To Serve, Protect, & Strip Search you for failure to use your Turn Signal.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Apr 6, 2012
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America just got a little less America.

“The Supreme Court this week rejected the constitutional challenge of Albert Florence, who was twice subjected to invasive strip searches after he was wrongfully arrested for a traffic fine. Hear the story behind Florence v. Burlington.” (video at bottom)

Yup, it’s true.

Our most conservative in history Supreme Court just threw a little bit of liberty out the window, and (if you’re fined for littering, say) is gonna let police officers—who We the People pay and empower to serve and protect us—stripsearch us at will. Unlike the rest of the world.

No exaggeration:

it ruled, rather, that the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable searches did not forbid them.

…people may be strip-searched after arrests for violating a leash law, driving without a license and failing to pay child support…driving with a noisy muffler, failing to use a turn signal and riding a bicycle without an audible bell.

…A nun was strip-searched, he wrote, after an arrest for trespassing during an antiwar demonstration. …click any part of the excerpt to read the rest at the NY Times.



About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


12 Responses to “To Serve, Protect, & Strip Search you for failure to use your Turn Signal.”

  1. __MikeG__ says:

    Would the abundant liberal angst of this post comfort the families of police, corrections officers, jail employees and other inmates when there loved ones are killed because I weapon was smuggled into the facility and a strip search was not performed?

  2. elephantjournal says:

    If you bothered to read the article (linked) before commenting, you'd have seen that in only one instance (out of 20,000) was anything found in a study.

    "For instance, in a study of 23,000 people admitted to a correctional facility in Orange County, N.Y., using [the new] standard, there was at most one instance of contraband detected that would not otherwise have been found, Judge Breyer wrote."

    Also, at their discretion, police have always been allowed to strip search. Now, whether they have due cause or no, they can go for it. Read before commenting, svp: "Such searches were proper only if there was a reasonable suspicion that the arrested person had contraband."

  3. jon says:

    The Supreme Court decision was about people arrested and THEN PUT IN JAIL. Not just people arrested. The man, Mr Florence, can still sue for the wrongful arrest. That was the bigger problem: being put in jail for a week for something when he already paid the fine.

    Like MikeG, I agree that the facilities need to be kept weapon and drug-free. There's a reason "kiester" is both a noun and a verb. And there's even been a case where a woman smuggled in a loaded pistol, but not up her kiester. Would you rather be an inmate in a facility that takes basic steps to ensure weapons and drug needles aren't there in abundance, or would you rather get HIV, Hep C, MRSA, and shivved?

  4. LynnBonelli says:

    I feel the article is written to mislead the reader into thinking that one may be strip-searched on a whim…throw a gum wrapper out of your car window and the cops will have you naked in heartbeat. Not true…strip searches are conducted AFTER an arrest (so the 'offense' has to be an arrestable offense and not simply a breaking of the leash law) & only if the arrestee is going to be placed in jail. This is done for the safety of everyone involved IF that person needs to be placed in jail. Sometimes people are arrested for misdemeanors but never taken into jail but simply given their court date at the scene of the "crime" (i.e. shoplifters are often 'arrested' but are cited out on the spot). Police Officers do not make laws, they enforce the law. So, if someone breaks the law & must be placed under arrest, the officers are required, by law, to perform a strip-search before the arrestee is allowed into the jail's general public.

  5. LynnBonelli says:

    In the end, the best way to keep yourself from the embarrassment of a strip-search is to not get arrested…maybe that means not speeding or obeying the No Parking signs posted…or at least paying your fines before a warrant is issued. Maybe it means accepting the fact that if you are going to protest a law that you feel so strongly about that you are willing to be arrested then you need to accept the consequences of a possible strip-search as well. If you want to change the law then work on that rather than trying to make the police out to be the bad guys or by empowering criminals.

  6. __MikeG__ says:

    Learn to not make assumptions as to what people read or do not read. Learn to make arguments made on facts and not faulty assumptions. You have absolutely no clue as to what I read and how much.

    Weapon and drug smuggling is a huge issue in jails and the results are many deaths and injuries.

    Also, learn to make decisions on facts. One study does not prove or disprove any premise.

    Define "reasonable suspicion". How is a corrections employee going to make assumptions as to who may or may not possess a weapon. How is that determination made? Race? Religion? Eye color? The offense? The reasonable assumption is on its face a fallacy because a jailer does not know what an inmate is thinking.

    Why did you not respond to arguments in my original post? Why would you instead make a transparent attempt to deflect the argument by accusing me of not reading the post? I expected intelligent argument not baseless accusations.

  7. __MikeG__ says:


  8. elephantjournal says:

    Christopher B: Here's a concept…don't violate the leash law, don't drive without a license, and pay your f**king child support ya deadbeat.

    Elizabeth G uhhhhhhh

    Melissa R: Gee Christopher Barlow…there is not a "universal" leash law; people leave wallets at home by accident; turn signal lights burn out; mufflers get punctured….a strip search seems a little excessive. How am likely to be packing an illegal gun, or drugs, if I leave for work with my wallet on the kitchen counter? ‎Christopher B: Sure, it's easy to say that when we're sitting at home or work and we aren't on the receiving end of a strip search. I think all of us have forgotten simple things like a turn signal or bringing our wallets at some point. This is frightening stuff! ~ Kate

    Gail Leslie Karlsson What bullsh*t.

  9. LynnBonelli says:

    I agree with you on the problem with only relying on "reasoneble suspicion" as the critieria for determining who gets the body cavity search…it screams racial profiling and preferential treatment law suits down the line. Bottom line…if you do something that warrants going to the big house you will be treated like any other person who goes to jail…you get the same fancy clothes, flipflops, lunch, and body cavity search.

  10. Robert says:

    Home of the brave, land of the free? Most laws are tolerable and needed to run a society with potentially dangerous people, etc. It just has to be that way and it's ok. Here we have a case that crosses the line from potentially leading to a fascist country to the stone cold reality that we are living in one. Mike G, above, I don't think you understood the article. This has nothing to do with jail , prison, or penitentiaries — Those laws ARE in place to protect employees and other inmates. This has to do with something so incomprehensible that all I can say is reread the article. I think of all the laws I have seen passed in my lifetime, this is the one that shows a very filthy, fascist side to the American justice system, home of the brave, land of the free. What a crock of shit!

  11. __MikeG__ says:

    Fine. I'll take your ad homenim bait and throw it back at you. It is obvious that you are approaching this issue with a set of preconceived notions. You offer no argument but only throw around words like "fascist" and phrases like "home of the brave". Please look up fascism so that in the future you can use the word properly.

    I disagree with the premise of the article but in your mind that means I don't understand it. Is that how you deal with all disagreements, by making faulty claims that other people just don't understand? It must be great to be the possessor of such superior insight.

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