On May 21, 1999, plaintiff, who was arrested by Rhode Island State Police relying in error upon a withdrawn body attachment order from a family court, filed a class action lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. He alleged he was ...
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On May 21, 1999, plaintiff, who was arrested by Rhode Island State Police relying in error upon a withdrawn body attachment order from a family court, filed a class action lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. He alleged he was subjected to an unconstitutional strip search and body cavity search incident to his post-arrest detention at the Adult Correctional Institution (ACI) in Cranston, Rhode Island. Represented by private counsel, plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as attorneys' fees and class certification.
The District Court (District Judge Mary M. Lisi) denied plaintiff's motion for class certification. Roberts v. Rhode Island, 2000 WL 33671759 (D. R.I. Jan. 06, 2000). Discovery followed and the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. Judge Lisi granted partial summary judgment in favor of plaintiff, finding that the strip searches of pre-arraignment detainees, if not based upon reasonable suspicion that a particular detainee was concealing weapons or contraband, violated the Fourth Amendment. The Judge enjoined the defendants from conducting strip and visual body cavity searches pursuant to their unconstitutional policies. Roberts v. Rhode Island, 175 F. Supp.2d 176 (D. R.I. 2000). Rhode Island appealed and the First Circuit affirmed, noting that administrative ease and institutional security concerns were insufficient justifications to apply an indiscriminate strip search policy to those accused of minor offenses. Roberts v. Rhode Island, 239 F.3d 107 (1st Cir. 2001) (Circuit Judge Juan R. Torruella).
Following the appeal, a settlement conference was set for May 21, 2001 before Magistrate Judge Jacob Hagopian. The docket does not reflect the results of the settlement conference. It does, however, reflect that the District Court awarded, to plaintiffs' two attorneys, fees in the amount of $745.00 and $4,789.10. We have no additional information about this case.
Note that a separate class action lawsuit challenging the ACI strip search policy was filed after the decision in the Roberts case. In this database, that separate case is JC-RI-0002, Savard v. Rhode Island.Dan Dalton - 02/24/2008