Strip Searches: The Court Of Appeals Says No, No!
May 29, 2010
Is it a common practice for police to use a search warrant to strip search every person in a location without a strong indication the place is “devoted” to criminal activity.
Recently the New York State Court Of Appeals said that drugs found on one man in 2006 during a raid of an apartment in Syracuse can not be used as evidence. Robert Mothersel and six other individuals were stripped searched on this occasion.
The New State Court Of Appeals said broad-based search warrants are unconstitutional unless police surveillance shows every person at a particular location would have contraband or criminal evidence on them. In the case involving Robert Mothersel, the court found the strip searches were inappropriate. Mr. Mothersel was stripped searched and a body cavity search was conducted. Drugs were found in his buttocks. At the time of the search Mr. Mothersel was not under arrest. The Court of Appeals found the drugs found in Mr. Mothersel’s buttocks were illegally obtained and could not be used against him in court.
A Syracuse detective involved in the case stated at a court hearing “in the execution of hundreds of all-person-present warrants, the people were routinely stripped searched and required to facilitate the examination of their anal and genital cavities.”
Judge Libbman, writing for the New York Court Of Appeals, described circumstances wherin such broad-based strip search warrants would be approved.
He stated “we think it is clear that surveillance of a location may yield a factual basis to infer with the requisite force that the place is devoted to an ongoing illicit purpose, such as the manufacturing or marketing of narcotics, . . . and that all those present at the time of the contemplated search will probably in possession of contraband or other specified evidence of illegality.”
Strip searches, and especially body cavity searches, can amount to the deprivation of the most basic rights of privacy a United States citizen should expect. We hope you never experience this humiliating situation. If you or a family member were improperly subject to an outrageous violation of your right to privacy feel free to call us at 1-800-344-6431 or contact us by email. We will protect your rights.