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Jacobson v. McCormick

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 14, 2014

Jonathan Jacobson, Plaintiff - Appellant,
v.
James McCormick; Polyxene Voltaire, Defendants - Appellees

Submitted March 13, 2014.

Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - Minneapolis.

For Jonathan Jacobson, Plaintiff - Appellant: Duane Allan Kennedy I, Duane Allan Kennedy I, Rochester, MN.

For James McCormick, Polyxene Voltaire, Defendants - Appellees: Gregory James Griffiths, Dunlap & Seeger, Rochester, MN.

Before COLLOTON, SHEPHERD, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 915

COLLOTON, Circuit Judge.

This case requires us to consider what was clearly established law in September 2009 concerning searches of arrestees at a county detention center. The plaintiff-appellant in this case, Jonathan Jacobson, was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. He admitted to the arresting officer that he recently had " smoked a bowl" of marijuana. After he was transported to a county detention center, two officers conducted a visual inspection body-cavity search of Jacobson before he entered the facility's booking area.

Jacobson was booked for the drunk driving charge and released. He later sued the two officers involved in the search pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the officers violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment. The district court[1] concluded that the search did not violate the Fourth Amendment and granted summary judgment for the officers. Jacobson appeals, and we affirm because the officers are entitled to qualified immunity.

I.

On September 12, 2009, Olmsted County Deputy Sheriff James McCormick arrested Jacobson for driving while impaired at around 3:00 a.m. in Stewartsville, Minnesota. McCormick could smell alcohol on Jacobson's breath, and Jacobson admitted that he recently " smoked a bowl" of marijuana. McCormick conducted a patdown search of Jacobson, but found no weapons or other contraband. McCormick then handcuffed Jacobson and placed him in the back of a squad car. McCormick searched Jacobson's vehicle, but found no drugs.

McCormick transported Jacobson to the Olmsted County Adult Detention Center for booking. Deputy Polyxene Voltaire met them in the detention center's garage. McCormick informed Voltaire that Jacobson had admitted to smoking marijuana before the traffic stop.

McCormick removed Jacobson from the squad car. McCormick searched the back seat of the car, but found no weapons or other contraband. Voltaire then searched Jacobson while he was clothed and found no contraband.

McCormick and Voltaire placed Jacobson in a private cell and performed a visual inspection body-cavity search of Jacobson. The practice is also described in the record as a " strip search," and is ...


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