When Colorado Police officers Cross the Line during Strip Searches for Drugs

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If you are facing criminal charges where police strip searched you against your will, you will need a Colorado Criminal Lawyer to argue that the officer did not have a reasonable basis for searching you.  If you can establish that the police officer did not have an objective basis for the search, then the police search should be found to be unconstitutional and the drugs will not be allowed into the courtroom.  You should talk to a Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney to help you make these arguments.

The reasoning behind your argument comes from the case of Safford Unified School District v. Redding (129 S. Ct. 2633 (2009)) which deals with strip searches and when they are allowed.

What happened in that Case:

In that case, a middle school student was suspected of having contraband.  The police searched the person’s backpack and her outer garments.  They found nothing.  The police then conducted a strip search.  Nothing was found.

The Legal Issue that the Court had to Decide:

Whether the police can strip search a person after finding nothing to indicate drugs.

The Decision of the Court Regarding the Law:

The officer was not allowed to conduct the strip search based on the lack of evidence to support the search.  If there had been more evidence, the police conduct may have been allowed.

How Previous Court Decisions can Affect your Case:

When a court is making decisions in your case, they will look at how other courts have decided similar issues.  As such, if the facts of your case are similar to a case in the past, you can look at the past case to get a good idea of how a court should rule in your case.

Here are some similar Colorado cases that may apply to your case:

People v. King COA No. 08CA1123

Case Citations:

It is important to read other cases to determine how courts are interpreting the law.  Here are some quotations from various cases that help explain the way courts understand the law and how they are making decisions.

Although it found the strip search at issue unreasonable in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the Court held that the school officials were entitled to qualified immunity because the constitutional standards surrounding strip searches were not clearly established.

–          in SJ v. Perspectives Charter School, 2010

In that case, a middle school assistant principal received a report that a student gave pills to other students.

–          in State v. Best, 2010

the Supreme Court reviewed the conduct of a school official who subjected a thirteen-year-old student to a search of her bra and underpants on the suspicion that she was secreting prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

–          in Lopera v. Town of Coventry, 2009

The Court ultimately found that the search was a violation of the student’s Fourth Amendment rights.

– in Hudson v. Henderson, 2011

We also noted that the United States Supreme Court has recognized a lower expectation of privacy for students and has “applied a standard of reasonable suspicion to determine the legality of a school administrator’s search of a student, and [has] held that a school search `will be permissible in its scope when the measures adopted are reasonably related to the …

– in BELLEVUE SCHOOL DIST. v. ES, 2011

Similarly, in the Fourth Amendment context, “[p] robable cause exists where the facts and circumstances within [an officer’s] knowledge and of which [he] had reasonably trustworthy information [are] sufficient in themselves to warrant a man of reasonable caution in the belief that an offense has been or is being committed.”

–          in US v. Infante, 2010

holding that strip-search of student was unreasonable under the circumstances but that school officials were protected from personal liability by qualified immunity

–          in Lessley v. City of Madison, Ind., 2009

To be clearly established, “there is no need that the `very action in question have previously been held unlawful.'”

–          in Evans v. Bayer, 2010

Accordingly, even if Hill and Harroun mistakenly applied the constitutional standard applicable to warrantless seizures of children in this case, they are entitled to qualified immunity on Plaintiffs’ first claim for relief because any such mistake under these facts was reasonable.

–          in Barnes v. County of Placer, 2009

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

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Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca