Case: Hunt v. Polk County, Iowa

4:80-00382 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa

Filed Date: Sept. 15, 1980

Closed Date: Nov. 12, 1982

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Case Summary

In 1980, Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, filed a lawsuit against Polk County. Plaintiff alleged that employees of the Polk County Jail violated his constitutional rights when they strip-searched him following his arrest on March 18, 1980. Plaintiff alleged that the practice of strip and body cavity searches of temporary pre-arraignment detainees charged with minor offenses was unconstitutional when officials do not suspect contraband.The parties filed a joint stipulation of facts o…

In 1980, Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, filed a lawsuit against Polk County. Plaintiff alleged that employees of the Polk County Jail violated his constitutional rights when they strip-searched him following his arrest on March 18, 1980. Plaintiff alleged that the practice of strip and body cavity searches of temporary pre-arraignment detainees charged with minor offenses was unconstitutional when officials do not suspect contraband.

The parties filed a joint stipulation of facts on July 1, 1982. According to the stipulation, Plaintiff was stopped for speeding and arrested for an outstanding misdemeanor warrant. The arresting officer patted down Plaintiff and took him to the Polk County Jail. Plaintiff could not post bond immediately but called friends to post bond for him. Plaintiff was strip-searched and his body cavity was visually inspected. According to jail policy, jail employees strip-searched everyone incarcerated or temporarily detained.

In July 1982, Plaintiff and Defendant filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The parties stipulated to the dismissal of Plaintiff's additional claims on August 26, 1982.

On November 12, 1982, the District Court (Chief Judge William C. Stuart) granted Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. The Court found the strip search of Plaintiff and the Jail's blanket strip-search policy illegal because there is a small chance that newly-arrested traffic violators conceal contraband, particularly when they are detained temporarily, until posting bond. However, jail officials can strip-search traffic violators if the officer has reasonable suspicion that the detainee is concealing contraband. The opinion did not contain information about damages. After July 1, 1980, an Iowa law took effect prohibiting strip searches of people arrested for simple misdemeanors unless officers have probable cause that the person is concealing contraband. Hunt v. Polk Cnty., Iowa, 551 F.Supp.339 (S.D. Iowa 1982).

Docket Number: 80-382-C

Summary Authors

Shira Gordon (3/12/2012)

People


Judge(s)

Stuart, William Corwin (Iowa)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bennett, Mark W. (Iowa)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Johnston, Dan L. (Iowa)

Judge(s)

Stuart, William Corwin (Iowa)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bennett, Mark W. (Iowa)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Johnston, Dan L. (Iowa)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

4:80-00382

Opinion

551 F.Supp. 339

Nov. 12, 1982

Nov. 12, 1982

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 11, 2022, 3:12 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Iowa

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Strip Search Cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: Sept. 15, 1980

Closing Date: Nov. 12, 1982

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

An Iowa resident, who, on the date of March 18th, 1980, was brought to jail on a misdemeanor and who was then strip searched before entering a holding cell and who contends that the strip search policy violated his fourth amendment rights.

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Polk County, Iowa, State

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:

Unknown

Source of Relief:

Unknown

Issues

General:

Strip search policy

Affected Gender:

Male

Type of Facility:

Government-run