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Washoe County, NV

Las Vegas, NV: (Jul-27-07) Four women and two men filed a civil lawsuit against Washoe County, alleging that the strip search policy followed by the Washoe County sheriff's department was unconstitutional and violated the Fourth Amendment. The lawsuit claimed that one of the plaintiffs, an American Indian woman, was strip searched twice and forced to take a shower under observation after being falsely arrested by tribal police. She was jailed for three days. A 65-year-old grandmother was strip searched after being arrested and later released without being jailed. Former Sheriff Dennis Balaam started the searches in May 2003 after a jail supervisor attended a national criminal justice seminar in which the policy was pushed.

In a settlement reached, County commissioners agreed to pay a $182,000 settlement, after US Magistrate Robert McQuaid ruled against the county in a lawsuit filed by the six. The magistrate stated that Balaam's policy requiring strip searches of everyone who surrendered on outstanding warrants violated the Fourth Amendment. [LAS VEGAS SUN: STRIP SEARCHES]

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Published on Jul-30-07


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