On April 2, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Florence v. Board of liked Freeholders of county of Burlington, No. 10-945, holding that persons arrested and also detained in a detention facility even for minor offenses might be subjected to invasive searches because that weapons, drugs, and also other contraband without violating the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.

A brand-new Jersey state trooper arrested Albert Florence during a web traffic stop, as soon as a inspect of a statewide computer database found a bench warrant for his arrest after that failed to show up at a hearing to enforce a fine. Florence was detained in ar detention centers but released when it was established that the fine had been paid. In ~ the detention centers, that was compelled to shower, and to it is in searched while naked (including human body cavity searches, lifting that genitals, and coughing while squatting). He filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action in federal court alleging violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and also arguing that persons arrested because that minor offenses can not be based on invasive searches uneven prison officials have actually reason to suspect concealment of weapons, drugs, or various other contraband. The ar court granted him summary judgment. The 3rd Circuit reversed. The supreme Court granted certiorari to address differing conclusions among the commonwealth Courts of Appeals. (The First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and also Tenth Circuits had forced reasonable apprehension that one arrestee is concealing tools or contraband before a strip search that one arrested for a young offense have the right to take place. The Ninth and also Eleventh Circuits had actually not implemented that requirement.)

A divided Supreme Court affirmed, 5-4. The Court stated: "Correctional officials have a legit interest, indeed a responsibility, to ensure the jails room not made less secure by factor of what new detainees may lug in on their bodies. … In addressing this kind of constitutional insurance claim courts have to defer to the judgment of correctional officials uneven the record contains comprehensive evidence mirroring their plans are an unnecessary or unjustified response to problems of jail security. That necessary showing has actually not been made in this case." The Court declared that the "record provides proof that the seriousness that an offense is a bad predictor of who has contraband and also that it would certainly be daunting in practice to recognize whether separation, personal, instance detainees loss within the suggest exemption. Human being detained because that minor offenses deserve to turn out to it is in the most devious and dangerous criminals. … Experience reflects that civilization arrested for minor offenses have tried to smuggle prohibited items into jail."

The Court explained that the truth that people arrested for minor offenses might be among the detainees handle at detention framework is "a an effect of the exercise of state authority" approved in Atwater v. Lago Vista, 532 U.S. 318 (2001). Atwater holds the officers might make a custodial arrest based upon probable cause to believe that the person has committed a criminal offense in their presence, even if the offense can not an outcome in jail time and also there was no compelling require for instant detention.

Part IV that the Court"s decision left open up several issues: what species of searches would certainly be reasonable in instances wherein a detainee would be held without assignment come the general jail population and without substantial contact with various other detainees; whether such searches deserve to be carried out when the detention has not been reviewed by a righteousness officer; what results arise from officers engaging in intentional humiliation and also other abusive practices; and how to resolve concerns around the invasiveness of searches that involve the poignant of detainees.

Justice Kennedy yielded the opinion of the Court, i m sorry Chief righteousness Roberts and Justices Scalia and also Alito join in full and Justice cutting board joined other than for component IV.


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Chef Justice Roberts and Justice Alito filed concurring opinions. Righteousness Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, join by justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and also Kagan.