Illegal Strip Searches

Las Cruces, NM: (Sep-26-07) A federal lawsuit was brought against Doña Ana County alleging that illegal strip searches were being performed at the Doña Ana County Detention Center. The lawsuit, which was filed in 2006, alleged that the county engaged in a policy of strip searching most inmates who are booked into the jail, though higher courts have ruled that such searches are allowed only when there is individual and reasonable suspicion that someone might be attempting to smuggle contraband or weapons into the jail. It also claimed that the strip searches violated inmates' Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, their Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, and their 14th Amendment right to due process. Among the affected plaintiffs, six were arrested for drunken driving and a seventh was booked into the jail for failure to pay traffic fines.

In a settlement reached, Doña Ana County has agreed to pay $5 million to settle the federal lawsuit. Both sides have agreed that the claim be certified as a class action lawsuit, which would make hundreds of people booked into the jail between March 7, 2003 and March 7, 2006 potentially eligible for estimated payments ranging from $1,200 to $2,400. The seven original plaintiffs, Jesus Lira, Ben Garcia, Graciela Martinez, Stephen Culler, Cynthia Archer, Frederick Garcia and Douglas Beidler will each receive $25,000. The six attorneys representing the plaintiffs will share in a $1.6 million payoff as part of the settlement. The settlement was filed in US District Court in Las Cruces and still needs approval from a judge, but the filing states that both sides favor the terms. The county did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement but did modify the detention center's strip search policy last year after the lawsuit was filed. [LAS CRUCES SUN NEWS: STRIP SEARCH SETTLEMENT]

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Reader Comments

Posted by

I was arrested for larceny in sept of 2019 inwas stripped of my clothing asked to bend over squat and to cough and on wed the 23 of 2020 of april i was arrested for failure to pay fines and for assault and i was once again stripped asked to bend over hold my bottom apart with my hands and cough i was also stripped once again and thrown into a medical cell completely naked while male officers were present i was help like that in that cell for more than 12 hrs with only a small padded green blanket which only covered the top area of my body which left my other body parts exposed to several inmates and other female and male officers as well the cell that i was put in medical was the cell that was locted right at the entrance of the main door which inmates walk thru and the cell was glass door which everyone could see that i was completely naked with only a small padded green blanket which resembled a bullet proof vest with velco which i had used to cover my bottom area while i slept which exposed my breast while i slept repeated male officers where asking me that if i needed my vitals done i had several male officers open the door to the cell just to ask whete where my jumpsuit was and they laughed about it i dont know what to do about this i felt sick to my stomach i cried my self to sleep i tried to report this but was told that nobody would believe me

Posted by

I was strip searched on April 6, 2019 when i was arrested for not fully stopping at a stop sign and 2 other traffic violations. How can i see if I am eligible for a civil suit?

Posted by

How do I see if I'm eligible for this lawsuit?

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