3 results for month: 03/2014

Court Okays Strip Searching Middle School Students

Last month, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee) held that this kind of law enforcement activity is acceptable and does not violate the Constitution. I think this is outrageous.

Here is why I think the Sixth Circuit got it wrong:

On June 2, 2009, police officers in Hazard, Kentucky, received a report of underage drinking at a private residence. T.S., et al. v. Doe et al., Case No. 12-5724, (6th Cir. 2014). Officers responded and discovered a group of minors celebrating their recent eighth grade graduation. The officers decided to breathalyze each of the children and discovered that seven of them, including J.S. and K.S., tested positive for alcohol. Each of the seven were arrested and escorted to the police station. Parents were notified and arrived at approximately 4:00 a.m.. The children remained at the station for the rest of the morning, except for a trip to the hospital where they were required to have their blood drawn.

Eventually, a court-designated social worker arrived at the station. The father of both J.S. and K.S. asked the worker to release his children to his custody. After speaking with the judge, the worker refused to release the children who were held overnight for a court appearance the next day. The children were transported thirty miles to a juvenile detention center. Once J.S. and K.S. arrived at the center, they were subjected to routine intake procedures, including fingerprinting, mug shots, and metal-detection screening.

What makes this case alarming—aside from the fact that two middle school students were arrested and required to spend a night in jail—is that the children were required to undergo a hygiene inspection and health screening which included a something called a “Body ID/Showering Process.”

This required the eighth graders to completely undress for a so-called "visual inspection;" a strip search which lasted for several minutes. After the strip search, J.S. and K.S. were placed in a cellblock with the other five children.

Both children were released to their parents the following morning and the underage drinking charges were eventually dropped.

On February 5, 2014, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld this shocking treatment in T.S. v. John Doe, Case No. 12-5724 (6 Cir. 2014). The Sixth Circuit’s decision, however, is contrary to Supreme Court precedent.

Allegations of a botched UVA rape investigation at center of a challenge to the Campus SaVE Act

Filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. on March 6, the suit is intended as a landmark civil rights action that could derail the controversial Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act, according to Doe's attorney James Marsh. Touted as a major reform turning point by supporters, SaVE pushes more responsibility for preventing sexual assault onto colleges. The new federal law gets some things right, Marsh said "particularly education initiatives aimed at students” but it seriously undermines recent federal efforts to force schools to take a harder line on sexual assault cases. And without the stick of tough federal laws behind them, ...

Landmark Civil Rights Action Filed by Campus Rape Victim to Halt New Federal Law

A University of Virginia rape victim represented by the has filed a landmark civil rights action to stop a new federal law from undermining pending federal investigations of UVA’s mishandling of a sexual assault case on campus. Two separate cases—each filed as a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus and Equitable Relief—were lodged with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on Friday, February 21, 2014 and docketed today. The cases are: Jane Doe v. United States Department of Health and Human Services and Kathleen Sebelius, Civil Action No. 14-0366 Jane Doe v. United States Department of Education and ...