To all of my readers out there – hope and pray that this doesn’t ever happen to you.
Imagine that you are on a public sidewalk, when the police decide that you look suspicious, and decide to conduct a strip search of you – in public. Suddenly, you find yourself lying face down on the sidewalk, with your hands handcuffed behind your back and your buttocks exposed to the world. Illegal drugs are found on your person.
This is exactly what happened to a defendant accused of Massachusetts drug crimes. However, the Massachusetts Supeme Judicial Court upheld a Superior Court judge’s decision to suppress drugs found during a strip search on a public sidewalk. In other words, those drugs cannot be used as evidence against the defendant accused of Massachusetts drug possession, because of the inappropriate location of the search and the manner in which the search was performed.
This strip search was found to be an intrusion of the defendant’s constitutionally protected privacy interests, and legally impermissable under the Federal and State Constitutions.
As a Norfolk County drug crimes lawyer, I applaud this decision. Even if police had probable cause to believe that a person has indeed commited or is committing a crime, that does not mean that person should be forced to give up his or her constitutional rights and be humiliated in public. And if a suspect is going to be strip searched, this should take place in a police station — not in public.