeez, look at the time. I'm sorry I ran my mouth like this.

        • by Jesus_666 (702802)

          It's not that I hate America. I love this place, warts and all. But the election of 2000 was the first big sign that I noticed, and the fact that lynching is legal again in Florida is just one more straw on the camel. Can you imagine? More than 20 states have passed these "Stand Your Ground & Shoot a Black Guy" laws already, and if the American Legislative Exchange Council has it's way, it'll be coming soon to a state near me. Fuck that. With my guinea olive skin I would hate some cracker to mistake me for a brother when I'm out on a cold morning doing tai chi in the park with my hoodie up and put a few shots in my back because seeing a potential black guy doing tai chi was just too threatening for him.

          Oh jeez, look at the time. I'm sorry I ran my mouth like this.

          Could you elaborate or at give a searchable phrase for this? I'm not always up-to-date on US politics and this is the first time I hear about this.

        • by Hartree (191324) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @10:44AM (#39560087)

          "I'm sorry I ran my mouth like this."

          God sends little children to hell for lying, Ratzo. ;)

          Everywhere has problems. And, you've been around long enough to see how the laws in the US have swung back and forth over time. We're in a pretty strong shift toward letting the police have free reign. But, like many shifts, the really far out stuff usually happens when the pendulum is about to swing back.

          I'm hardly giving up and heading out. If everyone with "clue" leaves, then don't be surprised when clueless things happen.

          YMMV, and if you figure that moving to another place is a good move for you, great. You've got the financial situation you can do it.

          Besides, I'm sure you can find something to be grouchy and outraged about anywhere you go. ;)

        • by ClintJCL (264898) <clintjcl+slashdot@gm a i l .com> on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @12:26PM (#39561423) Homepage Journal
          Man, I *really* liked your post up until you propagandized lies. I'm feeling charitable so instead of downmodding, I'm going to tell you why you are wrong. What Zimmerman did is NOT stand your ground. Stand your ground is a good law. It means if crazy fucking rednecks come and attack me and my 5 or so friends that I go camping with, my one friend who always carries a gun (concealed permit) can actually save our asses. Without it, we all have to run away, even in the middle of the woods. Possibly being separated, picked off one by one. The point of stand your ground is that, once cornered, you are allowed to save your own fucking life. What zimmerman did is not stand your ground, and even the florida republicans who passed it in florida have called bullshit on this. STand your ground is not "Drop yourself in a tiger cage, then when the tiger's attack you, you can shoot them in self defense." Stand your ground is not "Take your ground with you into a confict". You can't drive the ground you are standing around. You can't say "i'm not standing my ground, i'm chasing you, oh nyah nyah now i'm standing my ground and get to shoot you!" That's not the way it works. So get off your pedestal of bullshit, and stick to the good, relevant, TRUE things that you've said. You ruined a post that deserved a score of 5.
    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @09:31AM (#39559117) Homepage Journal

      What makes you think Canada is any better? They don't even have free speech.

      • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @09:40AM (#39559205)

        It's a sad thing when countries that don't have laws written down heed them more than countries that have them in writing...

      • by Anrego (830717) * on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @09:44AM (#39559255)

        The irony there is our watered down free speech laws (freedom of expression) are probably going to provide more freedom than will realistically be available in the US (despite your 1'st amendment) fairly soon.

        Just to offer my commentary on US vs Canada law. The US is all about absolutes. You (supposedly) have a set of absolute, undeniable rights. In Canada, it's about balance and compromise. I have a right to express my opinions, but people have a right not to be harassed with hate speech. The theoretical implications of the Canadian approach seem worse than the US approach, however I think in the practical world they work out much better.

        Further, I think the differences make sense when you look at our countries history. Down in the US, you folks had a huge war to get your independence .. lots of inspiring speeches and acts of heroism and such. You _won_ your absolute independence and are adamant about protecting it.

        Here in Canada, we hashed out our independence in a series of meetings with the British. It was a compromise solution invloving a gradual transition where we would get a constitution and all the things that really matter for the day to day running of a country, and the British would still maintain a largely symbolic involvement in our politics.

        An American would of course freak out at this. Total independence or death and such but it works for us.

        • by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @10:04AM (#39559503)

          The theoretical implications of the Canadian approach seem worse than the US approach, however I think in the practical world they work out much better.

          Right up until you piss off the $cientologists, or the Mormons, or the Muslims, by saying something about their "prophet" that they interpret as derogatory (which you may well have intended as same) and they start to sue and harass you in court for "hate speech."

          Meanwhile, the idea of being strip-searched before being put into prison seems to be an unfortunate side effect of the way we run prisons. If you haven't heard, smuggling items into prisons is pretty fucking big business. [statesman.com] And they get downright creative [oddee.com] about it. So if you're running a prison, then yes, you turn out to have a vested security interest in strip-searching anyone who comes in, whether they're there doing 10-to-20 or they're in for a short stint on failure to pay traffic tickets.

          It sucks, and it's humiliating for those who are strip searched due to minor crimes or worse yet, court system fuck-ups (which is part of what this case had going for it to make a sympathetic plaintiff) but the alternative is the crime and drug gangs just having a few guys whose job it is to get arrested for running enough stoplights to smuggle stuff in to the leaders on a 30-day pass and pass messages back and forth from the outside too.

          • by jythie (914043) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @10:12AM (#39559617)
            Of course the problem with the security system is that they do not strip search the guards, who are one of the primary vectors for materials getting in and out of prison. Thus their security measure is not really addressing the stated problem anyway. What they do not want to go over is that the reason behind these searches is attempting to humiliate and break prisoners so they are easier to manage (which fails) and to demonstrate to the guards how powerful they are (which succeeds, in a way)... so it is really less about keeping contraband out and more about keeping guards in the 'right' mindset. If the guards see prisoners as people then the psychology breaks down pretty quickly.
          • by Tokolosh (1256448) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @10:27AM (#39559829)

            If you haven't heard, smuggling items into prisons is pretty fucking big business. [statesman.com] And they get downright creative [oddee.com] about it.

            The statesman article is about convicts in prison, not about suspects in jail - big difference.

            Also, so what if you have have stuff in jail? Designating harmless things as contrabrand and then declaring a problem does not wash. A deadly weapon, yes, but then who is going to jaywalk with a revolver up his ass?

          • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @10:32AM (#39559925)

            >>Right up until you piss off the $cientologists, or the Mormons, or the Muslims, by saying something about their "prophet" that they interpret as derogatory (which you may well have intended as same) and they start to sue and harass you in court for "hate speech."

            Please cite for us a single case where the Mormon Church has sued anyone in court for hate speech directed at them.

            As a Mormon, I can tell you that the official Church policy to dealing with anti-Mormon hate speech is to ignore it. Haters have been spouting their vitriol at us for 200 years and haven't had an original insult to throw at us for 199 years. They're inevitably forgotten, while the Church just keeps doing its thing. There's just no point in getting into an argument with such people.

          • by Ronin Developer (67677) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @10:44AM (#39560101)

            Well said. The implications are for those entering a prison population. They are balancing the protection and safety of the prison population and guards against personal privacy. The needs of the many, in this case, outweigh the needs of the few ... Or the one....to paraphrase a line from an old Star Trek movie.

            The need to strip search is for a arrstable offense resulting in detention in a prison facility. If you find yourself going to prison, you will be subjected to the search. Don't like it? Well, don't break the law.

            Now, the bigger issue is whether he has a case for false arrest against the State for not updating the records properly. Keep in mind, this wasn't the first time he was arrested on this bench warrant. The police officer can not make the call at the time of arrest - that is beyond their power. And, a paper isn't going to protect him. He should be entitled for compensation because of the arrest. If the penalty against the State is great enough, they may elect to aim prove the process and provide a means to electronically verify the status of a warrant.

            I worked on such a system for a county in PA. The validly of the warrant, assume it was entered properly, could be verified in seconds. Unfortunately, not all counties share their warrant data. In this case, it was a State Trooper who performed the arrest. Consequently, the officer was not affiliated with the county issuing the warrant.

            • by Chowderbags (847952) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @11:51AM (#39561017)

              The need to strip search is for a arrstable offense resulting in detention in a prison facility. If you find yourself going to prison, you will be subjected to the search. Don't like it? Well, don't break the law.

              This isn't about prison (which is for convicted criminals), this is jail, which you can go to merely for being suspected of a crime. You don't have to actually break the law. You usually don't even get to see a judge or your lawyer first. Forty years ago this is something we would've accused the Soviets of and criticized them for it while saying that America is better than that. Now we'll get people doublethinking that it's freedom.

          • by bjdevil66 (583941) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @10:55AM (#39560267)

            While the rest of your post rings true...

            Right up until you piss off the... Mormons... by saying something about their "prophet" that they interpret as derogatory (which you may well have intended as same) and they start to sue and harass you in court for "hate speech."

            I can't speak for $cientologists or Muslims, but I am LDS - and I call BS on your accusation that the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints - or individual members of the church - is suing anyone for "hate speech".

            Can you cite an actual lawsuit (that doesn't involve what most non-Mormon Slashdot readers would say is real hate speech, and is just a form of tyrannical suppression of the freedom of expression)?

    • Here's the real issue. We all see this headline differently and have different responses. You see the issue concerning our liberty while I'm busy trying to figure out how to get more lady cops hired and exactly what kind of crime spree I'm going on. Hey, if they're going to take away our freedoms you might as well enjoy it.
  • by Mattygfunk1 (596840) * on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @09:25AM (#39559045)
    Indecent exposure just became a whole lot more fun.
  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @09:29AM (#39559077)

    I generally am pretty pro-civil rights, but if I were going into a jail or prison I would probably rather have someone strip search me than to get shanked later by some psycho who snuck in a knife. And it's also a pretty shitty message to send to guards to say "A minor issue of prisoner privacy is more important to us than your safety."

    Maybe you can make the "slippery slope" argument on this, but some sort of strip search on prison admission is hardly a new issue. They've been doing it for decades now.

    • by TapeCutter (624760) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @09:52AM (#39559331) Journal
      If like me, you are over 50, then every time you see a doctor they want to stick their finger up you're arse. So instead of calling it a "strip search" just give them a paper gown and call it a "health check", jobs done.
    • by fearofcarpet (654438) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @11:58AM (#39561101)

      I live in socialist Continental Europe where a friend of mine was arrested after beating the stuffing out of someone who refused to leave his house. The police took him to the station, offered him coffee, and politely interviewed him. He then spend the weekend in jail, where he had regular smoke breaks, cable TV, and three squares. No strip searches, pepper spray, zip ties, or mancho police BS. Can you guess how often people are stabbed in jail here? Or how often guards are attacked?

      This argument that having someone fondle your ballsack is for your own protection is exactly the kind of nonsensical, fear-based thinking that allowed a whole country to blithely accept penning protesters in "free speech zones," indefinite detentions without evidence or trial, and submitting to having naked photos taken in order to board an airplane. Police are supposed to protect the peace--they are public servants--and in many parts of the world, they reciprocate respect, instead of demanding it through dehumanizing displays of power.

      This case has nothing to do with protecting guards, or keeping people from running with scissors in a jail cell--that is what eyeballs, ears, and cameras are for. What the SCOTUS said was that your fourth amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure ends when a police officer decides to arrest you. The guy in TFA was arrested because the cop thought that he hadn't paid a fine--despite having documentation that stated otherwise. He was then strip searched not once, but twice, before spending a week in jail. For allegedly not paying a fine. That he had in fact paid.

      This decision is a further erosion of the Bill of Rights, plain and simple. The government needs a court order to obtain a search warrant before entering your house, but can enter your anus for loitering--or damn near anything because a copy can always find an excuse to arrest someone. Worse, it has a chilling effect, because now protestors know that, after being pepper-sprayed and zip-tied, they will be strip-searched multiple times.

      Let's see what the amendement says:

      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.

      The SCOTUS has decreed that the whim of a single police officer, for any reason he or she deems worthy of arresting you, rises to the level of probable cause sufficient to violate the security of your person against unreasonable searches--unless your consider peeking inside someone's vagina or under their penis for participating in a peaceful protest reasonable. And, as anyone from a small town can attest to, cops can find any excuse to arrest you at any time, and face zero repercussions for flagrantly abusing that power; they don't even have to charge you with a crime. Slippery slope? Try free-fall.

      Humor me for a second. Imagine a cop in a foul mood and who needs to fill quotas for traffic tickets, so he's pulling people over for just about anything. Now imagine that your wife is driving you home and she is pulled over by this cop. He runs her license, and asks for your ID--which you're not obliged to provide, but you don't want to start any trouble. He runs your ID and finds out that you have an unpaid parking ticket and that there is a warrant out for your arrest. Fortunately you have a receipt showing that you paid the fine, but the cop isn't buying it because the computer says otherwise. And you're black, so that probably isn't helping. The next thing you know, you're naked in a room full of strangers, spreading your ass cheeks apart while a stranger with a badge takes a good long look at your taint. Now imagine that this happens a second time, because they decide to move you from one jail to another during the entire week that you spend in jail. You're already in custody, but hey, "they've been doing it for decades now," and it's better safe than sorry.

  • Occupy rule (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @09:35AM (#39559137)
    Let's call this the occupy rule, because that's what it is. A way to intimidate people without having the messiness of a trial and stuff. You just have to arrest them, search and hold them for awhile and let them go. Note the language:

    'Every detainee ... may be required to undergo a close visual inspection

    That means the cops don't have any responsibility to find every weapon, but they can search you if they want to. If you get shived in lockup, that's your own bad luck.

  • by bkaul01 (619795) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @09:54AM (#39559355)
    The Supreme Court did not approve strip searches for "any arrestable offense." It approved them for anyone being put into the general prison population who, at the judgment of officials running said institution, need to be searched for health and safety reasons. Several justices wrote in attached opinions that the ruling does not necessarily apply to people who are arrested but will not be put into the general prison population. It's not "anyone who could be arrested" that may be strip searched: it's "anyone who's going to be put into the jail with other prisoners."
  • by ClayDowling (629804) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @09:56AM (#39559375) Homepage

    The strip search isn't part of the punishment, folks. The guy running the jail, and the strip search, doesn't give a rat's backside if you've been convicted or not. What he wants to do is make sure you're not bringing contraband into the prison population. It's a security measure for the jail. Otherwise, it becomes a pretty easy method of getting all kinds of unpleasant things into the jail. I don't have to stretch my imagination too far to see how to get weapons in, and smuggling drugs wouldn't be too hard either.

  • by assertation (1255714) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @09:57AM (#39559399)

    There is no fast way to fix the Supreme court. The "justices" are nominated by the president and confirmed by Congress/Senate. The only way to fix the supreme court is to consistently vote and vote "not Republican". The Republican will never place anyone on the Supreme court who isn't predisposed to supporting Big Business, Big Brother and Big Religion.

  • by shentino (1139071) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @09:59AM (#39559441)

    This is just a blank check for cops to arrest people and use this ruling as a back door to do an end run around the 4th amendment by letting the jail do the search for them.

    Before:

    1. Cop gets warrant
    2. Search happens
    3. Contraband found
    4. Cop makes arrest

    Now:

    1. Cop makes bullshit arrest
    2. Prison does a strip search
    3. Contraband found
    4. Subject gets busted for contraband

    So if the cops want to search you, now all they have to do is just slap the cuffs on you and boot you behind bars and let the prison filter out as contraband whatever it is they didn't want to get a warrant for out on the streets.

  • by tekrat (242117) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @10:02AM (#39559477) Homepage Journal

    What about Juvenile Detention facilities?

    PA had an issue where the detention facility was paying a judge to convict kids because the facility charged the state per kid, so, more kids == more profit.

    In NYC alone in 2011, we had 50,000 arrested for smoking a joint, and every one of those arrests is a potential strip search.

    There's an abuse of power already in progress, and we just gave them the ability to strip us literally, as well as strip us of our rights. 4th Amendment, anyone?

  • by realsilly (186931) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @10:04AM (#39559501)

    .... and be subject to a full cavity search. I can seen then how quickly they would reverse that decision.

    It's indecent and disgusting. I understand their reasoning, but when it's and all or nothing decision, and not one of common sense, it's simply wrong.

  • Context is important (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jawnn (445279) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @10:25AM (#39559799)
    The summary almost goes out of it's way to make it sound like one can be strip searched for a minor traffic offense. This is false. The SCOTUS decision applies to be individuals being processed into jail facilities. Officer and inmate safety is, obviously, compromised by allowing suspects into that environment without a thorough search. The decision is the right one.
  • Intimidation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sentrion (964745) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @10:38AM (#39560007)

    So how long before we start to see roadside strip searches of Occupy protestors? And just last week we were criticizing Egypt for their "virginity testing", which in practical terms, is almost the same procedure as a cavity search in the US.

  • by canajin56 (660655) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @11:04AM (#39560375)
    The USA has no legal concept of "arrestable" offense. Only summary vs. indictable offenses. You can be arrested for either.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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