Monday, November 3, 2008

Bend Over, It's the Law

Courtroom security can be a bitch.
Just ask Dianna Johnson, who complained that all female prisoners appearing in Superior Court in D.C. were subjected to strip, visual body cavity and/or squat searches. Johnson and other arrested women noted in a lawsuit that men weren't subjected to the same humiliating round of searches, unless authorities had some reasonable and particularly suspicion to act upon.
"A female Marshal directs the arrestee to pull up her skirt or lower her pants and to pull down any undergarments," Johnson's original complaint explained. "A female Marshal then makes the arrestee squat and turn around and display their buttocks and their genitals to the female front of all the female arrestees already in the cell block."
This is actually an excruciatingly long-running case, coming upon the sixth anniversary of its filing back in December 2002. Unfortunately for Johnson, the U.S. Marshal overseeing security in the DC Superior Court is a federal employee. U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer on Friday i this opinion, consequently dropped the District of Columbia as a defendant in Johnson's lawsuit.
"Because the District of Columbia has no authority to control the Superior Court Marshal and no choice but to turn over arrestees to him, the District of Columbiacannot be held liable for his allegedly unconstitutional acts."

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