Monday, October 28, 2013

Strip searching in jail overkill for minor traffic violations

Last year the US Supreme Court okayed jails strip searching defendants upon entry, even for minor offenses. CBS-11 out of Dallas reported last week on a case in Richland Hills where a driver was arrested by the city marshal for an unpaid ticket from August (rolling through a stop sign), during which she was forced to disrobe at the jail. Reported the TV station:
[Sarah] Boaz’ expected trip to work Wednesday morning never happened. Because of her unpaid ticket, the Richland Hills City Marshal was waiting at her house with a warrant for her arrest. “I’m like, nobody puts out a bench warrant after 60 days. Why would you do that? You wouldn’t do that.”

Even when Boaz arrived at the jail, in handcuffs, she still didn’t think it was real. Then a female officer started giving her instructions. She remembered the officer saying, “’I’m going to need you to undress. I’m going to need you to stand against the wall. Please don’t step in front of this white box, or I’ll take that [as]… aggressive toward me. Obviously I am going to jail.”

CBS 11 News learned being stripped down is standard procedure for anyone brought to the jail in North Richland Hills. In an email to CBS 11 News Friday morning, the North Richland Hills Police Department said though Boaz was forced to undress, the search is not considered a strip search. In that email they said, “She was given a dress out. Before they go into the cell they are taken by a detention officer of the same sex to a private room with no cameras. They have to remove all clothing and they are given a jumpsuit. The officer searches their clothes, at no time does the officer touch them.”

Richland Hills is small enough that it only has one marshal. Warrants for unpaid tickets don’t sit around for months, like they might in larger cities.

Attorney Jason Smith told CBS 11 News though, there’s nothing requiring the city to put people in jail. “The constitution doesn’t keep the government or government officials from using common sense. Unfortunately, some police officers, some governments get overly aggressive because they want that ticket revenue.”
Ms. Boaz may perhaps be forgiven for failing to see the distinction between being forced to strip in the jail and a "strip search." The Supreme Court's ruling last year left the decision to strip search jailed defendants up to the discretion of localities, but the decision leaves no recourse when that discretion is abused. Putting drivers through that ordeal for failure to pay small-time traffic fines seems like overkill.

Another question comes to mind: Is it a good or bad thing that the room where strip searches are performed had no camera? Eliminating cameras there might prevent voyeurism on the part of other jailers, but it also means any potential abuses during the process wouldn't be documented. What do readers think?


Anonymous said...

This is nothing when compared to having a shotgun stuck in your face at a roadside checkpoint:

Robert Langham said...

We are getting the government we deserve. We are going to get even more of it.

An Attorney said...

This is generally counterproductive to revenue. A person jailed usually gets credit for time served against any ticket amount.

It is huge overkill. There are people all over this state who have multiple tickets outstanding and have had for many months. She was a soft target!

Anonymous said...

I am a female corrections officer in a female unit and I believe that it would be beneficial for me to have cameras present when I strip search offenders to avoid implication, however, the reason cameras aren't allowed is probably the same reason why male officers are not permitted to strip female offenders. It also may be an issue of psychological or social dispute. Many female offenders suffer from post-traumatic stress resulting from either violence involving sex or humiliating encounters involving family members. It's humiliating enough to be stripped by different female officers, but would be fatal to do so in front of a camera.

Either way, it would be an endless constitutional battle that Texas will not have the physical or financial resources for.

doran said...

I think the solution is in the hands of the Texas Legislature. This problem can be dealt with by an Act of the Legislature prohibiting strip searches, or any other procedure involving dis-robing, for certain levels of so-called crimes.

RSO wife said...

Why go after real criminals when you can take down some unsuspecting female who has an outstanding traffic ticket. After all, she broke the law didn't she? And while we're at it, lets humiliate her by handcuffing her, hauling her to jail in a squad car and then making her take off all her clothes.

I'm sure that by making sure that all traffic ticket violators are treated like the criminals they are and are properly punished our cities will be much safer. I feel so much safer already.

As long as we have "tough on crime" politicians out there, we will have "soft on common sense" cops. The cops take the easiest targets with the least amount of work involved to keep up the numbers that make the "tough on crime" politicians look like they know what they are talking about.

A conviction is a conviction to the statisticians, and come election time the statistics - real or imagined - are what gets the same people elected again and again. If we keep on doing what we've been doing and electing the same kind of politicians again and again, we'll keep on getting what we've been getting. Only you can make a difference.

Anonymous said...

I am still traumatized from my strip search in Harris County Jail. The guard was sadistic and made us parade in our panties then stick our rear ends toward her and spread legs and then get down and cough. When she realized i was having a hard time with this, she really zeroed in on me and drew the incident out. I was in for civil disobedience. I get sick to my stomach every time I think about it.

Anonymous said...

Many States would just mail a bill and add interest if it is not paid . If you did get stopped you might get a subpoena to appear , but not brought to the local lock up and treated as if you just got caught robbing a bank .

In the nest elections the possibility of fixing this and many of the problems brought up on this blog might be possible .The 2016elctins have a belter chance at fixing many problems by then the demographics will be just enough to vote the authoritarian or totalitarian wing out as a majority . 7:40 is right voters elect the supposedly tough on crime politicians . Often jail served time counts against any fine . it is counter productive but much more fun for the thugs in blue .

Anonymous said...

I purchased my HPD Police Incident Report as a 'Requirement' prior to filing an Application for a Full Pardon - for / based on innocence.

Two H.C. deputies are quoted as saying "he was arrested on an OTW". I called the Constable's Office and Mr. Estes said he himself would've served it and his records indicate it never existed."

Despite being arrested on a Fake OTW, I was still subjected to the very same treatment reserved for god damn criminals. Despite it being verifiable as Fake, I was hauled into court cuffed and received time served.

The taxpayers' paid the salaries of everyone involved and the crime stats' indicated that another OTW was sought, signed off on & served.

Guess what, no-one gives a crap except for me, myself & I. You'll give a crap, but only if it happens to you.

Anonymous said...

Just by saying “I’m like," in 2013 should be grounds for community service. And, yes, when someone rolls through a stop sign, it's considered a crime, but never should rise to the level of arresting, jailing & justifiable perverion. Damn you al quada.

How hard would it be to attach the amount owed to the criminal's Utility Bill in $25. dollar incriments.

How many lezbos' or fags slipped a finger or two and denied it. No cameras, no crime, move along.

I say join me in Boycotting everything Richland Hills along with every single community that exploits this avenue of revenue.

Anyone have a list of these perverted cities? Or, a list of those that don't?

Anonymous said...

This Post has me wondering, what the results would be if someone did a poll regarding how many bisexuals are on the U.S. Supreme Court and how many are employed in the city & county jails.

How many Pen Cams do you think get snuck in resulting in a closet full of clips?

Anonymous said...

Warning, If you go to jail or prison for any reason, be prepared to get naked every single day. Be prepared to do it two or three times a day and within a couple feet of but-pirates and croch watchers.

Then when you take that shower be prepared to make eye contact with someone pulling their pud or poking a puff. Eventually, you don't even notice the jailers and guards.

Anonymous said...

I just went to that site showing the cop with that rifle in that man face. I would of told him to get that thing out of my face and then called internal affairs if he didn't. This extreme type of a police state is going too far. Its not just the police; its the govt. We can either bitch about it on the internet or do something about it.

Anonymous said...

I wrote to the Supreme Court when they were ruling on the Albert Florence case. Their ruling was even more unbelievable, because this was an obvious case of abuse.

The guy was arrested for a ticket that was already paid, (he had a letter as proof of payment). Then he was held for a WEEK!!
Seriously!?!? In this age of instant communication?

And then during that week he was moved form one jail to another...and stripped again!?!?

And this is just one screwed up decision from this court...they have made more of them, enough to show that corruption has now even reached our last branch of Government.

Vegas Bondsman said...

I doubt that 1 in 10 "strip searches" or cavity searches are done with proper probable cause in the proper context. Tons of abuse.

Unknown said...

America is really shooting it's self in the foot here. Believe me people around the world do hear about these an and many other stories of abuse. It has a profound effect on people's desire to spend their hard earned money and visit America. America is quickly getting more and more of a reputation of being an abusive police state and it is really effecting tourism and thus costing America untold billions. Global travel is way up, people coming to America down. Believe me I have heard so many people tell me they are too scared to set foot in America.

Unknown said...

If you ask me that seems like a little too much for just minor traffic violations. I don't understand why someone would need to be striped naked for this. A strip search is a lot different from actually having to strip your clothes.

Jessie |