In 1981, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Bonneville County Sheriff, the County, and the County Commissioners, in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho. Plaintiff, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, sought declaratory, injunctive ...
read more >
In 1981, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Bonneville County Sheriff, the County, and the County Commissioners, in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho. Plaintiff, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, sought declaratory, injunctive and monetary relief, claiming that that she was strip searched in violation of her fourth amendment rights and that Defendants' blanket policy to strip search all people booked into the county jail for minor offenses was unconstitutional.
The parties stipulated that on October 26, 1981, a Sheriff's Deputy stopped Plaintiff for an expired vehicle registration. The officer arrested Plaintiff for an arrest warrant because of outstanding parking tickets. The officer did not frisk Plaintiff or inspect her purse. Plaintiff was taken to the Bonneville County Jail, where she was booked because she could not post bond. Plaintiff was strip-searched because jail policy required that all persons booked into the jail be strip-searched. Although the jail policy required a visual examination of body cavities, the officer only conducted a skin search of Plaintiff because the officer did not suspect that she was concealing contraband.
On February 9, 1983, the District Court (Chief Judge Marion J. Callister) entered summary judgment for Defendants. The Court held Defendant's strip search policy was constitutional in order to provide jail security. Furthermore, a jail policy giving officials discretion would result in claims of unequal treatment. Additionally, legislation taking effect on March 1, 1983 decriminalized many traffic offenses. Giles v. Ackerman, 559 F.Supp. 226 (D. Idaho 1983). Plaintiff appealed.
On November 2, 1984, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Chief Judge James R. Browning and Judges Procter Hug, Jr. and Thomas Tang) reversed and held: (1) arrestees for minor offenses can only be strip-searched if jail officials have reasonable suspicion that the arrestee is concealing contraband, and (2) Plaintiff's strip search was unconstitutional because there officers did not suspect that she was concealing contraband or threatening jail security. Plaintiff's offense was minor and did not relate to drugs or weapons, and she had no prior record. Furthermore, the Court found that there was minimal evidence of smuggling activity at the Bonneville County Jail. Additionally, the policy did not deter arrestees from carrying contraband because arrestees do not plan on being arrested. On appeal, Plaintiff asked that her claim for injunctive relief be dismissed. The Court remanded Plaintiff's claim for declaratory relief. Giles v. Ackerman, 746 F.2d 614 (9th Cir. 1984).
On April 22, 1985, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Defendants' petition for writ of certiorari. Ackerman v. Giles, 471 U.S. 1053 (1985).
Docket Number: 81-4151Shira Gordon - 03/16/2012