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Name: Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders
Case #: 10-945
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 04/02/2012
Subsequent History: Cross-site: 132 S.Ct. 1510; 182 L.Ed.2d 566
Summary

A detainee’s privacy rights are limited in a jail setting and every detainee admitted to the general jail population may be required to submit to a close visual examination while undressed. Following a vehicle stop, petitioner was arrested on a warrant issued for his failure to pay fines. He was booked into custody and over the next few days subjected to two searches by jail personnel while he was unclothed, and then placed in the general jail population. It was later determined that the fines had been paid but the warrant for some unexplained reason had not been recalled. Petitioner sued the government, arguing that persons arrested for a minor offense should not be required to remove their clothing in the intake process. In this certiorari action, the Court found that when an arrestee goes through the intake process prior to being admitted to the general jail population, security concerns of jail personnel justify visual searches of the unclothed detainee to insure that contraband does not enter the facility, disease threats are lessened, and potential violence is curbed. Such search procedures strike a reasonable balance between inmate privacy and the needs of the institutions and the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments do not require adoption of procedures to accommodate petitioner’s positions. A detainee’s privacy rights are limited in a jail setting and every detainee admitted to the general jail population may be required to submit to a close visual examination while undressed. Following a vehicle stop, petitioner was arrested on a warrant issued for his failure to pay fines. He was booked into custody and over the next few days subjected to two searches by jail personnel while he was unclothed, and then placed in the general jail population. It was later determined that the fines had been paid but the warrant for some unexplained reason had not been recalled. Petitioner sued the government, arguing that persons arrested for a minor offense should not be required to remove their clothing in the intake process. In this certiorari action, the Court found that when an arrestee goes through the intake process prior to being admitted to the general jail population, security concerns of jail personnel justify visual searches of the unclothed detainee to insure that contraband does not enter the facility, disease threats are lessened, and potential violence is curbed. Such search procedures strike a reasonable balance between inmate privacy and the needs of the institutions and the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments do not require adoption of procedures to accommodate petitioner’s positions.