Supreme Court: Strip searches, even for minor offenses
Siding with security needs over privacy rights, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that jailers may subject people arrested for minor offenses to invasive strip searches.
By a 5-4 vote, the court rejected a challenge from a New Jersey man who argued it's unconstitutional to force everyone to strip down for inspection. Albert Florence was arrested by a state trooper because of an error in the state's records that mistakenly said he was wanted on an outstanding warrant for an unpaid fine. Even if the warrant had been valid, failure to pay a fine is not a crime in New Jersey.
Florence was held for a week in two different jails before the charges were dropped. But at each jail, he was required to shower with delousing soap and undergo a strip search.
Let me repeat: Florence was held for a week in two different jails. And got strip-searched twice. For no fucking reason at all. And that's just fine with the United States Supreme Court.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that the total number of United States Supreme Court justices who have been strip-searched is at or near 0. I've never been strip-searched either, and I don't particularly want to be, but I imagine it's a singularly unpleasant experience, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVEN'T DONE ANYTHING WRONG.
Pair this little gem up with a case a few years ago called Atwater v. City of Lago Vista, where the Supreme Court held that's it's fine to arrest you and take you into custody for a traffic offense that carries no jail time and now it's cool for the cops to arrest you for, say, jaywalking, take you to jail, and strip-search you. YAY AMERICA. Feel safe now?
Oh, here's part of their rationale:
"One of the terrorists involved in the September 11 attacks was stopped and ticketed for speeding just two days before hijacking Flight 93."
9/11. It's the gift that never stops giving. Anything the government wants to do to you can be justified by just saying the magic numbers "9" and "11." The terrorists fucking won, all right.
Illinois Traffic Stop Of Star Trek Fans Raises Concerns About Drug Searches, Police Dogs, Bad Cops
Not sure why it's important that this happened to a "Star Trek fan," but that's not really the point. This is the point:
Last December, filmmaker Terrance Huff and his friend Jon Seaton were returning to Ohio after attending a "Star Trek" convention in St. Louis. As they passed through a small town in Illinois, a police officer, Michael Reichert, pulled Huff's red PT Cruiser over to the side of the road, allegedly for an unsafe lane change. Over the next hour, Reichert interrogated the two men, employing a variety of police tactics civil rights attorneys say were aimed at tricking them into giving up their Fourth Amendment rights. Reichert conducted a sweep of Huff's car with a K-9 dog, then searched Huff's car by hand. Ultimately, he sent Huff and Seaton on their way with a warning.
The whole article is worth reading, as it's a dramatic example of what happens when the War on Drugs affects white people. Replace "Star Trek fans" with "any black person" and it's something that happens every day in America. Anyway, whatever gets this kind of BS noticed.
This really shouldn't even be a political or partisan issue. I would hope that even Tea Party types would realize that the "freedom" and "liberty" they claim to revere is getting taken away every day by the invocation of two words: "terrorism" and "drugs." We are all truly fucked.
(Title ref: a true classic.)
UPDATE: So timely, DEA and IRS!