FL County Sued For Strip-Searching Misdemeanor Suspects


The Broward County, Fl., Sheriff’s Office has been sued for conducting illegal strip searches on people arrested for misdemeanor offenses, reports the Miami Herald. Florida law allows strip searches in violent cases or those that involve a weapon or illegal drugs, not for most misdemeanor arrests. Sheriff’s spokesman Elliot Cohen said the agency has follolwed the law. There are ”many categories where an inmate can fall where it is constitutionally legal to conduct a strip search,” he said. “You can search an inmate if they have a violent history. Strip searches are not illegal.”

Searching everyone who walks in the door of the jail is illegal, Fort Lauderdale attorney Kevin Kulik said. A detention deputy was quoted in a deposition as saying that between 1999 and 2002, “every person that walked in that door was strip-searched.” Miami-Dade County agreed in April to pay out $4.5 million for illegal cavity searches conducted for years by corrections officials. The Broward case has been certified as a class action. Noting that the county books 115,000 people annually, Kulik said, “I expect to have maybe 20,000 to 30,000 clients by the time this is all done.”

Link: http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/13316412.htm

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