T. S. v. Doe, No. 12-5724 (6th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Responding to a report of underage drinking in a home, officers found a group celebrating eighth grade graduation. Police asked the teens to step outside individually for breathalyzer testing. Seven tested positive for alcohol. Police arrested them and notified their parents. In the morning, a juvenile worker arrived at the police station, and, after speaking with a judge, indicated that the children were to be detained for a court appearance the next day. At the regional juvenile detention center, the minors underwent routine fingerprinting, mug shots, and metal-detection screening. During a hygiene inspection and health screening, they were required to disrobe completely for visual inspection to detect “injuries, physical abnormalities, scars and body markings, ectoparasites, and general physical condition.” A same-sex youth worker observed the juveniles for several minutes from a distance of one to two feet, recording findings for review by an R.N. The minors were required to shower with delousing shampoo. They were released the following day. The charges were dropped. In a suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, the district court granted partial summary judgment in favor of the juveniles, based on a “clearly established right for both adults and juveniles to be free from strip searches absent individualized suspicion” that negated a qualified immunity defense. The Sixth Circuit reversed, stating that no clearly established principle of constitutional law forbids a juvenile detention center from implementing a generally applicable, suspicionless strip-search policy upon intake into the facility.