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Case Name DeMier v. Gondles JC-VA-0012
Docket / Court 80-1086-A ( E.D. Va. )
State/Territory Virginia
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On November 12, 1980, two arrestees filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in order to challenge the strip search policy of the Arlington County Sheriff's Office. The two named plaintiffs had been arrested for petty crimes, ... read more >
On November 12, 1980, two arrestees filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in order to challenge the strip search policy of the Arlington County Sheriff's Office. The two named plaintiffs had been arrested for petty crimes, one for playing a stereo too loudly, the other for allegedly writing obscene words on a traffic ticket. Following their arrests, each was strip-searched pursuant to the Sheriff's Office policy of conducting strip searches of all detainees brought to the Arlington County Detention Center, regardless of the severity of the alleged offense or the anticipated duration of detention. Plaintiffs alleged that the searches violated their constitutional rights and requested compensatory and injunctive relief, as well as class certification.

On December 31, 1980, the Sheriff's Office announced that it was temporarily stopping its blanket strip search policy. Subsequently, in April 1981, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law which severely restricted the circumstances under which strip searches would be permitted.

Plaintiffs then moved to voluntarily dismiss their case, citing that their objective, of ending the unconstitutional strip-search practice, had been achieved. They moved for and were awarded attorneys' fees in the amount of $ 16,368.07 by District Judge Albert V. Bryan, Jr. The Arlington County Sheriff appealed the District Court's award of attorneys' fees, but the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the award. DeMier v. Gondles, 676 F.2d 92 (4th Cir. 1982).

Dan Dalton - 02/12/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
General
Search policies
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Arlington County Sheriff's Office
Plaintiff Description All detainees brought to the Arlington County Detention Center who were strip-searched without reasonable cause until Virginia enacted a law that dramatically curtailed conditions where strip-searches are permitted.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1982 - n/a
Case Closing Year 1982
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
Opinion 01/28/1982 (676 F.2d 92)
JC-VA-0012-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Butzner, John Decker Jr. (E.D. Va., Fourth Circuit)
JC-VA-0012-0001
Ingraham, Joe McDonald (S.D. Tex., Fifth Circuit)
JC-VA-0012-0001
Winter, Harrison Lee (D. Md., Fourth Circuit)
JC-VA-0012-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Rubenstein, Leonard S. (Virginia)
JC-VA-0012-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Hilton, Claude M. (Virginia)
JC-VA-0012-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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