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Case Name Ward v. San Diego County JC-CA-0039
Docket / Court Docket No. Not Available ( S.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
This case was filed against the County of San Diego and its Sheriff by a woman who was strip searched at a county detention facility after her 1981 arrest on a misdemeanor offense. Plaintiff filed the case in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, claiming the ... read more >
This case was filed against the County of San Diego and its Sheriff by a woman who was strip searched at a county detention facility after her 1981 arrest on a misdemeanor offense. Plaintiff filed the case in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, claiming the search, (including a visual body cavity search) conducted prior to a determination whether she could be released on her own recognizance violated her fourth amendment rights.

In February 1983, the District Court (Judge Gordon Thompson, Jr.) granted plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction and enjoined the sheriff from conducting strip searches. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Judge Tang) vacated the injunction in March 1984 for lack of standing, and remanded the case for further proceedings. Ward v. San Diego County, 732 F.2d 165 (9th Cir. 1984).

On remand, the District Court (Judge Thompson) granted the sheriff's motion for summary judgment, finding that at the time of the search the law was not clearly established and so the sheriff enjoyed qualified immunity.

Plaintiff requested reconsideration, the District Court denied the request and the plaintiff appealed. Defendants claimed the Ninth Circuit lacked jurisdiction, because plaintiff's appeal was not from a final judgment, but rather a denial of a request for reconsideration. The appellate court disagreed, and treated the appeal as a timely appeal of the District Court's entry of judgment. The Court held that the law was clear enough that the sheriff could not claim qualified immunity, and that if the policy was found to be unreasonable, liability attached.

On June 16, 1986, the Circuit Court amended its earlier decision to address the jurisdictional issue and remanded for a determination whether the sheriff's blanket strip-search policy was reasonable. Ward v. San Diego County, 791 F.2d (9th Cir. 1986).

We have no further information about this case.

Denise Heberle - 03/28/2012


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
General
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Los Colinas Womans Detention Facility.
County of San Diego
Plaintiff Description Individual (female) arrested in 1981 for misdemeanor and then subjected to strip search and body cavity search at Los Colinas Womans Detention Facility.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Unknown
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 n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
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] 03/03/1986 (783 F.2d 1385)
JC-CA-0039-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
[Opinion] 06/16/1986 (791 F.2d 1329)
JC-CA-0039-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Goodwin, Alfred Theodore (D. Or., Ninth Circuit)
JC-CA-0039-0001 | JC-CA-0039-0002
Jameson, William James (D. Mont.)
JC-CA-0039-0001 | JC-CA-0039-0002
Tang, Thomas (Ninth Circuit)
JC-CA-0039-0001 | JC-CA-0039-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Okrand, Fred (California)
JC-CA-0039-0001 | JC-CA-0039-0002
Weingarten, George (California)
JC-CA-0039-0001 | JC-CA-0039-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Kossy, Phillip L. (California)
JC-CA-0039-0001 | JC-CA-0039-0002
Other Lawyers None on record

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