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Case Name Giles v. Ackerman JC-ID-0004
Docket / Court 81-4151 ( D. Idaho )
State/Territory Idaho
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
In 1981, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Bonneville County Sheriff, the County, and the County Commissioners, in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho. Plaintiff, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, sought declaratory, injunctive ... read more >
In 1981, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Bonneville County Sheriff, the County, and the County Commissioners, in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho. Plaintiff, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, sought declaratory, injunctive and monetary relief, claiming that that she was strip searched in violation of her fourth amendment rights and that Defendants' blanket policy to strip search all people booked into the county jail for minor offenses was unconstitutional.

The parties stipulated that on October 26, 1981, a Sheriff's Deputy stopped Plaintiff for an expired vehicle registration. The officer arrested Plaintiff for an arrest warrant because of outstanding parking tickets. The officer did not frisk Plaintiff or inspect her purse. Plaintiff was taken to the Bonneville County Jail, where she was booked because she could not post bond. Plaintiff was strip-searched because jail policy required that all persons booked into the jail be strip-searched. Although the jail policy required a visual examination of body cavities, the officer only conducted a skin search of Plaintiff because the officer did not suspect that she was concealing contraband.

On February 9, 1983, the District Court (Chief Judge Marion J. Callister) entered summary judgment for Defendants. The Court held Defendant's strip search policy was constitutional in order to provide jail security. Furthermore, a jail policy giving officials discretion would result in claims of unequal treatment. Additionally, legislation taking effect on March 1, 1983 decriminalized many traffic offenses. Giles v. Ackerman, 559 F.Supp. 226 (D. Idaho 1983). Plaintiff appealed.

On November 2, 1984, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Chief Judge James R. Browning and Judges Procter Hug, Jr. and Thomas Tang) reversed and held: (1) arrestees for minor offenses can only be strip-searched if jail officials have reasonable suspicion that the arrestee is concealing contraband, and (2) Plaintiff's strip search was unconstitutional because there officers did not suspect that she was concealing contraband or threatening jail security. Plaintiff's offense was minor and did not relate to drugs or weapons, and she had no prior record. Furthermore, the Court found that there was minimal evidence of smuggling activity at the Bonneville County Jail. Additionally, the policy did not deter arrestees from carrying contraband because arrestees do not plan on being arrested. On appeal, Plaintiff asked that her claim for injunctive relief be dismissed. The Court remanded Plaintiff's claim for declaratory relief. Giles v. Ackerman, 746 F.2d 614 (9th Cir. 1984).

On April 22, 1985, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Defendants' petition for writ of certiorari. Ackerman v. Giles, 471 U.S. 1053 (1985).

Docket Number: 81-4151

Shira Gordon - 03/16/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
General
Strip search policy
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Bonneville County Jail
Plaintiff Description An Idaho woman who was arrested for a traffic violation, brought to jail and then subjected to a strip search.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1985
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 02/09/1983 (559 F.Supp. 226) (D. Idaho)
JC-ID-0004-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 11/02/1984 (746 F.2d 614)
JC-ID-0004-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (denying cert. to U.S. Supreme Court) 04/22/1985 (471 U.S. 1053)
JC-ID-0004-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Browning, James Robert (Ninth Circuit)
JC-ID-0004-0002
Callister, Marion Jones (D. Idaho)
JC-ID-0004-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Goins, Larry L. (Idaho)
JC-ID-0004-0001 | JC-ID-0004-0002
Pevar, Stephen L. (Colorado)
JC-ID-0004-0001 | JC-ID-0004-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Lund, Lynn J. (Utah)
JC-ID-0004-0001 | JC-ID-0004-0002
Radin, John (Idaho)
JC-ID-0004-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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