SCOTUS Case: Florence V. Board

Constitutional Question: The case of Florence V. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the Country of Burlington was followed with a question from the Supreme Court, the question is “Does the Constitution permit the government to strip search every person admitted to a jail, even if there is no reasonable basis to suspect that the person has hidden weapons or contraband?” In another word, does the Constitution have permission to violate the fourth amendment to follow security order and to investigate minor Crimes.


Facts of the Case: A citizen named Albert Florence from the state of New Jersey was arrested on a bench warrant from Essex County. Florence was charged from the arrested for non-indictable offense and not capable to pay a fine. However, Florence argued for his rights and protested the validity of the warrant due to the fact that he had paid the fine. However, after his arrested and detention, the charge was, in fact already been dismissed.

During the arrest, Florence was stripped and search as subjected to a visual body cavity search during his arrival at the Burlington County Jail. From the time of his arrest he was being consume to visual body cavity search and after six days upon his transfer from Burlington County to Essex Country Correctional Facility. But soon after, the charge against him was dismissed and Florence was released.

However, Florence decided to bring a civil rights lawsuit to the United State District Court and to the District of New Jersey for claiming the right to his privacy and the rights of all persons in the class of alleged minor offenders of consuming in the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  Also the Constitution were violated the Fourth Amendment by strip and search a visual body cavity searches for a minor arrest. This District Court agreed to Florence request and his claim to the charge.

Summary of the Arguments before the SCOTUS: The Court pointed out the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1979, which stated “Inmates do not have the right of privacy in prison that is guaranteed to ordinary citizens.” This is to protect the process from unreasonable violations to any citizen’s privacy. The Court decided to applied one of the cased called “Bell v. Wolfish,” which were also involved visual body cavity searches for being arrestees including charged with a minor offense and was striped and search.

The Court decided to apply the rule of the Third Circuit panel that was persuaded by the recent Eleventh and Ninth Circuit that ruled balancing the jails’ security concerns. These circuits are –

(1) The detection of smuggling weapons, contraband and drugs into the facility.

 (2) The identification of gang members by observation of their tattoos.

(3) The prevention of disease, particularly MRSA, against the privacy interest of the arrestees, a blanket policy of strip searching and subjecting all arrestees to visual body cavity searches, irrespective of any particularized suspicion, does not contravene the Fourth Amendment. 


Prediction: Since the Supreme court had involved in a similar case and was pass with the Bell v. Wolfish, this case probably will be done with more of a complex explanation by the judges and the court. However, since this case is being reenact, Florence V. Board will not be abandon by lawyers because the Fourth Amendment was violated for Florence, which also was prohibited in the Three Circuits.