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Case Name Hunt v. Polk County, Iowa JC-IA-0003
Docket / Court 80-382-C ( S.D. Iowa )
State/Territory Iowa
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
In 1980, Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, filed a lawsuit against Polk County. Plaintiff alleged that employees of the Polk County Jail violated his constitutional rights when they strip-searched him following his arrest on March 18, 1980. Plaintiff alleged that the practice of strip ... read more >
In 1980, Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, filed a lawsuit against Polk County. Plaintiff alleged that employees of the Polk County Jail violated his constitutional rights when they strip-searched him following his arrest on March 18, 1980. Plaintiff alleged that the practice of strip and body cavity searches of temporary pre-arraignment detainees charged with minor offenses was unconstitutional when officials do not suspect contraband.

The parties filed a joint stipulation of facts on July 1, 1982. According to the stipulation, Plaintiff was stopped for speeding and arrested for an outstanding misdemeanor warrant. The arresting officer patted down Plaintiff and took him to the Polk County Jail. Plaintiff could not post bond immediately but called friends to post bond for him. Plaintiff was strip-searched and his body cavity was visually inspected. According to jail policy, jail employees strip-searched everyone incarcerated or temporarily detained.

In July 1982, Plaintiff and Defendant filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The parties stipulated to the dismissal of Plaintiff's additional claims on August 26, 1982.

On November 12, 1982, the District Court (Chief Judge William C. Stuart) granted Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. The Court found the strip search of Plaintiff and the Jail's blanket strip-search policy illegal because there is a small chance that newly-arrested traffic violators conceal contraband, particularly when they are detained temporarily, until posting bond. However, jail officials can strip-search traffic violators if the officer has reasonable suspicion that the detainee is concealing contraband. The opinion did not contain information about damages. After July 1, 1980, an Iowa law took effect prohibiting strip searches of people arrested for simple misdemeanors unless officers have probable cause that the person is concealing contraband. Hunt v. Polk Cnty., Iowa, 551 F.Supp.339 (S.D. Iowa 1982).

Docket Number: 80-382-C

Shira Gordon - 03/12/2012


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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) Polk County, Iowa
Plaintiff Description An Iowa resident, who, on the date of March 18th, 1980, was brought to jail on a misdemeanor and who was then strip searched before entering a holding cell and who contends that the strip search policy violated his fourth amendment rights.
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 Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
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 11/12/1982 (551 F.Supp. 339) (S.D. Iowa)
JC-IA-0003-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Stuart, William Corwin (S.D. Iowa)
JC-IA-0003-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bennett, Mark W. (Iowa)
JC-IA-0003-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Johnston, Dan L. (Iowa)
JC-IA-0003-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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