Thursday, October 13, 2011

What kind of country are we living in?

In 2005 Albert Florence, driving in his car with his family was improperly arrested on a bogus warrant. He was held for 6 days in a county jail in New Jersey and, during that time was "repeatedly strip searched".

And by strip search I mean, "strip naked for inspection, lift his genitals, squat and cough."

Albert sued and the case has reached the Supreme Court. The lawyer for the jail says automatic strip searches are necessary. "It's impossible to determine whether or not a minor offender is a risk or not," he said. "You could be a minor offender because you've just been stopped for a speeding violation" or "you could be a murderer."


People, in what world do even murderers routinely drive around in their cars with their families with dangerous weapons in their rectums or taped to the back of their testicles?

Secondarily, even in New Jersey, police certainly can look up a person via computer and quickly determine their criminal record. So yes, you could be a speeder or a murderer, but we can find out in 5 minutes or less!

Needless to say, the geriatric recluses that populate our Supreme Court did not exactly cover themselves in glory during oral arguments in this case:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked if "showering in the presence of officers" violated the Constitution's ban on unreasonable searches. Goldstein (lawyer for Mr. Florence) said no, but that a close inspection at an "arm's length" would be a violation.

That answer didn't sit well with Justice Sonia Sotomayor. "It's OK to stand five feet away, but not two? That doesn't make much sense to me."

What about a visual body cavity search, she asked.

"There's a material difference," replied Goldstein, between a "visual body cavity inspection ... where you require someone to bend over, and cough" to expose the anus, and a visual inspection of a naked prisoner at arm's length. But he contended neither should be permissible without some individualized suspicion.

Justice Samuel Alito asked whether it would be permissible for jail authorities to require every prisoner to shower with anti-lice soap in front of an officer 10 feet away. Goldstein said that would be permissible. So "your only concern is searches that go farther than that?" asked Alito. Goldstein said that was "exactly right."

Justice Anthony Kennedy noted that, at least when he was in private practice, county jails were much more dangerous than penitentiaries because "you don't know who these people are"; you "arrest them for traffic [offenses] and they may be some serial killer."

What is so hard for these morons to understand. You don't "repeatedly strip search" someone for a freaking traffic violation.

Full stop.

The august justices seem to have all watched the entire set of "Porky's" movies before donning their robes.

1 comment:

Tom said...

OK, one doesn't "'repeatedly strip search' [anyone] for a freaking traffic violation." I'll go you one better: don't jail a person for a f-ing traffic violation AT ALL. Surely, bail in the amount of the alleged missed fine would suffice for even the most rabid law-and-order zealot. ...until the thing gets cleared up -- upon which the cops must apologize and compensate the mistreated citizen for his trouble.

"All men are created equal" has no "except for cops" clause.