AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Corrections Law for Jails, Prisons and Detention Facilities
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Monthly Law Journal Article: Routine
Strip Searches to Combat Contraband, 2010
(4) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Cross Gender Strip Searches of Prisoners -- Part One, 2010 (5) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Cross Gender Strip Searches of Prisoners -- Part Two, 2010 (6) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Federal Appeals Court Reexamines Cross-Gender Strip Searches, 2011 (2) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
An African-American prisoner in Michigan claimed that, after his transfer to a new facility, he encountered a correctional officer who remembered him from the first prison as a "litigant," and who allegedly subjected him to body searches, threats implying the possible use of physical violence, and racial epithets. A federal appeals court found that the prisoner alleged facts sufficient to create a genuine issue of fact as to whether he had been subjected to unlawful retaliation for his role in the litigation at his former facility, even though the officer who allegedly threatened him had not been a defendant in that lawsuit. Reynolds-Bey v. Spicer, #09-1472, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 7660 (Unpub. 6th Cir.).
A federal prisoner claimed that officials violated his Fourth Amendment rights by conducting electronic word searches on documents that he drafted on a shared word processor. Upholding the dismissal of his lawsuit, a federal appeals court stated that "inmates have no legitimate expectation of privacy in their prison cells or possessions." Rodriguez v. Karge, #09-15482, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 20656 (Unpub.9th Cir.).
Despite the fact that results were negative from a second metal detector, a dog search, a rectal examination, an x-ray, and bowel movements in the presence of officers, all searching for a suspected hidden cell phone, a prisoner was allegedly forced to undergo exploratory abdominal surgery to look for it, which he argued violated his constitutional rights. A federal appeals court, while finding that the rectal examination did not violate his rights, ruled that the surgery did. The surgery was not reasonable or commonplace, and it involved trauma, risk and pain. It was not justified, given the doubt that it would result in the production of evidence of a crime. Surgery to determine whether the prisoner was concealing a cell phone in his rectum violated his clearly established Fourth Amendment rights. The appeals court reversed the dismissal of civil rights claims concerning the surgery against two correctional officers and a surgeon. Sanchez v. Pereira-Castillo, #08-1748, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 28250 (1st Cir.).
A prisoner's complaints of unreasonable search were devoid of factual plausibility. Measures taken by prison authorities were amply justified by the fact that he had set off a metal detector in the yard on three consecutive occasions, and also refused a subsequent order to squat and cough. Even if the metal detector was malfunctioning, as the prisoner claimed, this did not make it unreasonable for officers to insist that he comply with their orders, and he additionally had no reasonable expectation of privacy. Cann v. Hayman, #08-3032, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 21425 (3rd Cir.).
A prisoner complaining about a search of his cell and confiscation of his legal papers and other property failed to show a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights, since his status of incarceration meant that he had no right to privacy or protection from unreasonable searches. His due process rights were not violated, since there were adequate post-deprivation remedies for the seizure of his property, and he failed to show a violation of his First Amendment rights, since he alleged no actual injury that resulted from the removal of his legal papers and did not claim that the seizure of religious materials prevented him from observing any religious belief or practice. He also failed to show that there was a retaliatory motive for the search and a videotape of the search refuted any claim that an officer used excessive force in restraining the plaintiff. Tindell v. Beard, #09-3063, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 24642 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
While severe or repetitive sexual abuse by a correctional officer could be serious enough to violate the Eighth Amendment, a prisoner's claim that he was subject to excessive and intrusive body searches, including the handling of his penis, on three occasions, did not amount to such a violation. These, the court found, were minor, isolated incidents, and that, whatever the officers' motivations for these actions, the searches were conducted in a private location, and in a reasonable manner without humiliation, physical injury, or "undue" intrusion, and were justified by a purpose of locating contraband. Williams v. Fitch, No. 04-CV-6440, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 36481 (W.D.N.Y.).
Inmate failed to show that the seizure of his legal materials deprived him of access to the courts since he did not allege that he suffered any actual injury. While he claimed that he could not research a meritorious appeal, the prisoner had already filed both his appeal notice and filed his appeal brief with the court before the materials were seized. The court also ruled that the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches did not apply to a search of his prison cell, and that the seizure of his legal materials did not jeopardize his health or safety in violation of the Eighth Amendment. McNeil-El v. Diguglielmo, No. 07-2763, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 6978 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
Prisoner could not seek to impose civil liability on South Carolina correctional officials in their official capacities, as such claims were essential claims for money damages against the state. The prisoner could continue to pursue individual capacity claims against the defendants for alleged excessive use of force in the course of a search of the prisoner's cell. Frost v. Ozmint, No. 8:07-83, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 15784 (D.S.C.).
The Fourth Amendment's prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures does not apply to prison cells, where prisoners have no reasonable subjective expectation of privacy. The court also rejected the prisoner's due process claims, finding no evidence that his placement in administrative segregation exposed him to atypical or significant hardships. O'Cain v. Renton Police Dept., 06-36065, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 30262 (9th Cir.).
The Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches does not apply to the search of a prisoner's cell. Court rejects Ohio prisoner's Fourth Amendment claim based on a search of his cell for property allegedly missing from the medical unit, where he worked, which was not found during the search. Reznickcheck v. North Central Correctional Institution, No. 9-07-22, 2007 Ohio App. Lexis 5621 (Ohio App. 3rd Dist.).
Prisoner failed to show that a search of his cell and the confiscation of legal papers he possessed which belonged to other prisoners was unlawful retaliation for his exercise of his First Amendment rights in issuing a subpoena to the prison warden in a pending case. Peterson v. Lucero, No. 04-2318, 165 Fed. Appx. 657 (10th Cir. 2006). [N/R]
Even if, as inmate claimed, corrections officer touched his penis during a pat frisk carried out before he entered the exercise yard, this conduct was not a violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Carrying out a pat frisk under such circumstances was proper and such frisks can involve the area of the genitals. Davis v. Castleberry, No. 03-CV-65011, 364 F. Supp. 2d 319 (W.D.N.Y. 2005). [N/R]
Shakedown search of jail cells, and confiscation as contraband from prisoner of state's pretrial discovery answers and police reports in his criminal case which were in his possession was not improper. An Illinois Supreme Court rule barred lawyers in criminal cases from sharing such materials with their clients or others, and neither the jail officials nor the State's Attorney who informed the jail of the rule acted improperly. People v. Savage, No. 4-03-1065, 2005 Ill. App. Lexis 1091(Ill. App. 4th Dist.). [2006 JB Jan]
A jail nurse who allegedly took a prisoner's blood without his consent was entitled to absolute immunity in the prisoner's federal civil rights lawsuit when she took the blood under a facially valid warrant authorizing her actions and seeking evidence for purposes of use in his criminal prosecution. Boatner v. Hinds, No. 05-1320, 137 Fed. Appx. 499 (3rd Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Federal appeals court overturns dismissal of female detainees' claims that they were subjected to unreasonable danger when they are locked down in their cells for an entire weekend during a monthly search of the entire jail, and are out of the sight and hearing of guards for a prolonged period of time. Hart v. Sheahan, No. 04-1443, 396 F.3d 887 (7th Cir. 2005). [2005 JB Aug]
Indiana prisoner stated a possible claim for violation of his First Amendment rights based on claimed confiscation of anarchist pamphlets from him by correctional officers, but failed to present a claim for a violation of the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures or the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. The prisoner also asserted a viable equal protection claim on the basis of the alleged different treatment of other prisoners with similar political materials in their possession. Smith v. Carrasco, No. 3:04-CV-0010 AS, 334 F. Supp. 2d 1094 (N.D. Ind. 2004). [N/R]
Jail booking procedures, including a pat-down search, the collection of personal property, and the detention and handcuffing of the person being booked, were reasonable, even when applied during one hour detention of individual being processed pursuant to criminal summons for an offense only punishable by fine. Petersen v. Farnsworth, No. 03-4032, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 11711 (10th Cir). [2004 JB Aug]
A warrantless search of a convicted prisoner's cell, even though carried out to seek evidence of an uncharged crime rather than for any purpose related to prison security, did not violate his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. Willis v. Artuz, #00-0176, 301 F.3d 65 (2nd Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Dec]
Hand abrasion that prisoner suffered during frisk search was insufficient to support a claim for excessive use of force. Prison Litigation Reform Act requirement that a prisoner show a physical injury in order to recover damages for mental or emotional harm applied even though plaintiff was no longer a prisoner when he filed suit. Cox v. Malone, 199 F. Supp. 2d 135 (S.D.N.Y. 2002). [2002 JB Sep]
290:27 There was probable cause for a warrant to search prisoner's jail cell based on his alleged statements to a cellmate regarding plans to take retaliatory reprisals against his inlaws; defendant officials were entitled to qualified immunity on alleged seizure and reading of a letter from prisoner to attorney. Barstow v. Kennebec County Jail, 115 F. Supp. 2d 3 (D. Me. 2000).
[N/R] Requirement that prisoners remain silent during pat-down searches served legitimate purposes and did not violate First Amendment; force used against inmate when he failed to comply was minimal and did not violate Eighth Amendment. Brown v. Bbusch, 954 F.Supp. 588 (W.D.N.Y. 1997).
244:59 Officer's brief squeezing of inmate's testicles during pat search following end of prison kitchen work shift was not an unreasonable search, cruel and unusual punishment, or a violation of the inmate's religious rights as a Muslim. Hill v. Blum, 916 F.Supp. 470 (E.D. Pa. 1996).
218:29 Discovery of bomb-making instructions among prisoner's possessions provided exigent circumstances justifying search of prisoner's legal papers outside of his possession to investigate the possibility that other contraband was concealed. Wycoff v. Hedgepeth, 34 F.3d 614 (8th Cir. 1994).
Administrative directive providing that cells should be searched prior to placing new occupants in them did not give inmates a constitutionally protected liberty interest in having such searches conducted; inmates were properly found guilty of possession of contraband even though their cells were not searched prior to them being placed in them. Lasley v. Godinez, 833 F.Supp. 714 (N.D. Ill. 1993).
Wisconsin inmate could not be disciplined for refusal to obey order to submit to "random pat search" when there was not evidence that prison rules authorized the search. State ex rel. Anderson-El, State v. Shade, 510 (N.W.2d 805 (Wis. App. 1993).
Clothed body pat searches of female inmates by male guards constituted cruel and unusual punishment where many female inmates had experienced sexual abuse prior to incarceration and would suffer the pain of psychological trauma from unwanted intimate touching by male correctional officers. Jordan v. Gardner, 986 F.2d 1521 (9th Cir. en banc 1993). This en banc decision did not reach the plaintiff prisoners' Fourth Amendment and First Amendment freedom of religion claims, which had been rejected by an earlier decision by a three-judge panel in Jordan v. Gardner, 953 F.2d 1137 (9th Cir. 1992).
Male inmates' lawsuit asserting that female correctional officer fondled their genitals and anuses during pat-down searches stated a claim for Fourth Amendment violations. Watson v. Jones, 980 F.2d 1165 (8th Cir. 1992).
Female prison officer's observation of male inmates during strip searches and in "various states of undress" did not violate male inmates' right to privacy. Canedy v. Boardman, 801 F.Supp. 254 (W.D. Wis. 1992).
Officer liable for $1 nominal and $1,000 punitive damages for retaliatory searches of inmate's cell; federal appeals court holds that retaliatory searches of a cell can be "cruel and unusual punishment" without physical abuse, injury or pain. Scher v. Engelke, 943 F.2d 921 (8th Cir. 1991).
Routine random warrantless search of cell, without probable cause or particularized suspicion, did not violate Vermont State Constitution. State v. Berard, 576 A.2d 118 (Vt. 1990).
Female officer entitled to qualified immunity in lawsuit by pretrial detainee complaining that she watched him take a sample of his pubic hair. Clark v. Tinnin, 731 F.Supp. 998 (D. Colo. 1990).
X-ray search of prisoner being transferred to new facility was not unreasonable under the fourth amendment. People v. Pifer, 265 Cal.Rptr. 237 (Cal.App. 1989).
Detainee awarded $1 in damages and $4,561 in attorneys' fees for unlawful strip search. Polk v. Montgomery Co., 689 F.Supp. 556 (D. Md. 1988).
Jail's policy of conducting blanket strip/body cavity searches on each arrestee brought to jail ruled unconstitutional. O'Brien v. Borough of Woodbury Heights, 679 F.Supp. 429 (D.N.J. 1988).
Policy requiring strip search of administrative segregation inmates constitutional; hearing ordered on alleged retaliatory application. Hay v. Waldron, 834 F.2d 481 (5th Cir. 1987).
Alleged verbal harassment of inmate, strip-search and test for intoxicants were not cruel and unusual punishment. Ivey v. Wilson, 832 F.2d 950 (6th Cir. 1987).
Requiring arrestees to submit to a drug testing and treatment program is a search or seizure. Berry v. District of Columbia, 833 F.2d 1031 (D.C. Cir. 1987).
Prison officials need reasonable grounds to conduct digital, body cavity searches of prisoners. Vaughn v. Ricketts, 663 F.Supp. 401 (D. Ariz. 1987).
Inmate had no legitimate expectation of privacy against search of his cell which uncovered marijuana. State v. Guirlando, 509 So.2d 172 (La. App. 1987).
Strip search of police employee arrested for theft was unconstitutional; court refuses to dismiss her civil rights suit. Willing v. City of Farmington Hills, 406 N.W.2d 298 (Mich. App. 1987).
U.S. Court of Appeals for sixth circuit upholds strip search of pretrial detainee arrested for misdemeanor. Dobrowolsky v. Jefferson Co., Kentucky, Nos. 86-5234; 86-5451 (U.S.Ct. of Appeals 6th Cir. July 13, 1987).
Prisoner could not sue on basis of prison directive giving him right to be present during cell searches. Williams v. Kyler, 680 F.Supp. 172 (M.D. Pa. 1986).
Court modifies standards for prisoner and detainee strip searches. Smith v. Montgomery Co., 643 F.Supp. 435 (D. Md. 1986).
Rectal searches can be performed on control unit inmates absent reasonable suspicion when they leave and reenter the prison; physical restraints during attorney visitation and out-of-cell time also upheld. Bruscino v. Carlson, 654 F.Supp. 609 (S.D. Ill. 1987).
Court allows visual body cavity searches before and after visits with attorneys and clergymen. Goff v. Nix, 803 F.2d 358 (8th Cir. 1986).
Force used for tuberculosis test upheld in the interest of the state. Ballard v. Woodard, 641 F.Supp. 432 (W.D. N.C. 1986).
Searching inmate in single-cell upheld. Williams v. State, 378 N.W.2d 894 (Iowa 1985).
Matron's strip-search of arrestee conducted without legitimate reason. Fricker v. Stokes, 490 N.E.2d 577 (Ohio 1986).
No violation in sending seized letter to third party. Nakao v. Rushen, 635 F.Supp. 1362 (N.D. Cal. 1986).
Woman not placed in holding cell because it was too full; her subsequent strip-search in pretrial detainee area upheld. Weber v. Dell, 630 F.Supp. 255 (W.D. N.Y. 1986).
Suit for anal cavity search to proceed. Levoy v. Mills, 788 F.2d 1437 (10th Cir. 1986).
Visual body cavity searches following various events enjoined. Goff v. Nix, 626 F.Supp. 736 (S.D. Iowa 1985).
Urine screening program not unlawful research. State v. Jensen, 373 N.W.2d 902 (N.D. 1985).
Warden's ordering rectal search of inmate was violation of regulation. United States v. Smith, 774 F.2d 1005 (10th Cir. 1985).
Court upholds use of taser gun to force cooperation. Michenfelder v. Sumner, District Court, Nevada, CV-R-84-279-ECR, 12/27/85.
Injunction granted against EMIT urine tests as basis for discipline. Higgs v. Wilson, 616 F.Supp. 226 (D.C. Ky. 1985).
Method of prisoner search unreasonable. People v. West, 216 Cal.Rptr. 195 (Cal.App. 1985).
Asking the jury, "how would you feel" if strip-searched? does not require reversal. Joan v. City of Chicago, 771 F.2d 1020 (7th Cir. 1985).
Strip-searches in front of fellow inmates upheld. Wagner v. Thomas, 608 F.Supp. 1095 (D.C. Tex. 1985).
Although county's strip-search policy for pretrial detainees was unconstitutional, individual defendants were immune from liability. John Doe 1 - 100 v. Boyd, Civil 4-84-378, (D.C. Minn. 1985).
U.S. Supreme Court rules inmates not protected by Fourth Amendment; pretrial detainees not entitled to contact visits. Block v. Rutherford, 104 S.Ct. 3227 (1984) and Hudson v. Palmer, 104 S.Ct. 3194.
State law mandate does not insulate county from liability; sheriff and matron entitled to qualified immunity in strip search case. Davis v. City of Camden, 657 F.Supp. 396 (D.N.J. 1984).
Procedures for random urine testing debated. Storms v. Coughlin, 600 F.Supp. 1214 (S.D.N.Y. 1984).
Court reduces award for misdemeanant's strip search to what others generally receive. Levka v. City of Chicago, 748 F.2d 421 (7th Cir. 1984).
Muslim inmate should not have refused pat frisk by female guards, despite that it violated his religious rights. Rivera v. Smith, 472 N.E.2d 1015 (N.Y. 1984).
Co.'s model order for strip and body cavity searches. The Missouri Police Chiefs, 9/84, page 8.
Urine testing program upheld. Jensen v. Lick, 589 F.Supp. 35 (D. N.D. 1984).
Guard liable up to $6,000 for putting finger in prisoner's anus during unnecessary strip-search. McKinley v. Trattles, 732 F.2d 1320 (7th Cir. 1984).
Although a search warrant is not needed to search cells, officials cannot seize items without valid reasons. Cook v. City of New York, 578 F.Supp. 179 (S.D. N.Y. 1984).
Search of state inmate's cell to aid county's investigation improper. Makao v. Rushen, 580 F.Supp. 718 (N.D. Cal. 1984).
Using metal detector to search prisoner was proper; error in shackling witness harmless. People v. Valenzuela, 198 Cal.Rptr. 469 (App. 1984).
Error in refusing to admit prison report on search was harmless. Moffett v. McCauley, 724 F.2d 581 (7th Cir. 1984).
Female guards can not pat-down male inmates. Rivera v. Smith, 472 N.Y.S.2d 211 (App. 1984).
Four female detainees arrested for misdemeanors awarded damages for being strip-searched. Mary Beth G. v. City of Chicago, 723 F.2d 1263 (7th Cir. 1984).
Co. jail may routinely conduct visual strip-searches of all pretrial detainees regardless of the severity of crime charged against them. Roscom v. City of Chicago, 570 F.Supp. 1259 (N.D. Ill. 1983).
Correctional officials and state police officers liable for conducting skin test constituting unreasonable search of inmate during murder investigation. Clark v. Taylor, 710 F.2d 4 (1st Cir. 1983). Search of prisoner following wife's visit was permissible. State v. Brown, 658 P.2d 44 (Wash. App. 1983).
Strip search of inmates as they leave and return to segregation after visits and law library visits is permissible. Arruda v. Fair, 710 F.2d 886 (1st Cir. 1983).
Permissible to conduct inventory search of inmate's property at time of booking. Illinois v. Lafayette, U.S. 103 S.Ct. 2605 (1983).
Female guards allowed to search inmate despite inmate's objection for religious reasons. Sam'l v. Mintzes, 554 F.Supp. 416 (E.D. Mich. 1983).
Female guards allowed to frisk male inmates even though male guards were not allowed to frisk female inmates. Madigan v. Franzen, 704 F.2d 954 (7th Cir. 1983).
Muslim inmate may refuse search by female guards. Rivera v. Smith, 462 N.Y.S.2d 352 (App. 1983).
Strip search of female pretrial detainee was proper; Section 1983 claim against sheriff and county was dismissed. Roscom v. City of Chicago, 570 F.Supp. 1259 (N.D. Ill. 1983); see also 550 F.Supp. 153 (N.D. Ill. 1982).
Sheriff liable for $16,368 in attorney fees for improper strip searches of detainees. DeMeir v. Gondles, 676 F.2d 92 (4th Cir. 1982).
Love letters found in prisoner's cell were properly admitted as evidence in murder trial. State v. Manning, 323 N.W.2d 217 (Iowa 1982).
Urine test results not admissible in disciplinary hearing due to improperly conducted procedure. Batista v. Kuhlmann, 457 N.Y.S.2d 931 (App. 1982).
Permissible to search prisoner's inventoried items without a search warrant. People v. Greenwald, 90 A.D.2d 668, 455 N.Y.S.2d 865 (App. 1982).
North Dakota Supreme Court rules that inmate's required participation in urine screening program did not violate his constitutional rights. Hampson v. Satran, 319 N.W.2d 796 (N.D. 1982).
Warrantless search of probationer's duffel bag at work site held reasonable in light of security interest of state. In re Alan R., 183 Cal.Rptr. 325 (App. 1982). Seventh Circuit holds that pat-down searches of male inmates by female prison guards is not unconstitutional. Smith v. Gairman, 678 F.2d 52 (7th Cir. 1982).
Appeals court rules that strip search of allegedly intoxicated driver as routine procedure violates Fourth Amendment. Logan v. Shealy, 660 F.2d 1007 (4th Cir. 1981).
Virginia court upholds random search of inmate's locker without probable cause to insure institutional security and all inmates' safety. Marrero v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 284 S.E.2d 809 (Va. 1981).
Attorney fees awarded for improper cell search and seizure of legal documents. Bonner v. Coughlin, 657 F.2d 931 (7th Cir. 1981).
Washington appeals court finds routine search of inmate's cell for security purposes reasonable; upholds weapons conviction. State v. Justice, 629 P.2d 454 (Wash. App. 1981).
Virginia Federal Court rules that a body cavity probe following an enema is improper, if proved; orders magistrate to impanel jury to further develop facts. Coleman v. Hutto, 500 F.Supp. 586 (E.D. Va. 1980).
Court upholds warrantless patdown search of work-release inmate who was enroute back to his detention facility. State v. Patrick, 381 So.2d 501 (La. 1980).
Illinois district court grants prisoner protective order to prevent strip searches before and after his attorney's visit to prepare his deposition. Sims v. Brierton, 500 F.Supp. 813 (N.D. Ill. 1980).
Legality of strip searches depends on circumstances, Colorado Federal Court rules; refuses to dismiss strip search suit. Massey v. Wilson, 484 F.Supp. 1332 (D. Colo. 1980).
Wisconsin District Court rules that unannounced cell search outside of inmate's presence is constitutionally valid. Beckett v. Powers, 494 F.Supp. 364 (W.D. Wisc. 1980).
Search of cell of `known accomplice' after contraband discovered in friends' cell is permissible. Brown v. Hilton, 492 F.Supp. 771 (D.N.J. 1980).
Polygraph results obtained by trainee examiner inadmissible in disciplinary proceeding, even when requested by inmate. Herron v. Oregon State Penitentiary, 617 P.2d 320 (Ore. App. 1980).
South Carolina Supreme Court rules that prison officials investigating violation by inmate did not deny his constitutional rights by administering polygraph to other inmates but refusing to let him take it. Pruitt v. State, 266 S.E.2d 779 (S.C. 1980).
Warrantless search of work-release inmate's locker ruled unconstitutional. Commonwealth v. Gabrielle, 409 A.2d 1173 (Pa. App. 1979).
Nebraska Supreme Court finds warrantless seizure of bedsheet containing blood, semen, from inmate's deadlocked cell permissible. State v. Kerns, 271 N.W.2d 48 (Neb. 1978).
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