2010 Tennessee Code
Title 40 - Criminal Procedure
Chapter 7 - Arrest
Part 1 - General Provisions
40-7-121 - Body cavity searches Warrant requirement Waiver Liability.
40-7-121. Body cavity searches Warrant requirement Waiver Liability.
(a) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires, body cavity search means an inspection, probing or examination of the inside of a person's anus, vagina or genitals for the purpose of determining whether the person is concealing evidence of a criminal offense, a weapon, a controlled substance or other contraband.
(b) No person shall be subjected to a body cavity search by a law enforcement officer or by another person acting under the direction, supervision or authority of a law enforcement officer unless the search is conducted pursuant to a search warrant issued in accordance with Rule 41 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure.
(c) The issue of whether a person subjected to a body cavity search consented to the search is irrelevant and shall not be considered in determining whether the search was a valid one under the provisions of this section, unless the consent is in writing on a preprinted form and contains the following language:
Waiver of Warrant Requirement and Consent to Search Body Cavities
I knowingly and voluntarily consent to have my body cavities searched immediately by law enforcement personnel in the manner provided by the laws of Tennessee. By signing this consent form, I knowingly and voluntarily waive my right to require that a warrant be obtained from an appropriate judge or magistrate before my body cavities are searched.
I understand that a body cavity search may involve both visual and physical probing into my genitals and anus.
I understand that I would not be prejudiced or penalized by declining to give my consent to be searched in this manner.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed as amending or altering the relevant statutory and common law with regard to strip searches that do not meet the definition of a body cavity search.
(e) The provisions of this section shall not apply to a body cavity search conducted pursuant to a written jail or prison security procedures policy if the policy requires such a search at the time it was conducted.
(f) A law enforcement officer who conducts or causes to be conducted a body cavity search in violation of this section, and the governmental entity employing that officer, shall be subject to a civil cause of action as now provided by law.
(g) Body cavity searches conducted pursuant to this section must be performed by a licensed physician or a licensed nurse.
(h) No physician, registered nurse, or licensed practical nurse, acting at the written request of a law enforcement officer with a search warrant, written waiver or consent to perform a body cavity search, shall incur any civil or criminal liability as a result of the search or examination, except for any damages or criminal liability that may result from the negligence, gross negligence, willful misconduct or unlawful conduct of the person conducting the examination or search. Neither the hospital nor other employer of health care professionals, acting at the written request of a law enforcement officer with a search warrant, written waiver or consent to perform a body cavity search, shall incur any civil or criminal liability, except for negligence, gross negligence, willful misconduct or unlawful conduct, as a result of the act of examination or search.
[Acts 1993, ch. 490, § 1; 2002, ch. 569, § 1.]
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