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The Right To Privacy Essay

1170 words - 5 pages

The Right to Privacy by Ellen Alderman and Caroline Kennedy examines different privacy cases throughout history that has set precedents in today’s courts. The first section focuses on ‘Privacy v. Law Enforcement’ and examines three different cases dealing with three different aspects of privacy when it comes to law enforcement. Strip search, drug interdiction, and school search are the three types cases that Alderman and Kennedy decide to shed light on. Each have their own importance and each are dealing with completely different situations.
The first case that they look at is Joan W. v City of Chicago, which took place in 1978. The situation occurred when thirty-two year old Joan W. was pulled over for driving the wrong way on a two-way street that was turned one-way on that day. Expecting to receive only a ticket, Joan was asked to follow the police officer to the station where she was then told that she would be sent to a women’s lock-up prison across town. When she entered the cell, she was asked to take her clothes off and was threated to be “in big trouble” if she did not. Coming from a, what she calls, “Victorian” family, she did not feel comfortable taking her clothes off. She mentioned that she is a doctor and did not even make her patients to this, the matrons laughed at that notion. They pressured her to take her clothes off and ordered her to do embarrassing things while she was naked.
This was not a new problem in Chicago as there were many incidents of inappropriate strip searches. The Fourth Amendment is supposed to prevent unreasonable searches and seizures, but over the course of history, the Supreme Court has given law enforcement more leeway in obtaining a warrant or being able to search particular situations without one. The Supreme Court has also given the right for officers to strip search those arrested because the arrested could try to escape or harm the officer with something hidden, although all searches without warrant must be ‘reasonable’. The federal district court ruled what was happening to the women in Chicago jails unconstitutional. This was the ruling mainly because the court decided that the women were being held for misdemeanor and paid minimal bail and should not have been severely stripped search in the conditions that they were in. Despite appealing to other courts, Chicago lost and Joan W. won. The victims received compensation for their troubles and Joan W. was overjoyed and was pleased with the verdict.
People of New York v. Hollman is the next case and it deals with drug interdiction cases. Hollman and another man, Saunders, were asked by undercover transit police officer, in New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal, if they could search their bags. The men said that they had no bags and the officer searched an orange bag that was scene with them previously. Inside the bag the officer found crack cocaine. The men rejected that the bag was theirs, therefore they did not give consent to search it, and...

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