Fourth Amendment Blog on Strip Searches

Courts, it seems, are obsessed with strip searches.  In the conservative Fifth Circuit, misdemeanor arrestees may not be strip searched without reasonable suspicion.  (More here.)

This is a weird issue for me.  I understand the "inherent dignity" of mankind arguments.  Yet I showered in a locker room since Junior High.  What's the big deal about someone strip searching you?

During Basic Training, I was strip searched for contraband.  Most of the guys there (all-male Basic Training) were high school athletes.  None of us thought it bizarre.

Wins for the Fourth Amendment are so rare, that I shouldn't take a contrarian view.  Take your wins where you can.

Probably the answer is in culture.  If a woman takes her top off in public, people freak.  People in the United States are uncomfortable with a woman breast feeding.  Thus, there's something "special" about being naked.

Intellectually, I see the point.  I don't agree with the arguments, however.

Third Circuit Uphold Strip Search Policy

Shannon P. Duffy, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, has a story that begins:

For decades, it was well settled in federal law that jails cannot employ a blanket strip-search policy that includes even those arrested on minor offenses whose behavior would not trigger any reasonable suspicion of the need for such an intrusive search.
Those days are over.
The pendulum is now swinging in the other direction and the law is very much in flux as illustrated by Tuesday's decision from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld blanket strip-search policies in two New Jersey counties.
You may read the rest here.  Our prior posts on strip searches are available here.

PLRA Legal Fees

Brother, can you spare a dollar-fifty?

Mootness and Prevailing Parties

The Legal Intelligencer has this report:

In Singer Management Consultants Inc. v. Milgram, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has granted en banc rehearing before a 16-judge court to decide on the proper test for determining when a plaintiff is entitled to attorney fees as the "prevailing party."
The vote to rehear the case en banc was a swift one, and it vacates an Aug. 5 decision that said plaintiffs may be entitled to fees even when a case is declared moot if the presiding judge played a role in persuading government officials to change their legal positions.
A dissenting judge, however, said he believes that a plaintiff never enjoys the status of prevailing party unless he emerges from court with an enforceable order. Apparently that dissenting view has now swayed a majority of the court's judges to vote for rehearing.
You may read the rest of the story here.  Our prior discussion of this horrible doctrine is here.