Letters to the Editor

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SUPREME COURT: Strip search ruling is unreasonable

Letter by Suzi Loya, Gig Harbor on April 9, 2012 at 1:11 pm with 10 Comments »
April 9, 2012 1:11 pm

Help me understand a recent Supreme Court ruling. If I am arrested for jaywalking (or similar minor offense), I can be strip searched without probable cause before entering a correctional facility. However, if I am pulled over while driving and the officer has no reason to suspect drugs or weapons, he must legally procure a warrant, or have my consent, before searching me.

What I do understand is a person does not give up 4th Amendment rights by virtue of detainment. There is nothing at all “reasonable” about this high court decision.

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. But this Court has protected the Right of “Speech” of anonymous donors to Super Pacs and is about to protect the Constitutional right to not buy insurance – what are you complaining about? Who cares about the 4th Amendment anyway?

  2. Stay out of trouble, don’t have to worry!

  3. alindasue says:

    Romulan said, “Stay out of trouble, don’t have to worry!”

    Famous words said with slight variation by people who’ve accepted tyranny and police states throughout history – and yet you people are worried about being mandated to buy medical insurance?

  4. APimpNamedSlickback says:


    The difference between your two scenarios is not detainment, but custody. Person who is under arrest is being detained and kept in the custody of the state. A person who has been pulled over is being detained for duration of an investigation, but is not in the custody of the state.

    The state has the right to search people in its custody as needed in order to protect health and safety of the facility, the staff, and those in custody. The state has an obligation once it takes a person into custody to not inflict cruel and unusual punishment. Confining people with others who have not been adequately searched to remove contraband puts those in confinement at a heightened risk of illness or injury.

    Arrestees bringing drugs, weapons, or communications into secured facilities is a very real, everyday problem in the corrections system. And while you would classify the jaywalker as less of a threat because of the crime (though I doubt one could be arrested for jaywalking), the correctional staff must view every arrestee as a potential threat, without regard to the reason they are there.

    It is not unheard of for some criminals to smuggle drugs and weapons into jails by allowing themselves to be arrested for minor offenses. Think about it, if you’re a gangbanger and one of your buddies is in jail and needs drugs or a weapon, what is the easiest way to get it to him? Go where he is. To do that, you must get arrested. But most people who are willing to do this are going to commit minor offenses just so that they can get into the facility to deliver the contraband, and then get out as quickly as possible. Excepting minor offenders from searches only increases the chances of contraband getting into the facility.

    You don’t lose your 4th Amendment right because of detainment. It is seriously eroded, though, when you are taken into custody.

  5. took14theteam says:

    Suck it up. It is the same as what the TSA does to us every time we fly. Need to make sure the 80 year old in a wheel chair is not packing explosives in their neither region (but let the 20 something middle eastern looking man go on through so it doesn’t appear that you are profiling). And you aren’t under arrest when you fly. Wait….

  6. hansgruber says:

    Suzi, if you are arrested AND booked into a correctional facility (JAIL), you lose basically lose your 4th amendment right.

    The highest court has ruled….for now!

    This is as dumbed down as I can make it.

  7. BlaineCGarver says:

    Detained = Screwed
    No, I don’t like it. It’s unconstitutional. And, WTF does health care issues have to do with this?? Grow UP!

  8. WTF does health care issues have to do with this??

    The S.C. inconsistent logic that demonstrates an ideological basis for many decisions rather than any protection of Constitutional concepts.

  9. In Alabama:

    Pants go a saggin’
    Behind gets a raggin’

  10. By protecting the constitutional right to not buy health insurance, SCOTUS also protects the Constitutional right to not buy carbon credits.

    One may never get sick, but required health insurance assures one can get healthcare. One may never get cold, but required carbon credits assure one can get warm.

    If required health insurance is constitutional, I’m sure SCOTUS can find the requirement for carbon credits somewhere in the penumbras and emanations of the 14th amendment.

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