Civil Case Law - Tenth Circuit
Hayes v. Marriott, 70 F.3d 1144 (10th Cir. 1995): A male inmate brought suit against prison officials claiming Fourth Amendment violations of his right to privacy. The male inmate was subjected to a body cavity search in front of a female officer and other non-essential personnel, including secretaries and case managers. The search was also videotaped. The court noted that while the “Fourth Amendment does not require complete exclusion of members of opposite sex from areas in which inmate searches are conducted,” inmates are afforded a limited privacy right. As the prison officials did not put forth an adequate explanation of why the female personnel were allowed to watch the search, the court denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
Sandstrom v. Hoffer , 2011 WL 4553067 (D. Kan., Sept. 29, 2011): A male inmate claimed that he was required to shower in the presence of female officers. The court dismissed his Eighth Amendment claim, finding that female staff were placed in the unit due to a staffing shortage.
Graham v. Van Dycke , 564 F. Supp. 2d 1305 (D. Kan. 2008): Male officers stripped a female inmate and put her in a suicide gown. The court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, finding that an emergency situation existed. There were many inmates “in crises” that day, five officers had called in sick for their shifts, two were on leave, and one was in training. The court found it would have been impractical or impossible to have a female officer handle the plaintiff.
Barton v. Corrs. Corp. of America , 2005 WL 5329514 (N.D. Okla., Sept. 1, 2005): Male and female inmates brought class-action suit challenging the constitutionality of the facility’s cross-gender search policy. The court held that the plaintiffs had not established common questions of law and fact, and dismissed the suit. The court found the policy requiring “reasonable suspicion” for cross-genders searches would only be common the plaintiffs who were searched under the same circumstances.
Jones v. Harrison , 864 F. Supp. 166 (D. Kan. 1994): A male inmate was strip searched in the presence of a female officer. The court found that the search did not violate inmate's right to privacy. The strip search was conducted as part of emergency intervention to prevent a suspected disturbance, as prison authority had heard the inmate was an instigator of the disturbance.