Dana Holmes, 33, has filed suit against LaSalle County, Il., officials for stripping her and walking out with her clothes after a drunk driving arrest in May, reports the Chicago Tribune. After the stripping, a sheriff’s deputy tossed her a pile of blankets and what authorities describe as a “padded suit.” Holmes alleges that deputies violated her civil rights and caused her emotional harm by stripping her without legal justification.
“It’s not only a violation of her civil rights. It’s also a crime,” said her lawyer, Terry Ekl. Under Illinois law, a strip-search is permitted only when officers have a “reasonable belief” that the subject is hiding a weapon or a controlled substance on their body. The law also requires that the strip-search be done by an officer of the same sex as the subject and cannot be observed by people not conducting the search. “Nothing in the statute says resisting arrest is justification for a strip-search,” said Len Cavise, who teaches criminal law at the DePaul University College of Law.