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Case Name Kennedy v. LAPD JC-CA-0036
Docket / Court CV 83-7050-SVW ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
In 1983, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Los Angeles Police Department and two LAPD officers in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Plaintiff, represented by the ACLU of Southern California, claimed she was arrested without ... read more >
In 1983, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Los Angeles Police Department and two LAPD officers in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Plaintiff, represented by the ACLU of Southern California, claimed she was arrested without probable cause and was subjected to a body-cavity search in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Specifically, Plaintiff claimed Defendants arrested her and took her to the Van Nuys Jail where she was subjected to a body cavity strip search. The officers found no drugs or weapons. Plaintiff sued the City of Los Angeles alleging that their blanket policy of subjecting all those arrested for felonies to a body-cavity search was unconstitutional.

After a jury trial, Plaintiff was awarded $5,000 in actual damages against each arresting officer, and an additional $3,000 in punitive damages from one officer, and $1,000 from the other officer. The jury awarded $25,000 in actual damages against the City of Los Angeles.

Defendants moved for a new trial claiming the Court (Judge Stephen V. Wilson) improperly instructed the jury.

On August 14, 1987, the Court (Judge Wilson) denied Defendants' motion for a new trial. The Court held that the LAPD's policy of doing a visual body-cavity search of all felony arrest detainees violated the fourth amendment and that the jail officials' body cavity strip search of Plaintiff was improper because the jail officials did not suspect that Plaintiff was concealing contraband. Kennedy v. Los Angeles Police Dept., 667 F. Supp. 697 (C.D. Cal. 1987). Defendants appealed.

On October 11, 1989, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judges Cynthia Holcomb Hall, Edward Leavy, and Lloyd D. George) affirmed the jury verdict and judgment for Plaintiff. The Court held: (1) Defendant police officers were not entitled to qualified immunity because they lacked probable cause to arrest plaintiff, (2) this arrest justified the jury's award of punitive damages against arresting officers, and (3) Defendant city's blanket policy subjecting all felony arrestees to visual body-cavity search was unconstitutional. Kennedy v. Los Angeles Police Dept., 901 F.2d 702 (9th Cir. 1989).

The 9th Circuit first issued its order as 887 F.2d 920 (9th Cir. 1989) but then amended its opinion after denying rehearing en banc as 901 F.2d 702 (9th Cir. 1989).

Docket: CV 83-7050-SVW

Shira Gordon - 03/03/2012


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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) Los Angeles Police Department
Plaintiff Description Female arrestee who was subjected to a strip search by the LAPD.
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 1989
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
Amended Memorandum and Order 08/14/1987 (667 F.Supp. 697) (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0036-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order 10/11/1988 (901 F.2d 702)
JC-CA-0036-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order 10/11/1989 (887 F.2d 920)
JC-CA-0036-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges George, Lloyd D. (D. Nev.)
JC-CA-0036-0001 | JC-CA-0036-0003
Hall, Cynthia Holcomb (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit)
JC-CA-0036-0001 | JC-CA-0036-0003
Leavy, Edward (FISCR, Ninth Circuit, D. Or.) [Magistrate]
JC-CA-0036-0001 | JC-CA-0036-0003
Wilson, Stephen Victor (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0036-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Howarth, Joan W. (California)
JC-CA-0036-0001 | JC-CA-0036-0003
Lawson, Pamela R. (California)
JC-CA-0036-0001 | JC-CA-0036-0002 | JC-CA-0036-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Hahn, James K. (California)
JC-CA-0036-0002
Helgeson, Richard W. (California)
JC-CA-0036-0001 | JC-CA-0036-0003
Wolff, Greg (California)
JC-CA-0036-0002
Other Lawyers None on record

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