Case: Abshire v. Walls

1:84-cv-01811 | U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland

Filed Date: May 3, 1984

Closed Date: Oct. 2, 1987

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Case Summary

This strip search case was brought in May 1984 by a pretrial detainee against Baltimore County police officers in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The plaintiff was an off-duty deputy sheriff who was arrested for disorderly conduct after police officers refused to release him when he identified himself as a fellow law enforcement officer. He had been drinking and tripped, knocking himself unconscious. When police officers found and revived him, he was lying on top …

This strip search case was brought in May 1984 by a pretrial detainee against Baltimore County police officers in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The plaintiff was an off-duty deputy sheriff who was arrested for disorderly conduct after police officers refused to release him when he identified himself as a fellow law enforcement officer. He had been drinking and tripped, knocking himself unconscious. When police officers found and revived him, he was lying on top of a .38 caliber revolver, and a briefcase that contained additional ammunition. At the station, oficers handcuffed him, then strip searched him. Plaintiff sued, claiming, among other things, false imprisonment, false arrest, and an unconstitutional strip search.

On December 9, 1885, the Court (Judge Herbert F. Murray) granted summary judgment on various of plaintiff's claims as to various defendants and the remainder, including the strip search claim, went to a jury trial. The jury found in plaintiff's favor on the strip search claim, and awarded $2000 in compensatory damages and $5000 in punitive damages against the individual officers. Defendants moved for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, and the Court denied the motion, as the question of reasonableness of the search was for the jury.

The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (among other issues) upheld the District Court's decision as to whether the reasonableness of the search was for the jury and upheld the verdict. Abshire v. Walls, 830 F.2d 1277 (4th Cir. 1987)

Summary Authors

Denise Heberle (4/17/2012)

People


Judge(s)

Murnaghan, Francis Dominic Jr. (Maryland)

Sprouse, James Marshall (West Virginia)

Winter, Harrison Lee (Maryland)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Gladstone, Leslie L. (Maryland)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Austin, John A. (Maryland)

Spicer, Malcolm F. Jr. (Maryland)

Judge(s)

Murnaghan, Francis Dominic Jr. (Maryland)

Sprouse, James Marshall (West Virginia)

Winter, Harrison Lee (Maryland)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Gladstone, Leslie L. (Maryland)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Austin, John A. (Maryland)

Spicer, Malcolm F. Jr. (Maryland)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

86-07700

86-07701

[Appellate Decision]

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

830 F.2d 1277

Oct. 2, 1987

Oct. 2, 1987

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 11, 2022, 3:02 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Maryland

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Strip Search Cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 3, 1984

Closing Date: Oct. 2, 1987

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Man arrested for disorderly conduct and strip-searched at the police station.

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Baltimore County Police Department (Baltimore), County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Damages

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Issues

General:

Strip search policy

Affected Gender:

Male

Type of Facility:

Government-run