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Case Name Cuesta v. School Board of Miami Dade County JC-FL-0014
Docket / Court 99-00517- CV-UUB ( S.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
This case was filed on February 19, 1999, in the United States District Court for the Southern district of Florida, by a student who was arrested and strip searched for her association with the publication of a satirical student newspaper entitled "First Amendment." The newspaper was published ... read more >
This case was filed on February 19, 1999, in the United States District Court for the Southern district of Florida, by a student who was arrested and strip searched for her association with the publication of a satirical student newspaper entitled "First Amendment." The newspaper was published anonymously and contained no attribution to any individual.

After an investigation by the principle of the school, police were summoned to conduct interrogations of several identified students. These students were arrested, the minors taken to a juvenile facility and the 18-year-olds incarcerated at TGK jail. They were charged with the misdemeanor violation of Fla. Stat. 836.11 which prohibits anonymous publication if it "tends to expose any religious group to hatred, contempt, ridicule or obloquy." The arresting officer enhanced each charge under Florida's "hate crime" statute, converting the misdemeanors into felonies.

The Miami Dade County's Department of corrections had a policy of strip searching felony arrestees upon booking. Plaintiff was subjected to a full strip and body cavity search. Ultimately, all charges were dismissed by the state attorney general's office, along with a public statement acknowledging that the statute under which the students were arrested is unconstitutional and unenforceable.

On April 18, 2000, the Court (Judge Ursula Ungaro-Benages) denied Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment against the County, finding that the strip search was not unreasonable, as it was conducted in the context of an arrest for a felony offense.

On October 18, 2000, the Court (Judge Ursula Ungaro-Benages) denied Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment against the school on grounds that she had failed to identify a sufficient policy, custom or decision of a final policymaker of the School Board that caused the alleged unconstitutional arrest and thereby permit the imposition of § 1983 liability.

On March 14, 2002, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the District Court's decision. 285 F.3rd 962 (11th Cir. 2002).

Denise Heberle - 03/20/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
General
Over/Unlawful Detention
Search policies
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Miami Dade County
Miami Dade County Department of Corrections
School Board of Miami Dade County
Plaintiff Description 18-year-old female high school student who helped to distribute copies of an anonymous pamphlet at school with contained material about violence against the school's principal. She was subsequently arrested and strip-searched.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
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 2000
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)
1:99-cv-00517-UU (S.D. Fla.) 04/16/2002
JC-FL-0014-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory Relief and for Damages 02/19/1999
JC-FL-0014-0001 PDF | Detail
Order on Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint as to the Miami-Dade County School Board 06/25/1999 (S.D. Fla.)
JC-FL-0014-0002 PDF | Detail
Order [Regarding Defendant Michael Alexander's Motion to Dismiss] 04/10/2000 (S.D. Fla.)
JC-FL-0014-0003 PDF | Detail
Omnibus Order 04/17/2000 (S.D. Fla.)
JC-FL-0014-0004 PDF | Detail
Final Judgment 10/18/2000 (S.D. Fla.)
JC-FL-0014-0005 PDF | Detail
Omnibus Order 10/18/2000 (2000 WL 33174398 / 2000 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 20156) (S.D. Fla.)
JC-FL-0014-0007 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Appellate Decision 03/14/2002 (285 F.3d 962)
JC-FL-0014-0006 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Bandstra, Ted E. (S.D. Fla.) [Magistrate]
JC-FL-0014-0001
Barkett, Rosemary (Eleventh Circuit)
JC-FL-0014-0006
Carnes, Edward Earl (Eleventh Circuit)
JC-FL-0014-0006
Kravitch, Phyllis A. (Eleventh Circuit, Fifth Circuit)
JC-FL-0014-0006
Ungaro, Ursula Mancusi (S.D. Fla.)
JC-FL-0014-0001 | JC-FL-0014-0002 | JC-FL-0014-0003 | JC-FL-0014-0004 | JC-FL-0014-0005 | JC-FL-0014-0007 | JC-FL-0014-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Jonas, Valerie (Florida)
JC-FL-0014-0001
Waxman, Benjamin Samuel (Florida)
JC-FL-0014-0001 | JC-FL-0014-9000
Wisotsky, Steven Jay (Florida)
JC-FL-0014-0001 | JC-FL-0014-0006 | JC-FL-0014-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Allen, James J. (Florida)
JC-FL-0014-0006 | JC-FL-0014-9000
Bass, Patricia Dolores (Florida)
JC-FL-0014-9000
Douglas, Phyllis Ober (Florida)
JC-FL-0014-9000
Segura, Ana Isabel (Florida)
JC-FL-0014-0006 | JC-FL-0014-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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