E-NEWS - 2011

Supreme Court Affirms Unconstitutionality of Many Cross-Gender Searches

Dear Friend, 

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with JDI and other advocates by recognizing that many cross-gender searches of detainees are unconstitutional. The issue came before the court when the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department in Arizona appealed a strongly worded 9th Circuit decision in favor of Plaintiff Charles Byrd. In our amicus brief before the 9th Circuit, JDI made clear that cross-gender searches of detainees in non-emergency situations may violate the constitution and international human rights standards.

The case began when Mr. Byrd was subjected to a partially disrobed, pat-down search by a female officer in training in a non-emergency situation. This search was allowed to take place despite the availability of a male officer and the presence of approximately 30 other officers and trainees. By telling his story and taking action against the facility, Mr. Byrd and his attorneys have set important new precedent in the 9th Circuit (the country's largest judicial region) and helped affirm the rights of detainees be free from sexual abuse and to be treated with dignity.

JDI has long monitored abusive search policies and practices and their relationship to sexual abuse. Cases like this are an important part of our mission and the larger movement to end prisoner rape.

You can learn more about abusive searches by reading testimony from survivors Beverly and Rafael, on JDI's website.

The 9th Circuit decision in Maricopa County Sheriff's Department v. Byrd can be found here

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