746 F.2d 614 (9th Cir. 1984), 83-3751, Giles v. Ackerman

Docket Nº:83-3751.
Citation:746 F.2d 614
Party Name:Julie Ann GILES, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Richard (Dick) J. ACKERMAN, Sheriff of Bonneville County, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:November 02, 1984
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Page 614

746 F.2d 614 (9th Cir. 1984)

Julie Ann GILES, Plaintiff-Appellant,


Richard (Dick) J. ACKERMAN, Sheriff of Bonneville County, et

al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 83-3751.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

November 2, 1984

        Argued and Submitted Oct. 6, 1983.

Page 615

        Stephen L. Pevar, American Civil Liberties Union, Denver, Colo., Larry Goins, Hopkins, French, Crockett & Springer, Idaho Falls, Idaho, for plaintiff-appellant.

        Lynn J. Lund, Bountiful, Utah, for defendants-appellees.

        Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Idaho.

        Before BROWNING, Chief Judge, HUG and TANG, Circuit Judges.

        PER CURIAM:

        This case concerns the constitutionality of the Bonneville County Jail policy to subject persons booked into the county jail on minor traffic offenses to a strip search. After her arrest for a traffic violation, Julie Giles was strip searched by an official at the Bonneville County Jail in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The search was conducted pursuant to a jail policy requiring that all persons booked into the jail be strip searched. The officer who searched Giles had no individualized suspicion that Giles was carrying contraband or that she in any way threatened jail security.

        We hold that arrestees for minor offenses may be subjected to a strip search only if jail officials have a reasonable suspicion that the particular arrestee is carrying or concealing contraband or suffering from a communicable disease. Because no such suspicion existed in Giles's case, the officer who searched Giles violated her rights under the fourth amendment.


        The parties stipulated to the following facts. Giles was stopped by a sheriff's deputy in Idaho Falls, Idaho because her vehicle registration had expired. A routine computer check revealed that an arrest warrant had been issued for Giles because of several outstanding parking tickets. 1 The officer arrested Giles and placed her in the patrol car. He described her as cooperative and neither frisked her nor inspected the purse she carried.

        Giles was taken to the Bonneville County Jail. She waited approximately twenty minutes and was allowed to move freely around the building. During this period, jail officials did not handcuff Giles, frisk her, or subject her to a pat down search. She was permitted to keep her purse, which was not searched.

        Giles was unable to post a bond immediately because she did not have sufficient cash with her and could not reach her husband. She was booked into the jail, and in compliance with county policy she was required to remove her clothes and was strip searched. Within a few hours of her arrest, Giles posted bond and was released.

        Giles brought this action against the sheriff, the county, and the county commissioners (collectively, "the County") under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983. She claimed enforcement of the jail policy requiring that all arrestees be strip searched had violated her fourth amendment rights. She sought a declaration that the policy was unconstitutional, an injunction against its continued enforcement, and damages.

        After considering cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court granted judgment for the defendants. Giles v. Ackerman, 559 F.Supp. 226 (D.Idaho 1983). The court held that the strip search did not violate Giles' constitutional rights. We reverse.


        Section 501.03(5) of the jail's Policies and Procedures Manual provides as follows:

Page 616

The subject will then be placed in the booking cell, and all items and clothing removed, strip searched, and all property receipted for on the arrest record.

        The policy is applied to all male and female arrestees who are to be placed in the general jail population. Jail personnel are given instructions on the conduct of the search. The instructions require a visual examination of body cavities. In Giles's case, however, the officer did not follow these instructions, but limited her examination to a skin search. Giles contends the skin search violated her fourth amendment rights. She also claims that the cavity search policy is unconstitutional on its face. 2

        The County argues that the warrantless strip search of Giles was lawful because it was incident to her arrest. It relies on United States v. Robinson, 414 U.S. 218, 94 S.Ct. 467, 38 L.Ed.2d 427 (1973), which held that a "full search of the person" incident to arrest is per se reasonable under the fourth amendment. Id. at 235, 94 S.Ct. at 477. However, the "full search" in that case was limited to a pat down and an examination of Robinson's pockets. The search involved no strip search or bodily intrusion, and nothing in the opinion implies that the court intended...

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