University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Murcia v. Orange County JC-NY-0039
Docket / Court 7:00-cv-01325-CM-MDF ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On February 2, 2000, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Newburgh and Orange County, New York in the United States Court for the Southern District of New York, White Plains Division. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel asked the court for damages, ... read more >
On February 2, 2000, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Newburgh and Orange County, New York in the United States Court for the Southern District of New York, White Plains Division. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel asked the court for damages, alleging that his Fourth Amendment rights had been violated, along with state tort law claims. Specifically, plaintiff alleged that the blanket strip search policy of strip violated his constitutional rights.

On February 19, 1999, Plaintiff was arraigned because he had been arrested during a routine traffic stop. The arresting officers had run his license and discovered an outstanding federal warrant from the State of Florida. The warrant was not for the plaintiff, but instead for another person with the same name. Plaintiff was held at the Orange County Correctional Facility while awaiting transfer of custody to the U.S. Marshals. Plaintiff was strip-searched three times: once upon arrival as part of a blanket policy of searching all arriving detainees; once in a 'bullpen' when officer suspected someone in the bullpen had cigarettes; and once prior to transfer to the U.S. Marshals on February 22.

On October 2, 2002, the Court (Judge Colleen McMahon) found the sheriff of Orange County was entitled to qualified immunity from damages in regard to the first of the three strip searches, but that material questions of fact remained on whether or not reasonable suspicion existed to justify the second and third strip searches.

The case settled just before trial on May 15, 2006. We have no further information on the details of the settlement. The case was formally dismissed on September 6, 2006.

Blase Kearney - 05/07/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
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) City of Newburgh
County of Orange, NY
Plaintiff Description A man arrested for a felony (later realized to be the wrong person) was strip searched several times during the three days he was held in jail.
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 Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2006 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2006
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing JC-NY-0035 : Dodge v. Orange County (S.D.N.Y.)
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)
7:00-cv-01325-CM-MDF (S.D.N.Y.) 09/06/2006
JC-NY-0039-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Decision and Order Disposing of Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment 10/04/2002 (226 F.Supp.2d 489) (S.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0039-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Fox, Mark D. (S.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
JC-NY-0039-9000
McMahon, Colleen (S.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0039-0001 | JC-NY-0039-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Gersowitz, Stephen H. (New York)
JC-NY-0039-0001 | JC-NY-0039-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bartlett, Catherine M. (New York)
JC-NY-0039-9000
Berson, Marilyn D. (New York)
JC-NY-0039-9000
Fedorchak, James M. (New York)
JC-NY-0039-0001 | JC-NY-0039-9000
Golden, Richard B. (New York)
JC-NY-0039-9000
Posner, David L. (New York)
JC-NY-0039-0001 | JC-NY-0039-9000
Roesch, George F. III (New York)
JC-NY-0039-9000
Sanabria , Christina M. (New York)
JC-NY-0039-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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