University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Abshire v. Walls JC-MD-0013
Docket / Court Docket No. Not Available ( D. Md. )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
This strip search case was brought in May 1984 by a pretrial detainee against Baltimore County police officers in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The plaintiff was an off-duty deputy sheriff who was arrested for disorderly conduct after police officers refused to ... read more >
This strip search case was brought in May 1984 by a pretrial detainee against Baltimore County police officers in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The plaintiff was an off-duty deputy sheriff who was arrested for disorderly conduct after police officers refused to release him when he identified himself as a fellow law enforcement officer. He had been drinking and tripped, knocking himself unconscious. When police officers found and revived him, he was lying on top of a .38 caliber revolver, and a briefcase that contained additional ammunition. At the station, oficers handcuffed him, then strip searched him. Plaintiff sued, claiming, among other things, false imprisonment, false arrest, and an unconstitutional strip search.

On December 9, 1885, the Court (Judge Herbert F. Murray) granted summary judgment on various of plaintiff's claims as to various defendants and the remainder, including the strip search claim, went to a jury trial. The jury found in plaintiff's favor on the strip search claim, and awarded $2000 in compensatory damages and $5000 in punitive damages against the individual officers. Defendants moved for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, and the Court denied the motion, as the question of reasonableness of the search was for the jury.

The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (among other issues) upheld the District Court's decision as to whether the reasonableness of the search was for the jury and upheld the verdict. Abshire v. Walls, 830 F.2d 1277 (4th Cir. 1987)

Denise Heberle - 04/17/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
General
Strip search policy
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Baltimore County Police Department
Plaintiff Description Man arrested for disorderly conduct and strip-searched at the police station.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1986
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies After Decision: Implementation of Judicial Decrees in Correctional Settings
Written: Oct. 01, 1977
By: M. Kay Harris & Dudley P. Spiller (Temple University)
Citation: (1977)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

  Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants
http://law.duke.edu/journals/lcp
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University in St. Louis)
Citation: 71 Law & Contemp. Problems 65 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
[Appellate Decision] 10/02/1987 (830 F.2d 1277)
JC-MD-0013-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Murnaghan, Francis Dominic Jr. (Fourth Circuit)
JC-MD-0013-0001
Sprouse, James Marshall (Fourth Circuit)
JC-MD-0013-0001
Winter, Harrison Lee (D. Md., Fourth Circuit)
JC-MD-0013-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Gladstone, Leslie L. (Maryland)
JC-MD-0013-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Austin, John A. (Maryland)
JC-MD-0013-0001
Spicer, Malcolm F. Jr. (Maryland)
JC-MD-0013-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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