Case: DeMier v. Gondles

1:80-01086 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Filed Date: Nov. 12, 1980

Closed Date: 1982

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On November 12, 1980, two arrestees filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in order to challenge the strip search policy of the Arlington County Sheriff's Office. The two named plaintiffs had been arrested for petty crimes, one for playing a stereo too loudly, the other for allegedly writing obscene words on a traffic ticket. Following their arrests, each was strip-searched pursuant to the Sheriff's Office policy of conduc…

On November 12, 1980, two arrestees filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in order to challenge the strip search policy of the Arlington County Sheriff's Office. The two named plaintiffs had been arrested for petty crimes, one for playing a stereo too loudly, the other for allegedly writing obscene words on a traffic ticket. Following their arrests, each was strip-searched pursuant to the Sheriff's Office policy of conducting strip searches of all detainees brought to the Arlington County Detention Center, regardless of the severity of the alleged offense or the anticipated duration of detention. Plaintiffs alleged that the searches violated their constitutional rights and requested compensatory and injunctive relief, as well as class certification.

On December 31, 1980, the Sheriff's Office announced that it was temporarily stopping its blanket strip search policy. Subsequently, in April 1981, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law which severely restricted the circumstances under which strip searches would be permitted.

Plaintiffs then moved to voluntarily dismiss their case, citing that their objective, of ending the unconstitutional strip-search practice, had been achieved. They moved for and were awarded attorneys' fees in the amount of $ 16,368.07 by District Judge Albert V. Bryan, Jr. The Arlington County Sheriff appealed the District Court's award of attorneys' fees, but the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the award. DeMier v. Gondles, 676 F.2d 92 (4th Cir. 1982).

Summary Authors

Dan Dalton (2/12/2008)

People


Judge(s)

Butzner, John Decker Jr. (Virginia)

Ingraham, Joe McDonald (Texas)

Winter, Harrison Lee (Maryland)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Rubenstein, Leonard S. (Virginia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Hilton, Claude M. (Virginia)

Judge(s)

Butzner, John Decker Jr. (Virginia)

Ingraham, Joe McDonald (Texas)

Winter, Harrison Lee (Maryland)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Rubenstein, Leonard S. (Virginia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Hilton, Claude M. (Virginia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Opinion

DeMier, Weitzel, et al. v. Gondles

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

676 F.2d 92, 1982 U.S.App.LEXIS 22252

Jan. 28, 1982 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 13, 2022

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Virginia

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Strip Search Cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: Nov. 12, 1980

Closing Date: 1982

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All detainees brought to the Arlington County Detention Center who were strip-searched without reasonable cause until Virginia enacted a law that dramatically curtailed conditions where strip-searches are permitted.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Denied

Defendants

Arlington County Sheriff's Office (Arlington), 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

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Order Duration: 1982 - 0

Issues

General:

Search policies

Strip search policy

Affected Gender:

Female

Male

Type of Facility:

Government-run