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Case Name Wood v. Clemons JC-ME-0003
Docket / Court 2:94-cv-00246-DBH ( D. Me. )
State/Territory Maine
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On August 19, 1994, a group of prison visitors (the teenage children of a female inmate) filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Maine, challenging the strip-search policies of the Maine Correctional Center as they related to prison visitors. Plaintiffs ... read more >
On August 19, 1994, a group of prison visitors (the teenage children of a female inmate) filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Maine, challenging the strip-search policies of the Maine Correctional Center as they related to prison visitors. Plaintiffs claimed that they were subjected to unconstitutional strip searches by prison officials when they attempted to visit their incarcerated relatives. Plaintiffs sought damages, declaratory and injunctive relief and certification on behalf of a statewide class of individuals affected by the visitor strip-search policies of the Maine Correctional Center.

Prison officials denied the allegations and maintained that the searches were lawful in that they had received a tip that Plaintiffs were attempting to smuggle drugs into the prison.

The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment and Plaintiffs moved for class certification and leave to file a second amended complaint. The District Court (Judge D. Brock Hornby) entered summary judgment in favor of the prison officials, finding that they were entitled to qualified immunity. Plaintiffs appealed.

On July 22, 1996, the First Circuit Court of Appeals (Circuit Judge Lynch) affirmed the District Court, holding that the constitutionality of prison-visitor strip searches was governed by the standard of "reasonable suspicion" and that the officials were entitled to qualified immunity because they could reasonably have believed that there was reasonable suspicion that Plaintiffs would bring drugs into the prison. Wood v. Clemons, 89 F.3d 922 (1st Cir. 1996). The case was therefore terminated on the merits and no further proceedings were held.

Dan Dalton - 02/18/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
General
Juveniles
Search policies
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Maine Correctional Center
Plaintiff Description Statewide class of individual prison visitors affected by the alleged strip-search policies of the Maine Correctional Center.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1996
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)
96-1078 (U.S. Court of Appeals) 09/18/1996
JC-ME-0003-9001 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
2:94-cv-00246-DBH (D. Me.) 07/22/1998
JC-ME-0003-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion 07/22/1996 (89 F.3d 922)
JC-ME-0003-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Brownell, William S. (D. Me.) [Magistrate]
JC-ME-0003-9000
Campbell, Levin Hicks (First Circuit, D. Mass.)
JC-ME-0003-0001 | JC-ME-0003-9001
Hornby, David Brock (D. Me.) [Magistrate]
JC-ME-0003-9000
Lynch, Sandra Lea (First Circuit)
JC-ME-0003-0001 | JC-ME-0003-9001
Torruella, Juan R. (First Circuit, D.P.R.)
JC-ME-0003-0001 | JC-ME-0003-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brown, Rufus E. (Maine)
JC-ME-0003-9000 | JC-ME-0003-9001
Whitman, John S. (Maine)
JC-ME-0003-0001 | JC-ME-0003-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Sleek, Diane (Maine)
JC-ME-0003-0001 | JC-ME-0003-9000 | JC-ME-0003-9001
Other Lawyers None on record

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